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Displays Technology

Self-Recycling Paper 143

fermion writes "Xerox is reported to be working on some interesting forms of digital paper. The New York Times reports a 16 hour reusable paper. This system uses a coated paper and special ink to produce a copy that will fade over 16 hours, or sooner if the paper is put back in the copy tray. It can then be reused for a new copy, up to 10 times. According to the article, the rational for this is that paper is no longer used to store information, but merely to temporarily display it. The research suggest that in the typical office many copies end up in the recycle bin by the end of the day. The main obstacle to commercialization seems to be the question of whether people need this product. Will people have digital displays that will take the place of paper? Will something radically different from plain paper, but with competitive costs and characteristics, become popular? Xerox itself is working on something called gyricon, a system of tiny bichromal beads encased between sheets of plastics. Evidently the beads can be set electrically to either reflect of absorb light, thus allowing images to be generated at will. According to the page, the images can be set by a printer or a hand held wand. The 'paper' could even be combined with electronics to create a flexible display. So, /., where is our display technology headed? Coated conventional paper? Plastic reprintable paper? Glasses with heads up displays and wireless data feed?"
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Self-Recycling Paper

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  • Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why would I want to print something out that would fade in less than a day? At best this is a super niche use.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:47AM (#16998900) Homepage Journal
      I print stuff, read it, shred it. Why? Cause I like reading paper. The world does not revolve around you and your personal likes and, unfortunately, it doesn't revolve around mine either.
      • I read on the screen unless I want to scribble all over it.
        Then I print it out and make notes, draw arrows, underline, scratch things out, etc. etc. -- it's just faster than doing the same with a mouse.

        OR I print things out if I'm taking a flight in an economy seat and don't want to struggle with the laptop in limited space. ...either way, not much use for this paper.

        On the other hand, when I was still working in a corporate environment, we'd have lots of meetings where there'd be a printout to refer to dur
        • They might be able to create pens with the same ink as the one the printer woud use. Still, given that paper tends to get folded, stapled and what not, the printer would need a rather impressive paper feeder for this to work.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:05AM (#16999002)
      You make photocopies of money, spend photocopied money at Wal-Mart to buy a Playstation 3, sell Playstion 3 on Ebay (profit!), and Wal-Mart sues the Federal Government for disappearing money.
      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @09:50AM (#17000682)
        There was a white-collar gang that was caught some years ago that did something similar. They cashed lots of bad checks that were chemically treated to break down some time later, leaving no obvious evidence that said check ever existed. The way they got caught was because the treated checks began to dissolve other people's checks that were next to them. They still managed to get away with a lot of money before they got nailed. I've since wondered if anyone has repeated that particular gig more successfully ... not that we'd ever hear about it.
    • I am a mathematician. I do a lot of "test writing" while working on something. After a while, unless that something I wrote turns out meaningful, I don't need it anymore. I don't have a blackboard or anything similar at home, so I have to use paper. I could spare a lot of paper by using this kind of stuff. The only problem would be that sometimes I need it for more than 16 hours.
      • That's just it (Score:4, Interesting)

        by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:28AM (#16999096) Homepage Journal
        I work on the data in a number of reports and frequently print the works in copy while i tweak the calculations or formatting.

        99% of the time they are in the recycle bin within the hour, but sometimes i'll have a particular issue that means i need the printout for a week or more.

        The other big plus to paper is that i can annotate things that might be hard on screen. I imagine if i make pencil scribblings on it it'll be useless for recycling.

        In the corporate world many things are printed and never read. I had a tech lead years ago that swore he put a photocopied page from a russian engineering textbook in every large report he ever submitted to management - never got asked about it.
        • In the corporate world many things are printed and never read. I had a tech lead years ago that swore he put a photocopied page from a russian engineering textbook in every large report he ever submitted to management - never got asked about it.

