Papier Machine's playful 'e-book' combines paper with circuitry

Papier Machine's playful 'e-book' combines paper with circuitry

When is a book a future book? When it's also a collection of interactive electronic toys.

The pitch

Papier Machine Vol.0 is a book of interactive electronic paper toys. The first in a series, the elegant volume - themed around 'sound' - contains pages silkscreened with conductive silver ink, along with two button cells, two metallic marbles, two piezo elements, and two reusable sound components that can be assembled to create six toys. Each toy comes with a visual user manual, bypassing language barriers to produce a fun and accesible STEM kit that brings a whole new meaning to the term 'e-book'.

"Have you ever wondered what life is hiding inside your day-to-day devices?" asks co-founder Agnes Agullo. "Papier Machine is an expedition into the invisible aesthetics of electronics where paper, electricity, graphics and play meet. Circuits hide a surprising narrative potential, and Papier Machine tells their stories extending with conductive ink the classical possibilities of paper using colours and shapes." 

The team

Papier Machine is driven by a three-member team based in Paris: Raphaël Pluvinage and Marion Pinaffo, both designers running their own studio, and Agnes Agullo, who worked for several years in the music world and for charity organisations.

Passionate about learning through play, the trio came together around a common desire "to offer singular experiences for alternative learning". The Papier Machine set of books is the first in a line of "experience editors" they hope to produce.

What's the gap in the market?

The team felt there was a space to be exploited somewhere between earnest STEM kits, screen-based learning and educational books - one that would encourage a wider range of people to experiment with and enjoy electronics.

"There are books. And there are electronic toys. We wanted to combine both to prove that paper is not dead, and we wanted it to be beautiful," Agullo says. "We are convinced that we can use alternative learning to develop the skills needed in a digital future surrounded by electronics; convinced that screens are not always necessary. With Papier Machine you will not learn something, you will stimulate curiosity. It does not intend to explain electronics - but to awakens people's will to understand it."

Succeess so far?

Publicly launched on Kickstarter last week, Papier Machine Vol.0 was fully funded in less than 30 hours. It's now more than 150% funded thanks to more than 1100 supporters.

Before it went public, the prototype had already won several awards, including the Red Dot Design Award and the Audi Talent Award, and was exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris last year. 

Biggest challenges?

Like many Kickstarter over-achievers, the team now face a race against time to produce the best quality version of the book by July, when supporters have been promised it will ship.

Ultimate ambition?

"To become a real toy editor offering singular and fun experiences."

Advice for other publishing entrepreneurs?

"All together, we can make paper great again. We just have to believe in its possibilities. Why not try telling stories with paper, rather than on paper?"