Tag Archives: Bare Conductive

Rewind: 27 STEM kits from 2015


These STEM toys from 2015 are helping to inspire the next generation of Makers.


STEM education has been a growing venture in schools across the country, with even the President himself making it a priority to encourage students as young as grade-school to pursue the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. After all, these fields are changing the world rapidly within the areas of innovation, economic growth and employment. But let’s face it; these subjects don’t come easy to everyone, so how do we instill STEM in kids?

With this in mind, many startups have sought out new and exciting ways to entice the younger generation to explore their creativity and develop an interest in hands-on learning. Testament to that, here are several products from 2015 looking to inspire the next generation of Makers.

littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets

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The Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is the ultimate invention toolbox, complete with motors, wheels, lights , switches, servos, buzzers and even the tools to build a remote control.

Jewelbots

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Jewelbots are programmable friendship bracelets that teach girls the basics of coding.

Thimble

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Thimble is a monthly subscription service that delivers fun electronic projects with guided tutorials and a helpful community.

Touch Board Starter Kit

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Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Starter Kit contains everything you need to transform surfaces, objects or spaces into sensors.

Makey Makey GO

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Small enough to fit on your keychain, backpack or bracelet, Makey Makey GO turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the Internet. Say hello to the world’s first invention kit.

RePhone

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RePhone from Seeed Studio allows Makers to create a phone themselves in minutes and hack a new way to communicate with things.

mBot

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mBot is an all-in-one, Arduino-compatible robot that supports wireless communication and employs Scratch 2.0-like coding.

Ringo

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Ringo is a miniature digital pet robot equipped with an accelerometer, a gyrosocope, six RGB LEDs, as well as sound and communication sensors.

Wink

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Wink is an Arduino-driven robot designed to help transition students from graphical programming to more powerful written code languages. It’s also the sibling of the aforementioned Ringo.

Kano

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Kano is a computer and coding kit for all ages that’s as simple as LEGO, powered by Raspberry Pi.

Primo Cubetto

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Primo Cubetto is a smart wooden robot designed to teach kids the basics of coding away from the screen.

Petduino

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Petduino puts a DIY twist on the old-school Tamagotchi.

STEMI

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STEMI is a hexapod that can be built right at home and controlled via smartphone.

mCookie

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mCookies are quarter-sized, stackable modules from Microduino that enable young Makers to bring their LEGO projects to life.

Modulo

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Modulo is a set of tiny modular circuit boards that takes the hassle out of electronics.

The Crafty Robot

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The Crafty Robot is a paper toy unlike any other — plug it into a USB port for 30 seconds, unplug it and you’ve got a moving robot.

Kamigami

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Kamigami is an origami-style robot you can construct and program by yourself. Each one can be configured with a unique set of behaviors and characteristics through a drag-and-drop interface.

Phiro

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Phiro is a LEGO-compatible robotics toy that children can play with, code and innovate in various ways.

Quirkbot

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With Quirkbot, young Makers can devise and configure quirky robots (hence its name), blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws.

Cannybots

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Cannybots are LEGO-compatible, smart toy cars that introduce kids to the worlds of robotics, programming and 3D printing.

3DRacers

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3DRacers is a Mario Kart-like indoor racing game that lets anyone design and 3D print their own car.

Volta Flyer

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Volta Flyer is the world’s first DIY airplane kit that is solely powered by the sun.

Roby

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Roby is a 3D-printed robotic machine that not only drives on four wheels, but can walk on two. If it falls, it can even pick itself up again with its pair of arms.

O Watch

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O Watch is a DIY smartwatch for a kid, by a kid.

LocoRobo

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LocoRobo is a cute, inexpensive robot capable of being wirelessly programmed.

KamiBot

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KamiBot is a programmable, smartphone-controlled paper robot.

Pixel Pals

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Pixel Pals are easy-to-build, fun educational kits that grow from a project to a friend you can program.

Fiat Lux

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Fiat Lux is an Arduino-compatible kit specifically designed for unique wearable projects.

AZIBOt

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AZIBOt is an open source, 3D-printed robot kit for STEM education in Africa.

Are conductive temporary tattoos the future of wearables?


Time to get skintimate with Tech Tats.