          The classic example of this gambit is the Write Only Memory []. According to the Jargon File, somebody got annoyed with all the required apporovals where nothing was actually being checked, so he put out a totally illogical spec. Heh, it specifies a standard fila

    • I work in a news room where the anchors print all their scripts, then toss them after the 30-60 minute show. There is so much paper that is used each day and not to mention how often the toner is replaced each week. This would be good, but it would require people taking care of the paper long enough to put it back into the copier.
    • by morie ( 227571 )
      Each print in our office comes with a cover stating who printed it and when. It protects the first page from prying eyes and is used to sort the prints in the print/copyroom.

      This first page could come out of a tray of reusable paper. They go in the bin right away now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gription ( 1006467 )

      - Because if you are reading a document of any real size you can read much faster from paper then you can from a computer screen. Do a speed reading test on a computer and then from printed text. Your speed when reading from paper will win.

      - Because you can skim a 50 page report with real speed only if you have it on good old fashioned paper. Find a 50 page PDF file with a passage that you need and see how many minutes it takes to find it. Then print it out and flip through the pages and see how man
    • Sometimes when I sit at the computer and read something, the feeling to having to go and sit on my throne in the bathroom overwhelms me. It'd be nice if I could print the subject material, and read in in some quality quiet, while doing something else very important. I wouldn't mind having such fading paper in my printer for such occasions, because I still have lying around stuff I printed on real paper a while ago, and still looking to reuse the backside of it. Just think of it, how many times can you use t
  • by Centurix ( 249778 ) <> on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:37AM (#16998864) Homepage
    "This message will recycle in 5 seconds."
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:41AM (#16998874)
    The reusable paper, I could see being used a lot by businesses - but the problem is one of coexistance with other paper. If you have reusable paper, do you have no real paper? That seems impractical. Or, do you seperate the two and perhaps have reusable paper get mixed up with real paper and tossed? What happens if you forget what you have and take notes that end up on someone else's copy later?

    There are indeed many items throughout the day that people need to temporarily display in a dense format, to which paper is ideally suited. But i think electronic paper fed data from the table it sits on or by some other means is probably better suited to this task, since it's truly reusable and probably not something you'd confuse with real paper.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pilgrim23 ( 716938 )
      Nothing new about reusable paper. In the middle ages, Monks would take priceless copies of the works of Archemedes, scrubbed them clean then bleach, cut to quarto and fold sideways, so a copy of the far more important records of the bowel movements of St Cuthbert could be imortalized for all times. The resultant volumes is called a "Palmiset"
      • by uhlume ( 597871 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:32AM (#16999114) Homepage
        That anything like a "palimpsest"?
        • Thanks. I knew the word, and even googled several varriants but took a chance on the phonetics. Incunabula does inculde some seldom used, funny words
      • by DingerX ( 847589 )
        dude, you have any idea how much an illuminated manuscript on the bowel movements of St. Cuthbert would be worth? "Priceless" could describe the first historiated initial, let alone the rest of it.

        Besides, the Archimedes manuscript was redone in Constantinople, where they couldn't give a rat's ass about St. Cuthbert.

        Oh yeah, and all you do is scrape the manuscript. The palimpsest ink stays deeper in -- and why? Because it's not paper, but parchment.

        Come to think of it, this whole post strikes me as a tro
      • Nothing new about reusable paper. In the middle ages, Monks would take priceless copies of the works of Archemedes, scrubbed them clean then bleach, cut to quarto and fold sideways,

        Except they didn't use paper, they used parchment which was made from animal skins (and thus much more expensive and durable).


    • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:08AM (#16999008)
      The problem I see is that it's hard to know for certain how long you will need that printout for. Perhaps in the morning you figure you'll get to that printout in the next couple of hours, but it's a busy day and it sits on your desk all day long. The next morning you decide to take a look at it, but the paper has already recycled itself.

      It would make more sense to allow the user to decide when the paper needs to be recycled. Create some sort of "de-printer" or "un-printer" that would zap the ink with UV and make it invisible, or something.

