We know the folks at MIT are the cutting edge scientists of tomorrow right? We’re always impressed by the stuff coming out of their labs. Well, almost always. This rethinking of pop-up books does not let us down. We’ve seen some pretty complicated pop-up books. Some that made us really wonder how they pulled it off. But all of those were simply paper and card stock. At MIT, they’re wondering how we can improve the interactive experience now that the electronic components are so cheap and easily available. Even if you don’t have kids, or have no interest in pop-up books, consider this some inspiration for things like packaging and art. This looks fantastic and we know we would enjoy it. Then again, a few flashing LEDs always pique our interest.
If you want books, but don’t want to pay for them, there is a better way than walking into your local book store and pocketing them. Try grabbing them online, from Google!
Everyone must be aware of the Google Books Library project by now. If you’re not, it’s basically a way for Google to ensure all of the world’s book content is accessible and searchable. Through the Book Project, Google works with libraries to scan and archive their older and out of print materials. Up until recently, viewers of books in the Google Library Project web space were limited to viewing books within the browser. Not any more. Google Book Downloader is a utility that rips books from Google and saves them as PDFs so you can view them with any device or desktop that can view this file format. Using Microsoft’s .NET framework, the Google Book Downloader application allows users to enter a book’s ISBN number or Google link to pull up the desired book and begin a download, fishing off with exporting the file to a PDF. Full setup instructions and download are available on Codeplex.
The people at iFixit have shown that they’re still on top of their game by tearing down the new Kindle 2 eBook reader. The main processor is a 532MHz ARM-11 from Freescale. Interestly, there isn’t any significant circuitry behind the large keyboard; it seems its existence is just to hide the battery.
Related: previous teardowns on Hack a Day
The latest generation of Arduino hardware has been released. The Arduino Duemilanove (2009 in Italian) has the same form factor as previous generations. The specs are essentially identical to the Diecimila, but there have been a few changes to the hardware. The power source is no longer chosen using a jumper. A MOSFET and dual OPAMP have been added to the board to automatically selected between USB power and the external plug. Automatic hardware resets are optional now. Next to the USB port are two solder pads labeled RESET-EN. Cut the trace between them to kill the reset. If you ever want it back, just bridge the pads. The hardware was updated to correspond with the release of Arduino cofounder [Massimo Banzi]’s new book.
Crafting isn’t really our thing, but just last week we were planning on doing this project. Thanks to the how-to singularity: the longer we wait, the more likely someone else will do our dirty work. The instructions are this:
- Cut a hole in a book.
- Stick your phone in that book.
- Let her open the book.
Wired’s write up has about 600 more words if you need clarification. The ebook on the screen is Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, so expect to see this on BoingBoing… and again when it’s fan translated into Polish. [bre] made a similar hidden compartment book last Fall for Make’s PDFcast.
In all seriousness, we do enjoy the idea of carrying an innocuous little book around that could be doing some covert WiFi scanning, acting as a mobile accesspoint, or live streaming our location to friends. Unfortunately, since it’s an iPhone, most of this isn’t possible yet; you can’t even voice dial from your headset, while leaving the notebook in your pocket. This case also blurs what is considered rude. Most people would be annoyed if you started txting mid conversation, but people taking notes in Moleskines don’t get the same treatment.
Like many of you, growing up Neuromancer played a pivotal role in how we thought about the future and where “cyberspace” was going. Things have turned out very different. Although the underlying mass of data and consciousness is still there, it’s not the fully immersed 3D world some are still clinging to. [William Gibson], author of the seminal novel, has recognized this and readers will find his recent works like Spook Country, are set very firmly in the now, with technology like location sensitive augmented reality. io9 sat down with him during a San Francisco visit to talk about his fondness for Vancouver, the inability of authorities to maintain secrets, if his novels are really dystopian, and whether moving to Canada counts as draft dodging if you never get drafted.