Although there’s already an abundance of activity monitoring wearables on the market today, mobile development studio Chaotic Moon is exploring a new frontier in the industry. The Austin-based firm has decided to go beyond just a fitness tracker with a collection of biosensors that affix to your skin like a temporary tattoo.

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In one of its uses cases, the aptly named Tech Tats consist of an ATiny85 that stores and receives body data from sensors via Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint. This combination of basic components and conductive ink come together to create a circuit that essentially turns you in a cyborg. There’s even some room for an ambient light sensor that illuminates LEDs whenever it’s dark. And unlike most wellness devices, the temporary tattoo can be worn in other places than merely the wrist — all while remaining unnoticeable. 

Tech Tats boast various applications, with health and mobile payments being two of them. For one, the biosensors can be stuck on the skin once a year instead of having to go for an annual physical, and will keep tabs on all of your vitals that the doctor would normally check for. The information can then be sent to the doctor, who will notify you only if there is an issue. This can also come in handy following surgery to better keep tabs on a patient’s progress.

According to Chaotic Moon, the temporary tattoo can read body temperature as well as sense if someone is stressed based on sweat, heart rate and hydration levels. Throw on a BLE module and data can be wirelessly transferred to an accompanying smartphone app, or uploaded through location-based low-frequency mesh networks.

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Not only the medical field, but Tech Tats can find a home in banking industry, too. Instead of carrying a wallet around with all of your most personal information in your back pocket, these conductive patches can be employed to authorize payments in similar fashion to Apple Pay.

Aside from that, Chaotic Moon’s bio-wearable can even play a role in the military setting by detecting poisons in the air, pathogens in a soldier’s body or identifying when they’re injured or stressed.

Could temporary tattoos be the future of wearable technology? Time will only tell. But until then, you can watch Chaotic Moon explain their innovation in the video below!

 

Creating screen printed, flexible MIDI controllers with Bare Conductive


EJtech has developed an experimental textile that could serve as an interface for sonic interactions.


Esteban de la Torre and Judit Kárpáti, who together make up Budapest art and tech lab EJtech, have made a name for themselves in exploring the intersection between sound and textiles. You may recall one of their earlier works, Chromosonic, a chameleon-like material that could sense its surroundings and change color based on temperature and sound. Now, they resurfaced with their latest concept for an experimental textile that could serve as an interface for sonic interactions.

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As its name would suggest, Liquid MIDI is essentially a flexible MIDI controller screen printed onto a piece fabric. The controller is comprised of Bare Conductive Electric Paint on the material, which is connected via alligator clips to an Arduino Mega ADK (ATmega2560) that communicates with Max MSP and Ableton Live software. Though, the Arduino could easily be swapped out for a Touch Board (ATmega32U4).

The result is a textile that plays MIDI notes whenever touched. This, of course, allows for a multi-sensory experience where the fabric itself  becomes part of the overall message.

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“Our main focus is researching human computer interaction. Plus a bit beyond this, we love investigating the idea of how, while vision distances and separates us from the world surrounding us, the rest of the senses unite us to it, and the repercussions of this integration is a more coherent perception of reality,” the duo tells Bare Conductive. “Man has not always been dominated by vision, but for this piece we had a strong graphical vision, and wanted to build a sort of post-internet object. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the digital is constantly gaining ground in the physical world.”

Interested? Check out EJtech’s project page here, or see it in action below!

Artist creates interactive paintings with Bare Conductive


This Denver-based innovator is bringing art to life with an audible, tactile and visual experience.


Step into any gallery and you can expect to find “Do Not Touch” signs plastered everywhere. What this means is that, in most cases, the piece of art stimulates only one of the five human senses. However, a Denver-based originator has set out to change that by providing viewers with an audible, tactile and visual experience as they glance at the imagery before them.

Thomas “Detour” Evans is not your typical artist, nor has ever aspired to be. In his recent collection dubbed Art and Decibels, the 30-year-old creator has devised a series of interactive, sensor-laden paintings that are specifically meant to be touched in designated spots. By doing so, the image is magically brought to life through sound.

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“This collection features the evolution of how I perceive art in the 21th century. With music as the foundation, It’s not enough for me to just use conventional methods; it’s empirical that I bring in other amazing artist of various forms to bring pieces alive,” Detour writes.

