Next generation paper: Connecting paper to the web

This multidisciplinary project aims to explore the future of paper and its connection to the web. It will do so in the domain of travel and tourism where paper and screen-based information are already used together in the tourist experience.

Pictures and papers on a black background

The project proposal was in response to a call on ‘Content creation and consumption in the digital economy’. It aims to create new technology and business opportunities in the publishing and tourism industries. It will do this by using augmented reality and printed electronics to connect paper to the web, in what the team call second generation (2G) and third generation paper (3G).

If today’s ordinary paper is considered first generation (1G) paper, then 2G paper will be optically recognised with a camera, triggering associated digital information to be played or displayed on a nearby device.

3G paper will dispense with the camera and contain tiny sensors printed or embedded in the fibres of the paper itself. This will trigger the same kind of associations around it. In this way, paper documents and books could have hotlinks to webpages, audio, video clips and so on that could play on speakers or screens around them. The team will be looking at how this could change and connect the use of paper and screen-based information in tourism, where tourist brochures and guides already co-exist with mobile apps, digital photography and online booking systems.

More information is available in this press release

 A key feature of the project is that it will be investigating new business models for next generation paper, alongside building and testing the technology itself. This means that we will be working closely with our industrial partners on options for commercialisation and establishing industry standards.

The project team

This includes five groups at Surrey and one at the Open University. The project is led by Prof David Frohlich.

  • Digital World Research Centre (DWRC), Prof David Frohlich, Dr Emily Corrigan-Kavanagh, Alexandra Brown, Megan Beynon
  • School of Hospitality and Tourism, Prof Caroline Scarles
  • Centre for Vision Speech & Signal Processing (CVSSP), Prof Mirek Bober, Haiyue Yuan
  • Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), Dr Radu Sporea, George Bairaktaris
  • University of Exeter, Prof Alan Brown
  • Department of Geography, Open University, Dr George Revill.

Non-academic partners include:

  • Bradt Travel Guides
  • Emirates Holidays UK
  • HP
  • Otava Publishing Company
  • Ifolor Photo Printing
  • Novacentrix 


The project is funded by a grant of £1.17m from the Digital Economy programme administered by EPSRC, and will start on the 1st November 2017 for 30 months. 


In the press

November 2018

June 2018:

November 2017:

May/June 2017:


Emily Corrigan-Kavanagh, (2019). Next Generation Paper. Online: The Writing Platform.

Frohlich DM, Corrigan-Kavanagh E., Bober M, Yuan H, Sporea R., Le Borgne B, Scarles C... Beynon M.. (2019). The Cornwall a-book: An augmented travel guide using next generation paper. Journal of Electronic Publishing.

Frohlich, D.M. (2017) From audiopaper to next generation paper. WebMedia 2017: Proceedings of the 23rd Brazilian Symposium on Multimedia and the Web Pages 9-10. New York: ACM Press. DOI: 10.1145/3126858.3133310 

Nordman S. (2018). Next generation paper: an augmented book platform. doi: 10.1117/12.2320107



Sporea RA, Le Borgne BH, Yrjana S, Nordman S, Bagge P, Yuan H, Corrigan-Kavanagh E, Seisto A, Revill G, Bober MZ, Brown A, Scarles CE, Frohlich DM (2019). Next Generation Paper: An Augmented Travel Guide Demonstrator. Presentation at InnoLAE 2019.

Scarles CE, Beynon M, Next Generation Paper demonstration (2019) ENTER 2019, The 26th Annual eTourism Conference, Nicosia, Cyprus. 29th - 1st February 2019.

Sporea RA, Le Borgne BH, Yrjana S, Nordman S, Ritvonen T, Revill G, Bober MZ, Brown A, Scarles CE, Frohlich DM (2018). Next Generation Paper: An Augmented Book Platform. Presentation at SPIE Optics + Photonics 2018 Conference, September 2018, San Diego, California,United States.

Corrigan-Kavanagh, E. and Frohlich, D.M. (2018) Next Generation Paper: Revolutionising Paper and How Books are Read. Presentation at The Book in the Digital Age Conference, 24th October 2018, Loughborough University, UK

Corrigan-Kavanagh, E. and Frohlich, D.M. (2018) Design for Next Generation Paper and Implications for the Future of Reading. Presentation at UGPN Annual Conference, 9th - 11th April 2018, University of Surrey, UK.

Frohlich, D.M. (2017) From audiopaper to next generation paper. Keynote presentation to Webmedia 2017, 17-20th October 2017, Gramado, Brazil.

Scarles CE. From postcards to Instagram: Re-imagining tourist landscapes' paper presented at RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff, 29 August 2018.

Frohlich, D.M. 'Introducing the a-book'. Keynote presentation to BIC New Trends in Publishing conference 2018.

Journeys Between Print & Screen and Beyond: A Travel Media Ethnography, paper presented at the Digital World Research Centre -The University of Surrey, Guildford, 19 November 2018.

Touching upon Print & Screen: How media and technology reshape tourism' paper presented at The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management -The University of Surrey, Guildford, 4 December 2018.



Paper Magic, COMM Museum of Communication, The Hague, June-December 2018

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