Ross Monroe
Student and Creative Technologist

Is The World Getting Better?



Is The World Getting Better?


The Gates Foundation


Curator Pictures


New York, NY


Hardware Development

Hardware Installation


Ben Chaykin



During the 2017 United Nations Summit, The Gates Foundation hosted an event to showcase ways in which the world is getting better and the impact that humanitarian efforts have had around the world. With Speakers ranging from Barack Obama to, the event wanted to bring perspectives from different leaders on the progress they observed in their fields, initiatives they’ve been involved in, and how other nations and people can contribute.

To accent this event, four digital books were created for attendees to interact with and learn about the positive changes made by advancements in vaccines, agriculture, education, and more. 

The digital books were developed to look and feel like real books, but the content was projected onto blank paper pages. With every page turn forward, backward, or skipping in between, the book always knew its place and would animate in and out the pages content. On some pages, the book encouraged users to touch digital buttons that revealed more information or an animation.

The user was interacting with blank pages of paper, but it felt like they were interacting with a paper touch screen.


Unfortunately this is one of the few projects I’m not able to discuss the behind the scenes functionality :(

But… the process overall combined several different technologies into a unified system that launched content based on page turns and user interactions with the books.

This required physical hardware for monitoring on multiple levels allowing the book to be precise as well as function reliably without additional tuning once it was set up.

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With the event being in New York, we had the books and hardware shipped before arrival. We had one full day and the following half day to setup and finalize of all of the hardware and software.

I helped coordination with house technical team to run data lines, fly hardware, and get our control booth setup where the systems functionality could be monitored and tweaked if necessary.

The books were displayed on a small stage in a room where attendees dined and mingled. Many took the opportunity to come up and check out the books in the beginning of the event and during intermissions from the scheduled speakings in the next room.


The event hosted about four hundred people, with many being dignitaries from nations around the world and some celebrities. Its hard to determine how many of them spent time with the books but once a few had interacted with them they spread the word to others in the room about how unique and exciting it was interacting with them.

The books made enough of an impression that one was permanently installed in the private home of Bill and Melinda Gates.

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