Artists Create Book Cover That Refuses to Open for Judgmental Readers

While the age-old idiom tells us not to judge a book by its cover, this high-tech book-cover is designed to do the judging instead. Created by a group of artists at Amsterdam creative studio Moore, the book-sleeve has the ability to scan faces for prejudice. If it detects even the slightest hint of judgement, the book will simply refuse to open.

Aptly named ‘The Cover that Judges You’, the sleeve comes with an integrated camera at the top and facial-recognition software that scans the faces of people who approach it. “Our aim was to create a book cover that is human and approachable-hi-tech,” artist Thijs Biersteker said. “If you approach the book, the face-recognition system picks up your face and starts scanning it for signs of judgement.”


The screen has abstracted facial features (of a neutral expression), with which prospective readers need to align their own eyes, nose and mouth. If the alignment is perfect, then the face is assumed to have no prejudices, and a signal is sent to the Arduino board to opens the metal lock.

But if the user’s features don’t align with the screen, this indicates too much emotion – over excitement or under enthusiasm. In this case, the book will remain locked.


Moore artists said they designed The Cover that Judges You as a prototype for the Art Directors Club Netherlands’ annual 2015 event. “We often worry about scepticism and judgement getting in the way of amazement,” Biersteker said.

“Judgement should never hinder relentless enthusiasm of seeing things for the first time,” he added.


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