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This high-tech book uses facial recognition to decide whether to open for you

A text that won't settle for anything short of an ideal reader.


Miles Klee


Posted on Feb 2, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 3:32 pm CDT

The phrase “biometric security features” usually calls to mind a bank vault or government intelligence facility, but such devices might work in libraries, too. Artist Thijs Biersteker just unveiled a high-tech book that scans a would-be reader’s face before deciding whether to open.

“The Cover That Judges You,” Biersteker explains, sends an audio pulse to a piece of hardware that unlocks the book—but only if it detects a neutral expression devoid of preconceived bias.

“I often worry about my skepticism and judgement getting in my way of amazement,” he writes, “and judgement should never hinder [the] relentless enthusiasm of seeing things for the first time.”

Don’t get too enthusiasm, though: the book won’t open if you’re overly excited.

With a few tweaks, this technology could ensure that my family never reads my childhood diary—never again, anyway.

H/T Electric Literature | Photo via Dezeen/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 2, 2015, 6:45 pm CST