      Also raises some corporate security issues. A lot of paper currently ends up in the shredder. If the recycled paper preserves minute but detectable traces of what was written before, it may be that it will have to end up in the shredder anyhow.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Shemmie ( 909181 )
        This is why I see the bead-type paper become mainstream one day, and this idea going nowhere. Reusable paper's all well and good, but its the user who needs to be able to dictate when the paper is no longer useful, and ready for recycling. That, combined with the fact that if paper's to be reusable, it needs far more life than 10 uses. After 10 uses, it's the same as our current situation, and it needs disposing of. Proper electronic paper, I would hope and imagine, would last longer than 10 'prints'
    • Or, do you seperate the two and perhaps have reusable paper get mixed up with real paper and tossed?

      Two printers. One for reusable paper. One for normal paper. Reusable paper should be marked with something like a red stripe across the top so that everyone in the know will know it'll fade after a day.


      • Two printers will never fly, because businesses need the real ones still and don't want to have to buy a lot of extra... plus how do you know how "used" the reusable paper is?
        • I'm pretty sure people could recognize a printer named "reusable" vs. "permanent". If the paper is less than 10x the price of normal paper, then you're set. You just have two "recycle" bins, one for regular paper, one for reusable paper. You can then count how many times the reusable paper is used, maybe mark it permanently somehow. Not terribly hard, and office people can get used to all kinds of stupid processes (you put the blue paper in the pink envelope, and the white paper in the blue envelope, th
          • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
            The printer itself could mark the paper with a NON-fading indicator -- as simple as adding a number across the top, each time the page was run through the printer.

            So after 5 uses you'd see a small

            1 2 3 4 5

            across the top of the page.

            As you say, very simple and easy for anyone to figure out.

            Alternatively, the paper might START with 10 numbers, and the printer zaps one each time the page is processed. This might be more practical for something like another poster suggested -- paper that can be "
    • That's an easy problem to work around. The reusable paper could, for example, have a colored border printed around the front. Or the paper itself could be a particular color to make it stand out.
      • Colored paper would not be very popular, and the colored band would (a) make it look ugly enough that some people would not use it, wlong with (b) get lost in a stack of real paper that's going to get thrown out.

        It's not an easy problem to work around, when you consider what happens to real paper in a real office.
    • by Fizzl ( 209397 )
      Perhaps I could come up with a business idea... Yes! I got it!
      Perhaps we could integrate some kind of "trays" in the printers, which could hold different kinds of paper.
      To make it even more convenient, perhaps we could have some kind of interface to the network printing system where you could select what kind of paper you would like to have, without even knowing what tray to use?
      God damnit! I'm a genious! Anyone want to team up with me to make this happen? We could patent it and call it EZPRPRHNDLNG!!!111
      • Yes of course you could use a single printer that could print on more than one kind of paper. Many printers have two bins... only now you need a third, because you can't cut out legal paper. Or perhaps a fourth so that you have the recyclable paper in both letter and legal.

        But that printer will be more expensive, and there is the matter of loading in the right kind of paper - along with having to store both kinds of paper near the printer.

        It's just not a valuable enough difference from normal paper to be w
  • Though TFA is mostly referencing business applications, I can't help but think this would be even more helpful in places like Antarctica and space, where you simply don't have the room or resources to bring in several tons of office supplies.
    • I would think one area in which this would be really helpful would be in the military/government branches. If they wanted to print out a secret report or something and not have it fall into the wrong hands it would be beneficial to have it disappear in a certain time frame. Though I've been rewatching the xfiles series so maybe I'm not being realistic
      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        But can the data be retrieved after it fades? It would be useless for security if the paper could be read the same way that erased hard drives used to be able to be read.
    • once it's affordable, I can't even see this stuff competing - and it'll probably be expensive compare to the actual practicality. Instead of mass copies, people will send and recieve wirelessly to each other's readers. Well, that's how I think it will be in 10 years, maybe 20.

