#rpTEN Speaker Kate Stone: A New Feel for Print

The digitisation of printed materials is in full swing. But whatss happening on the flip-side? Kate Stone offers answers and even some products. Kate is a "creative scientist", who brings the worlds of print and digital closer together through some ingenious ideas and different approaches. Her work doesn't just focus on displaying the digital on printed posters, brochures or packaging – she also enriches printed materials with multimedia content. The actual feel of print gains a surprisingly new value.

Her interest in the digital world began during her studies. Armed with a degree in electronics and a doctorate in physics from the University of Cambridge, she laid the foundations for her future ventures. The founding of her company Novalia began the process of interweaving traditional print materials and electrical components.

Together with Novalia and aided by conductive ink and touch sensors, Kate brought print production into the 21st century with the focus of enhancing static print through interactive content. For example, she created a poster that plays music which can also be manipulated through touch, as well as a brochure for a car manufacturer which, when connected via Bluetooth to a smart phone, simulates the cockpit of their new cars. She has also created vinyl album sleeves which, when connected to a turntable and cross-fader app, turns its artwork into a DJ set through touch. 

Kate Stone is in process of developing her own, almost alternative, vision of the future. However, her approach isn't based on what-ifs of the future. Instead, she's anchored in the present and tries to develop new possibilities for interaction for already familiar products. Instead of high-tech futurism a la "Minority Report" and other sci-fi stories, Kate Stone sees the future to being closer to a "Marry Poppins" and "Harry Potter"-esque world: familiar and yet full of magic.

We look forward to hearing Kate Sone's talk at re:publica TEN.


Photo by Kate Stone