New book enhances reading experience with help from cell phones, technology

May 26, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Cell phones may seem like a distraction when reading, but a Purdue University professor shows how they can be paired with novels that link readers to digital resources to create "ubitour" books.

"Books open our minds, and now we can use technology to expand our reading experiences," said Sorin Adam Matei, an associate professor of communication and creator of the ubitour book series. "Cell phones are the digital devices that are used by most people, so it only makes sense that cell phones be an essential part of the reading experience."

"Around the World in 80 Days: The Ubitour Version Guided by Your Mobile Phone" is a traditional print book with stamp-sized graphic codes embedded on each page that connect readers to related digital information such as on-demand video and audio, maps, and other online resources such as social interaction sites. Each page has two 2-D codes, which are similar to bar codes but instead serve as hyperlinks. Readers take pictures of these graphics with their iPhone or other Internet-capable mobile phone, and then access the digital information by using an application that supports 2-D codes, such as i-nigma.

Matei designed the ubitour version guides, and the book project was supported by Purdue's Discovery Learning Research Center and the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy. Ideagora, a media, publishing and consulting service group that Matei oversees, published the book. The book ($17.99) is available for purchase at

A demonstration video is available at

"Around the World in 80 Days," published by Jules Verne in 1873, is the story of an Englishman, along with his French valet, who takes on a bet to travel the world in 80 days.

"This book is a classic, and it is a story that is appropriate for all ages," Matei said. "These technologies were pilot tested at Purdue's Discovery Learning Research Center, where improving education and learning is of great importance. The ubitour version guides would be ideal learning tools for high school students."

Readers also can contribute to online picture galleries and digital maps.

"People who have personally visited the places described in the book, can share their travel stories, amazing adventures, literary musings or historical insights online," Matei said. "These contributions will be incorporated in future editions of the printed book as footnotes and hyperlinks. The book will change with the needs, desires and ideas of the community of its readers."

Matei plans to release an ubitour version of Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" in fall 2010.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Sorin Adam Matei, 765-494-7780,

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Note to Journalists: Journalists interested in a review copy of the book should contact Sorin Adam Matei, 765-494-7780,