      The only problem epaper will have is if the writing utility on it has a god awful implementation - though that will vary by reader.
  • redundant (Score:5, Informative)

    by slidersv ( 972720 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:46AM (#16998892) Journal
    This was posted @ /. almost two month ago. 07/2243222 []

    Come on... just search for "xerox"...
  • Neat idea. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Somatic ( 888514 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:48AM (#16998904) Journal
    A neat idea that will never, ever, ever get used in a million years by any office that I know of.

    I appreciate the sentiment, but business is about getting business done. The first time work was lost because someone left the memo on their desk for more than xxx hours would be the end of the system. I can imagine some cruel managers getting a kick out of it, but that's about it.

    The "paperless office" was a 100x better idea than this (and an idea that's not entirely dead, either. I telecommute, and my office is 99.9% paperless).

    • Re:Neat idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by revolu7ion ( 994315 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:56AM (#16998952) Homepage
      Have you ever spoken to a photocopier technician?
      I used to work in a library - and had to deal with the photocopier and lazer printer issues. You can't stick any old pieces of paper in those puppies - it destroys the printer, makes it jam etc. The reams have to be preferrably kept inside their box till used. Don't open half a packet and leave it there -moisture gets in and makes the paper jam more, drum life decreases - print quality decreases etc...
      I'm pictring some secretary jamming creased, folded, curled and otherwise munted pieces of 'recycling paper' into the tray of the work copier... Jim from xerox would probably faint
      • by Somatic ( 888514 )
        I think what you're saying is that this would be easier than paper because it would avoid all the jamming and stuff, right?

        I don't know, I'm not a Xerox tech. What I can tell you is that it would bring with it a host of new problems, like any new technology. The question is, are all these new problems worth it? My bet is no. I'm not a business wiz, but I know what I would think, and what my managers would think: "We know how to deal with paper jams, ink shortages, and people occaisionally sticking their pe

        • I agree. The problem that comes to mind first is wear on the paper. If you're reusing the paper it's more likely that you're going to be putting in sheets with folds or slight crumples or whatever and that will easily increase printer/copier jams.
        • managers would think: "We know how to deal with paper jams, ink shortages, and people occaisionally sticking their penis in the copy machine. But are we willing to buy a new system, using paper that degrades after 10 uses, and only lasts 16 hours, and hiring/training/paying for support to make sure it works, and changing the office practices around it?"

          You nailed the fatal flaw in this product precisely. It does not fit in an existing niche well, but rather requires extensive adjustment to make it practica

      • by QuantumG ( 50515 )
        What a zimulating comment.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        The reams have to be preferrably kept inside their box till used. Don't open half a packet and leave it there -moisture gets in and makes the paper jam more, drum life decreases - print quality decreases etc...

        This is all nice for a company that has a large printer, yet I have still to find one printer for the homeuser that can hold a ream at one time. Now each time I have to guess how much paper I can put in there.

        Also I would like one where the ream is actualy inside the printer and not habging out halfw

      • by afxgrin ( 208686 )
        Hey, it's just Xerox doing what they do best - fucking it up for themselves.

        No one will buy these things because:

        a) reusable paper will need to be collect and placed back into the printer
        b) printer technology almost always makes the assumption that the paper being fed into the unit is from a fresh stack of paper
        c) wrinkles in the used paper
        d) deep desire to draw on it.

        And sadly enough, Xerox developed many of the key technologies in the early stages of the PC that could lead to the paperless society, and in
    • is no more comfortable than the paperless bathroom!

      (not original with me, but still true.)
  • by shirai ( 42309 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:48AM (#16998912) Homepage
    This is an interesting concept but I see it having a major shortcoming:

    You are now forced to make a decision before you print on whether the output should be temporary or permanent. Sometimes I will print something thinking it's temporary but I decide I need it longer. Or imagine the potential disaster of writing notes on the printout "in context" and that context disappears after 16 hours. Stuff like "ask Mary about this part" or "copy editing" marks.

    I applaud the idea of paper recycling like this but couldn't see myself using it.