Upon first glance, Detour’s pieces appear to be meticulously crafted portraits of popular hip-hop stars, ranging from Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac to Nas and Kendrick Lamar. However, beneath the canvas of each image lies a unique combination of electronics and conductive ink. The artist has employed Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint along with a few Touch Boards (ATmega32U4) to enable each still-life to seamlessly double as an actual MIDI controller.

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This gives audience members a dynamic way to interact with the painting and truly connect with the subject matter laid out on the canvas. Unlike countless other forms of wall-mounted art, Detour explains that viewers are now able to become fully immersed, both mentally and physically.

In order to bring this next-gen creations to life, Detour team up with several his close friends and veteran musicians to ensure the proper design of every painting so that they could play music and be manipulated like an instrument. This concept is something Detour has been brainstorming for years.

“In 2009 I became infatuated with figuring out how to connect the viewer with the subject on the canvas… I mulled over the idea of deconstructing and reconstructing a MIDI controller and installing it. Unfortunately the technology and the canvas didn’t mesh well. It wasn’t until I stumbled across the Bare Conductive Kickstarter that I saw some of the potential with the Touch Board. When I got the package and took the Electric Paint and Touch Board to one of my DJ/producer friends, it became the start of a long process to create these interactive paintings,” the artist revealed in his latest interview with Bare Conductive.

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The creative process, which he has elaborated upon in a tutorial over on SparkFun, includes wiring the back of the canvas so that the sensors are emerging through the front in various locations. These sensors are connected to a computer and act as triggers in such a way that, when tapped, they emit a sound. Generally, every painting features around a dozen or touch points, each delivering a unique tune. Once the electronics are embedded, Detour paints his masterpiece just as he would any other portrait. Cognizant of where the sensors are located, he envisions how a particular piece needs to be manipulated — whether that’s using the outline of a milk crate as a matrix MIDI soundboard or lines on a t-shirt as a keyboard.

“I use the Touch Board in two different ways – one is the mode that is installed when it’s shipped. These pieces are usually combined with a bunch of other electronics that allows it to be a touch boom box painting with speakers,” Detour explains. “The other way is with the MIDI mode turned on and hooking it up to a computer. This way is the real ground breaker because it allows me to collaborate with friends and to have performance on each piece. It’s setup more like an instrument.”

Pretty sweet, right? Head over to Detour’s official page to learn more, as well as get started on creating a musical masterpiece of your own here.

Creating a capacitive iPad cover with Bare Conductive


INKO is part capacitive cover, part keyboard and a whole lot of awesome. 


If you’re the owner of an iPad and have long been searching for a cover that offered a bit more functionality, you’re in luck. Designed by Alexandre Echasseriau, INKO is both a capacitive cover and a keyboard. The device is comprised of conductive paint injected into a leather sleeve that is capable of transmitting a signal from the keyboard to the iPad via a mini Bluetooth antenna.

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Unveiled earlier this spring at the 2015 Saint Etienne Biennale, INKO combines fine leather craftsmanship along with Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint and Touch Board (ATmega32U4) to transform an ordinary protective shield into a working touchpad. The idea was first conceived as a way to incorporate a printed circuit board within the hide in order to establish an electrical connection that could relay a signal to its accompanying mobile device.

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Initially, tattoo artist Jéremy Lorenzato was tasked with injecting the Electric Paint into the thickness of the material. However, after determining that manually inking the hide was not suitable for the project, the process was eventually replaced by a system dubbed “Tatoué,” the brainchild of French design group Appropriate Audiences. (You may recall the team and their hacked machine from last year.) The Maker trio had modded a MakerBot Replicator to create an automated tattoo “printer” that could etch permanent artwork on human skin, and now leather as well.

Meanwhile, the actual shape of the cover/keyboard was formed in a matter of just one step by leather worker David Rosenblum by employing an embossing technique to achieve that “keystroke” feel.

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“I really wanted to explore the potential of Electric Paint. Tattooing the paint rather than screen printing or painting opened up an opportunity to create a sustainable and robust PCB circuit,” Echasseriau told Bare Conductive in a recent interview. “The luck was that after a little dilution, the paint could be perfectly tattooed and conducts very well.”

Intrigued? Head over to INKO’s official page here.

Bare Conductive introduces its Touch Board Starter Kit


Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Starter Kit hits the MoMA Design Store.


