Inkling: Innovative e-Textbooks for the iPad

Talk about innovative!  Matt MacInnis, a Nova Scotia native, Harvard grad, and former Apple employee (eight years), has founded a company called Inkling that mades digital textbooks for the iPad. One of the company’s breakthrough offerings, as mentioned in a Bloomberg/Businessweek feature, is called Brooker Biology which features a 3D diagram of the human heart that can be rotated with the flick of a finger.

Complicated processes such as cell co-transport are explained with videos. Plus, there are dynamic quizzes which reinforce lessons. The book’s 60 chapters can be bought individually for $3 apiece, so professors can assign just the sections they want to teach.

The article mentioned that 108 first-year students at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University will be required to buy iPads and use Inkling e-books for their anatomy and clinical medicine classes in the upcoming year.

The most interesting part of this story, is the software Inkling has developed that speeds up the process of turning a print textbook into a digital one.

“A 1,400-page textbook is way more complex than most people care to notice,” said MacInnis. “We turn it into a formula.”

Inkling’s computers scan through files provided by the publisher and automatically arrange text, images, and audiovisual elements in an intuitive interface.

This is a very exciting breakthrough. Make sure to read the complete Bloomberg Businessweek story. MacInnis did a demo on stage at All Things Digital’s D9 Conference. There is a 12-minute video below of the demo.


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