MIT Rethinking Popup Books


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.

[via Gizmodo]

32 thoughts on “MIT Rethinking Popup Books

  1. “How come MIT does so much crazy research? Where do they get the funding for this useless stuff?”

    Amen. Though I’m fairly sure they have sufficient income from other research to pool it and do blue-skies fun stuff.

  2. I am very fond of absolutely any project I came to know which Leah Buechley has been involved in for the last years.
    Do You remember the led clothing, the LilyPad applications, the wind board …? Her way of integrating advanced technical elements with so called low tech and techniques which are often atributed “feminine” touch me under both aesthetic and social aspects.

  3. I’m thinking that this “technology” will likely end up in Hallmark cards. Now you can have cheezy visuals to go with the distorted audio coming out of the piezo disk buried in the cardboard.

  4. @pookey : We’ve already got “cheesy visual” technology in Hallmark cards. I’ve gotten more than a few with blinky lights and such, even several years ago.

    @Tim : This is probably a self-funded student project, or a class assignment where the students were asked to use certain materials. I doubt very much someone financed this project specifically, and this was probably done for a reasonably low cost.

    @ The OP : The single thing that I spotted in this video which was even close to unique was the Venus Flytrap at the end. The rest seem like an the project of an overpriced artist who stole the idea from highschoolers, and a lot of this stuff has already BEEN in pop-up books, advertisements, and greeting cards.

  5. What I spotted is that she starts out with only the nails on her right hand polished, then neither hand, and later both.

    The concept is very slightly amusing, the artwork is terrible, and the electronics… what electronics? You mean a battery, a few resistors, and a couple of LEDs? Just maybe there is an comparator or oscillator circuit somewhere in there. This has very little to do with technology.

  6. The interesting part is removing the control electronics from the substrate itself (and lowering the possibility of damage from crushing/bending), and using PCB shape to key the correct board to the correct pad locations.

  7. I never understand the comments on this blog. Is everyone who reads HaD a genius semiconductor engineer for a chip manufacturer? Some of you act like this blog is an IEEE journal. Hint: it’s not. They’re allowed to post interesting things along with complex things. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.

  8. @Mr Dan – snap! me too…
    @Brett – oh how I lol’ed…I came to the conclusion that it is a sport amongst some of the readers to see how witty they can be with their critiques for the projects posted.

    I for one loved the fly trap, that was a fine example of using simple components in an effective way – less is more.

  9. to be a MIT student seems to be boring…

    as shown in the video, she had time to colour hair nails ;)

    But serious what is that… some blinking lights in a child toy… hmmm guess every Chinese mass production designer will come up with something like that.

    Consider this people get paid full time for doing thinks like that ?! What a waste of resources…

  10. o.k after rethinking…

    my last comments might be some harsh…
    if this was a student project and if this was performed from a design student without deep background of electronic… I apologize

    I just get tired of the fact that people always think … a MIT… great… this might be a nice student project but I saw many similar projects from other universities which easily can compete with this … somehow they never get the kind of publicity…

    I guess what MIT is really good in is self-performing… creating videos… publish on blogs and web…

    that’s something other can learn from

  11. Perhaps this MIT alum can provide a little background:

    This kinda stuff and other projects like it are typically funded out of the MIT Media Lab where they do off the wall projects like these. Usually they involve people interacting with technology and can have an artsy spin to them. While they have produced some neat stuff, the place does have a reputation on campus of being a bit of a playground.

    I assure you there is still plenty of traditional science and engineering research going on at the numerous other labs on campus.

  12. @Brett “Some of you act like this blog is an IEEE journal. Hint: it’s not.”

    The problem this site was pretty much ‘IEEE journal’ for a long time, it had was very useful website having rare information very helpful serious information. But during couple last year it turn first to atrsy fartsy, then to ‘instructables’ like and during the last half year especially thanks to Mike it turn in to ‘craft’ and ‘tech review’ site. And it not OK with old folks who was here for long time
    who know real valuable of Hack a Day. There is countless ‘instructables’ & craft & tech news websites. But websites like old hack a day can be counted on fingers of one hand
    Maybe comment harsh but we try to fight for unique website so it continue to be unique, probably it too late but hope dies last

  13. Nicely done, but it’s pretty much been done before. I saw something almost like this that had no micro-controller, just passive contacts, sliders etc. Much cheaper – similar effect.

    Note however; if I was lucky enough to be at MIT, I would feel obliged to use that valuable time for something much more beneficial to Society. Not blinky LED pop-up books. Shame on this student’s adviser for not suggesting the same.

  14. So what most of you are saying is that if it has been done before, it should never be done or showcased again, even in a better format? I guess car manufacturers should stop improving on their products every year by your asinine logic.

    Improvements to products are based on research and development. Just because this has been done in Hallmark cards and other low-quality implementations doesn’t mean that all inquiries should be stopped. How else do you get things like the next iPhone, or xBox or some of the other purely consumer based products?

    This is a great way to improve on an existing technology, no matter what closed-minded people think.

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