    I think it has a few other issues too:

    1. Needing two printers to print

    2. Possibly not being able to distinguish between the two types of paper (assuming they look similar)

    3. Having to print twice if you decide that you want a permanent copy

    4. Cost(?)
    • by hazem ( 472289 )
      Plus, the main reason I print a draft copy of something is to have a copy to write on and do mark-up. This won't go far if people have to use special pens - it's harder to get someone switch their pen than it is to switch their religion or stapler.
    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
      I suspect the "need two printers" issue, while presently real, will eventually go away, as it makes sense to combine the "temporary printer" with a traditional "permanent printer" for an all-in-one device. Same for an "unprinter" (eraser) as someone suggested for user-controllable fading.

      The paper itself could be marked (perhaps by the printer). And perhaps eventually the process will be ink-only, so you just select which ink the printer uses -- temporary or permanent -- and use ordinary paper.

      It may become
  • This could make DRM for books feasible. You buy a book, and a week or so later, it fades away.

    Its usefulness seems rather limited though...
    • They tried that with O.J. Simpson's new book. Worked a bit too well since it disappeared really fast from the market.
    • You mean Analog Rights Management. That is, unless they're making books now that are just printed binary data for a PDF file of the book, in which case that seems like a lot of binary data to type within 16 hours.
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:48AM (#16998918)
    They will give some tips on using pencil and eraser as a low cost alternative
    • For those of you who don't get the joke:

      "During the space race back in the 1960's, NASA was faced with a major problem. The astronaut needed a pen that would write in the vacuum of space. NASA went to work. At a cost of $1.5 million they developed the "Astronaut Pen". Some of you may remember. It enjoyed minor success on the commercial market.

      The Russians were faced with the same dilemma.

      They used a pencil. "

      Although it's apparently an urban legend - see []
  • Spelling Nazi (Score:3, Informative)

    by irishstallion ( 1008667 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:50AM (#16998922)
    "According to the article, the rational for this is that paper is no longer used to store information, but merely to temporarily display it."
    The word you are looking for is rationale. You are welcome.
  • I think the word intended was rationale.
  • paper jams (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fowlerserpent ( 690409 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:51AM (#16998936)
    Seems like there would have to be a whole paper etiquette developed for this to work. Like paper clips only, no staple. No folding. No crumpling. Careful with the corners. If you don't, the paper will jam the printer.

    It could work, though. For example, your department or team has a meeting. Different folks pass out relevant information. Immediately before or after the meeting they may also send .pdfs of the documents to everyone who attended the meeting. At the end of the meeting everyone can return the paper documents so the paper doesn't get bent out of shape.

    Then again, if you're going to go to the trouble of sending everyone electronic versions of the documents, why not give everyone tablet pc's and forget about the paper altogether?
  • and other times simply in the way of other good ideas, even better ideas.
    I often use the dual head display so that I can see something temporarily... a place where re-usable paper technology might be useful. Many of the printed reports I've seen in meetings would be well placed on this type of paper technology... as most of the copies end up in the trash anyway.

    There are a few places that such technology would be good, check books are not one of them. I think that once technology such as e-books and the lik
  • Seriously, I like Xerox and I hope they don't shoot themselves in the foot again (like they did with the GUI and the Mouse).
  • As long as this is not used for the papery 250Gb storage medium!

    But seriously, I think this is a great idea, but I think the information should not fade or be erased over time, but rather the paper should be manually erased when needed.

    THis would allow people to put paper in the 'to be erased' tray and grab a 'new' sheet when they need paper for temporary use.

    • but rather the paper should be manually erased when needed.

      Maybe develop ink that fades when exposed to UV or infrared of a certain spectrum...


  • paper phishing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:09AM (#16999016)
    I just hope they make some kind of sign or something on those papers to be easily recognizable, since I think nobody would want to sign some contract papers the text of which later will fade away leaving your signature on a blank paper.
    • I have a feeling that the ink wouldn't totally go away (otherwise why is there a 10 print limit?) I think using this for fishing would be a quick way of going to gaol for fraud.
      • by l3v1 ( 787564 )
        The limit is there since probably the ink doesn't go away, it just becomes transparent, so after many uses the paper will get thicker and harder. IMHO.

