For this proof of concept project for Google, Little Fluffy Clouds was tasked with imagining a new kind of children’s storybook using forward thinking technology that is both creative and commercially viable. This book would be physical with a hardback cover and pages that turn and be in every way one that could be read in the traditional way.
Our idea was to imagine the experience as a child would, to step inside that world, and change the entire reading experience for children. This would mean not simply to add a small element to the Google Storybook but to add many elements changing the perspective that encompasses their world.
A special moment occurs when a child goes to bed and the light is turned off. The child’s entire world changes. Often children are afraid of the dark and nightlights are left on to help them feel safe. We asked ourselves – how could we make this moment feel magical and not scary? The Google Storybook aims to hand control of this special time to the child and with unique magical properties focus bedtime into a fun and inspiring experience – one that allows dreams to spark little imaginations. Employing the traditional storybook concept we envision a complete immersive experience based on two separate but interconnected worlds – day and night.
This is a traditional storybook with characters and adventures some that can be seen only during the day but more that can be seen only at night. The daytime narrative hints at and gives clues to events with even more special characters and adventures that take place specifically when a child goes to bed.
Embedded within each page will be a layer of Electroluminescence Ink. EL-ink emits light in response to the passage of a low-level current from a regular battery. By sequencing these tiny currents we can illuminate small parts of the image at a certain moment to create an animation. On top of this EL layer is a mask to shape this light in precise forms and on top of that is a semi transparent colored film that holds the illustration. Sensors in the book keeps track of which page is open and if the room is light or dark. Yet even with all this technology, the book still looks and feels like a physical book with a beautiful cover and pages that are a little thicker yet still flexible so although packed with technology the book is indistinguishable from a traditional storybook.
In addition to the book we imagine two more components to complete this experience – a magic lantern and luminescent stickers to be placed on the walls.
At bedtime the child spots the lantern softly glowing like a night light on the bedside table. This lantern will illuminate images from the story and the characters they have previously met in the book via the luminescent stickers placed previously in the room. When the child touches the lantern it glows brighter and each and every page of the book including the cover lights up. This perceptible wink is the invitation for the child to pick up the lantern and explore the room to see the luminescent stickers. When the child opens the book they find the characters there again but now in the nighttime setting and telling a different story, one that is special taking place only when the room is dark. The pages of the Google Storybook have come to life.
Imagine, as part of the storyline, a child is encouraged to step through a particular page of the book and as their fingertips touch the page the footprint or tracks of their favorite character begin to walk them through to where the next event is embedded for them to see. With the magic lantern and the magic book the child controls the night. Bedtime is now something to look forward to and be excited about.