You may have noticed that our good friends at Bare Conductive were absent from their usual spot within the Atmel Maker Faire booth, and with good reason. That’s because they were busy in New York City for the launch of their brand-spanking new Touch Board Starter Kit at the MoMA Design Store.

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The all-in-one DIY box contains everything a Maker could possibly need to begin transforming things within their environment into touch sensors. The plug-and-play Starter Kit is comprised of an ATmega32U4 based Touch Board, some Electric Paint, other essential components like a microSD card, a USB cable and alligator clips, as well as a growing range of tutorials, visual guides and examples.

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What’s nice is that the MCU comes preprogrammed to trigger MP3 tracks, something that will be ideal for absolute beginners and young Makers as they explore one of three featured projects: interactive wall graphics, voice-activated objects and motion-detecting alarms.

Intrigued? Head over to Bare Conductive’s official page to get started.

12 projects that are redefining storytelling


In honor of World Book Day, here are some Maker innovations that are redefining storytelling…


They say stories can come to life, and well, these projects have taken that saying to an entirely new level.

This isn’t your typical coffee table book

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Jonathan Zufi’s coffee table book entitled “ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation is the ultimate must-have for any Apple aficionado. The hardcover recounts the past 30 years of Apple design, exploring some of the most visually appealing and significant products ever created by the Cupertino-based company. The commemorative piece features a special white clamshell case along with a custom PCB configured to pulse embedded LEDs — like that of a sleeping older generation Apple notebook when moved — controlled by an Atmel 8-bit AVR RISC-based MCU.

This magical device will add augmented reality to storybooks 

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The brainchild of Disney Research, HideOut explores how mobile projectors can enable new forms of interaction with digital content projected on everyday objects such as books, walls, game boards, tables, and many others. The smartphone-sized device enables seamless interaction between the digital and physical world using specially formulated infrared-absorbing markers – hidden from the human eye, but visible to a camera embedded in a compact mobile projection device. Digital imagery directly augments and responds to the physical objects it is projected on, such as an animated character interacting with printed graphics in a storybook.

This interactive piece of art tells a narrative

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Created by Fabio Lattanzi Antinori, Dataflags is a narrative series of artwork that explores the financial troubles of corporations as they head towards bankruptcy, while highlighting the pivotal role data plays in today’s society. The piece — which was originally displayed in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum back in September 2014 — was powered by Bare Conductive’s incredibly-popular Touch Board (ATmega32U4) and some Electric Paint. The printed sensors were concealed by a layer of black ink, and when touched, triggered a selection of financial trading data theatrically sung by an opera performer.

This book judges you with its cover

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Have you ever judged a book by its cover? Well, Amsterdam creative studio Moore is turning the tables on the old-school idiom by designing a sleeve equipped with an integrated camera and facial-recognition technology that scans the face of whoever comes near. The idea behind the aptly named Cover That Judges You was to build a book cover that is human and approachable-hi-tech. If someone conveys too much emotion – whether overexcitement or under-enthusiasm — the book will remain locked. However, if their expression is free of judgement, the system will send an audio-pulse to an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and the book will unlock itself. The built-in camera is positioned at the top of the book’s sleeve, above a screen that feeds back the image when it detects a face in close proximity. Artwork featuring abstract facial features is displayed on the cover so that the user can line up their eyes, nose and mouth in the optimum position. Once the correct alignment is obtained, the screen turns green and a signal is relayed to the Arduino that opens the metal lock.

This interactive book lets you feel characters’ emotions

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A team of MIT students unveiled a wearable book that uses networked sensors and actuators to create a sort of cyberpunk-like Neverending Story, blurring the line between the bodies of a reader and protagonist. The sensory fiction project — which built around James Tiptree’s “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” – was designed by Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope, Julie Legault and Sophia Brueckner in the context of MIT’s Science Fiction To Science Fabrication class. The “augmented book” portrays the scenery and sets the mood, while its companion vest enables the reader to experience the protagonist’s physiological emotions unlike ever before. The wearable — controlled by an [Atmel based] Arduino board — swells, contracts, vibrates, heats up or cools down as the pages of the book are turned. Aside from 150 programmable LEDs to create ambient light based on changing setting and mood, the book/wearable support a number of outputs, including sound, a personal heating device to change skin temperature, vibration to influence heart rate, and a compression system to convey tightness or loosening through pressurized airbags.

