Saturday, January 16, 2010
Largest published book - world record set by
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., USA -- Measuring more than 5
x 7 feet and weighing in at 133 pounds, Bhutan:
A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom,
created by Michael Hawley of MIT, sets the world record
for the Largest
Largest published book features 112 pages of spectacular
images and showcases the variety of digital, photographic
and printing techniques that Hawley used. (enlarge
Copies are printed on-demand using a roll of
paper longer than a football field and more than a gallon
of ink. It takes a full twenty-four hours to print.
"What I really wanted was a 5-by-7-foot
chunk of wall that would let me change the picture every day,"
Michael Hawley said. "And I thought there was an old-fashioned
mechanism that might work. It's called the book."
Production of the world's
largest published book stretched image-processing
systems to their limits. The life-size portraits of people
and the panoramas convey some of the staggering sweep of the
mountains and the ancient architecture in Bhutan, the last
intact Himalayan kingdom.
A limited edition of 500 copies of
Bhutan are being produced. but the book is not being sold
in an ordinary sense. Copies may be bought
for a mere $30,000.
Proceeds will benefit Bhutanese schools,
scholars and educational programs. Each copy of the book will
be built expressly for the recipient. Amazon.com
is the exclusive online outlet for the largest
published book and FedEx will provide free shipping
To bind the books, Hawley turned to the
world's oldest book bindery, Acme Bookbinding of Charlestown,
Mass. "Every page in this book is a masterpiece," notes Paul
Parisi, president of Acme. "We built the permanent binding
it deserves." Acme invented a hand-built binding that combines
the strengths of Western-style stitched books with Asian-style
Hawley, a technology pioneer at the Media
Lab and founder of pathbreaking research programs like "Toys
of Tomorrow" and "Things that Think," fell in love with the
tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan while leading several MIT
field expeditions there. Nestled between Nepal, Tibet and
India, Bhutan is home to one of the most astonishingly diverse
and unspoiled natural and cultural ecologies on earth.
The idea for the largest
published book grew out of a desire to use scientific
field expeditions to drive better photography. "Every field
team, from MIT geologists to the local boy scout troop, feels
an obligation to collect and share the best possible record
of their work," said Hawley. "But photography can be a real
annoyance on expeditions."
Although digital photography has advanced tremendously
in recent years, systems are still disorganized and most field
teams can't capture a very complete visual record. Much of
what comes back from a field expedition languishes on a shelf
somewhere, collecting dust.
With seed funding from the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation and from the MIT/Microsoft iCampus initiative
(a five-year alliance between MIT and Microsoft Research),
Hawley led four expeditions to Bhutan over the course of four
Teams of MIT and Bhutanese students, officials
and staff flew by helicopter, rode mountain ponies, trekked
with packhorses and yaks, and journeyed by caravan on far-flung
roads and foot trails across the Bhutanese Himalayas. They
had extraordinary assistance from the Royal Government of
Bhutan and from Chhundu Travel and Tours.
Hawley's teams were equipped with the latest
digital and film photo gear to capture a collective portrait
of this remote paradise. Imagery shot by the ensembles of
photographers was GPS coded, captioned and stored on pocket
disk drives on the spot.
Related world records:
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Book-world record set by Ayman Trawi
expensive Baby photos: Angelina Jolie's twins sets world record
expensive newspaper copy-Romanian newspaper sets world record
January 16, 2010