Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Xerox "Invents" Erasable Paper!

Well, those wiley bastards at Xerox Parc are at it again. These people are the ones that came up with all the innovations we use everyday on our modern computers including Ethernet, the graphical user interface (GUI) and the computer mouse.

They've actually made paper that is erasable. I'm not talking about with a pencil eraser - I'm talking about stuff you printed out of your laser printer - can be erased and the physical paper can be used again.


Some scientist-type guys (I'm picturing white lab coats and horn-rimmed glasses here) actually did a demo of a paper whose text will delete itself after 24 hours.

Rather than just one use paper - hitting the trash can or recycling bin - the paper can be used up to 100 times (according to Eric Shrader, area manager at PARC).

So much for the "paperless society" we all envisioned. If you think about it - it's a pretty good idea. I know that I do a lot of printing of stuff for one-off reading like emails, long news articles, web pages, etc. I'm betting that a lot of people do the same thing. Read and toss (or recycle).

So - how does it work? It seems that the paper contains specially coded molecules that "darken" forming the printed content after being exposed to ultraviolet light emitted from a thin bar in a printer.

For now, the technology prints effectively only in black and white. Although good for everyday prints, ink remains a better option for high-quality prints - Mr. Shrader points out.

Then within 24 hours the molecule readjusts itself to its original form to delete the print, or heat can readjust the molecule instantly. Hmmm... interesting.

You can now have secret agent-type, your-eyes-only documents and don't even have to have your agent eat the evidence when they're done reading it. Just run it by a heat source - and it's gone.

I wonder what they will think of next...

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