This storytelling tree reads with you

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In an effort to bring more interaction to story time, Northwood’s Childrens Museum in Wisconsin created a storytelling tree capable of reading along with you. The old computers inside the the museum display were retrofitted with a Touch Board (ATmega32U4) from Bare Conductive. In fact, this was a welcomed replacement as one staff member said that the computers “broke constantly and hogged power, keeping us from updating sounds files periodically throughout the year.”  Unlike its embedded predecessor, the MCU allowed sound files to be changed in an expedited manner, and was slim enough to nestle neatly into the trunk’s design. And what would a treehouse-like exhibit be without a makeshift walkie talkie comprised of cans strung together? Creatively, a set of headphones were also placed inside the can to make it exciting for participants to listen to the story.

This book blends the analog and digital worlds

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Makers Israel Diaz and Ingrid Ocana were on a mission to find new ways to bring children closer to the vast universe of reading. In doing so, the duo figured out a new way to enhance a traditional book with basic electronic components and some Arduino Uno (ATmega328) programming to interact with user intervention through simple built-in sensors, AC motors, LEDs and speakers.

This tale is told with the turn of a music box handle

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Night Sun is an interactive audiovisual installation which tells a story with the turn of a music box handle, powered by an ATmega32U4 MCU. In order to bring his idea to fruition, the Maker commissioned an Arduino Micro to control the exhibit. The Arduino was instructed to send a ‘play’ command to a computer when it sensed the touch of a passerby. Once the wired music box handle was turned, the window would light up. A pre-recorded sound would then send a signal to the computer and begin playing… and just like that, the story unfolds.

This pop-up book is made for the digital age 

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A Maker by the name of Antonella Nonnis recently devised a unique interactive electronic book powered by two ATmega168 based boards. The book, titled “Music, Math, Art and Science,” was inspired by the work of Munari, Montessori and Antonella’s very own mother. The book contains movable parts and uses the electrical capacitance of the human body to activate sounds and lights and other sensors like a button for the math page. Comprised of recycled materials, the book is powered by a pair of Arduino Diecimila, which control the paper pop-up piano and the other controls the arts and science page.

These soft puppets are recreating fables for kids and parents

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Footprints – which was prototyped using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) – can best be described as a network of interactive soft puppets that help create and share illustrated stories. Designed by Simone Capano, the project links various aspects of a child’s life, including school and family, by collecting and storing relevant data in the cloud. Footprints is typically initiated by a parent. Using a smartphone, the parent can record a little vocal story, add some images proposed by Footprints about the story that was just told, like the story’s characters or other objects related to it. Afterwards, the parent can send it all to the child’s puppet. The child can then listen to the story by placing the puppet on the tablet and playing with the images he or she has received to create a drawing about the story. Once the drawing is complete, Footprints send it back to the parent who then tracks the path of the stories shared with a child via the smartphone app.

This book really sets the scene

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Created by Bertrand Lanthiez, Hvísl is described as “an invitation to both a visual and audible journey.” Pre-recorded sounds from Icelandic atmospheres are emitted with the help of electronic sensors hidden in some pages connected to a MaKey MaKey board (ATmega32U4). These effects accompany the reading and the contemplation of pictures from the country’s landscape.

This bookmark makes sure you never miss a part

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Tired of having to reread pages in because you forgot which paragraph you left off on? Devised by 7Electrons, the aptly named eBookmark is envisioned to serve as a bridge between analog and digital worlds. The device — which is based on an 8-bit AVR MCU, various Adafruit components, 16 tiny LEDs and a resistive touch strip — allows the reader to save his or her place on the page, and with a switch, also select the left or right page. The top portion of the eBookmark extends for use with larger books.

This fiction machines lets you create your own narrative

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Who could forget those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books that became popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s? The series of children’s gamebooks where each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome. Similarly speaking, software developer Jerry Belich has created an interactive arcade machine that works on the same premise. The Choosatron is an interactive fiction machine that lets users select the story, while it prints out a transcript of the chosen story paths. In essence, the machine is a cardboard box with a small thermal printer, a coin acceptor, a keypad, an SD memory card and an Arduino-compatible board.