GBOLAHAN WILLIAMS is a Computer Science student at King’s College London with a particular interest in systems integration and technology for everyday use. He collaborated with the Financial Times as part of the EU PaperWorks project, co-ordinated by the Work Interaction and Technology Group at King’s College, to develop a system called iMAG, creating an application that could form the basis of a future ‘interactive magazine’ — one that is digitally legible and able to respond digitally to analogue input from a specially-enabled pen. This allows a reader to receive certain digital services from a PC simply by interacting with the magazine via annotations made on it via the pen, which is connected to the PC over a Bluetooth wireless link.
During his research for the project, which included interviews with magazine readers, Williams identified three main problems caused by the limitations of paper as a medium that can only present static information. These are the lack of easy sharing, review and storing. The same applies to any paper-based product such as newspapers and advertising flyers, forcing users to photocopy or scan material they want to share or cut out and keep articles for future reference. In the iMAG system, the paper-to-digital link is made possible by the use of the Anoto AB digital Pen and Paper technology (which allows quick transmission of handwritten text from paper to digital media) and the iServer Platform developed by ETHZ Zurich, a Swiss University, which provides an interface for directly linking the data transmitted by the pen from the paper to the PC via Bluetooth.