  • Boy am I sick of vapourware press releases on e-paper, e-ink, whatever else they wanna call it.

    They been talking about this for decades now.

    Put the product in the stores or shut the hell up already.

    • FWIW, I believe Sony has an "e-ink" based product on the market, it's some sort of uber-expensive ebook reader. I'm fairly certain it's going to be a flop, but it's not a bad demonstration of the technology. I think it's called the Libre in Japan and the Sony Reader in the U.S. (As usual, it's supposed to use some ridiculously draconian DRM if you use it according to Sony's plan.)

      Here's a WP article with photo: []

      It uses some form of e-ink passive display that involves "
      • by QuantumG ( 50515 )
        Yeah, I've seen that. It's neat, and the display may be a little easier on the eyes (the main reason people print things out to read them) but so long as the paper is stuck between a hunk of plastic you might as well be reading off a PDA.

        The Reader can also play mp3 files.

        There's the canary in the mine. What idiots.
  • This would be perfect for counterfeiters! Print up some fake bills on these sheets, spend them, and if you get caught, the evidence has destroyed itself -- all they have is bill-sized scraps of blank paper!
    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
      I had a similar thought, involving writers of bad checks.

      Still, no matter the tech, high or low, new or ancient, there can always be found some lowlife using it for nefarious purposes. If one stopped research and progress from fear of misuse, we'd have not yet picked up one stone to hammer another with, lest Og use it to bash Gronk's head.

  • After Microsoft's emails emerged in their trial, a lot of companies started emphasizing document retention policies. Meaning, of course, document destruction policies. These can probably minimize the embarassing electronic documents, but what about paper?

    To take an example nearer the geek's heart, look at IBM producing documents for SCO. I think SCO demanded not only every electronic version of source code, but every printout.

    CEOs would probably be very happy to know that all paper in their company is th
    • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @05:36AM (#16999358) Homepage Journal
      Nope. After Enron, the SOX-B puts special responsibility on CTO and CEO for retention. They are criminally liable if they are found to have destroyed the paper/e-paper copies, even if the paper itself is innocent.

      At my bank, we store ALL papers in HUGE IronMan boxes and cart them off to offsite storage.
      Every cubicle and every office now has notices (in addition to OSHA, money laundering, etc) that warn of dire consequences if we scrub/scrap documents without making sure we don't need them.

      I have stopped shredding even 2 years old design papers which contain paper scribblings of long-scrapped or long-finished systems.
      They are either in my desk drawers (wonder why the desk is creaking...) or submitted for arhival.
      Same goes for email.

      We have only soft deletes nowadays on emails and nothing is ever deleted. It is just archived.

      This disappearing ink will cause more headaches for people and whet the appetites of lawyers.
      I can see a scenario in court:
      Defendant: "Honestly your honor, i did NOT know it was that disappearing ink paper. I had written out my idea of reconstructing by buying out xyz bank's share in Acme before we ended up with a different deal."
      Lawyer: "Not only did the defendant know this was special paper, she was the one who authorized the purchase of the same 4 years ago, knowing well it looked similar to normal paper, with the delibrate intention of using technology to wipe out criminal actions."

      I don't think it will ever succeed beyond a fancy circle...

      Xerox thought people would use less paper once emails came into vogue. Our usage of paper has shot up by more than 5 times ever since email and PC's came into being. Now we print out emails, powerpoint slides, reports that are never read, etc.

  • Passive screen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dargaud ( 518470 ) <(slashdot2) (at) (> on Monday November 27, 2006 @05:23AM (#16999316) Homepage
    I've always disliked having a light shone in my face all day, which is exactly what a monitor amounts to. It creates the light used for display; on the other hand a sheet of paper just reflects ambient light and is thus much nicer on the eyes (same overall brightness than ambient, same color temperature, etc). I've been following all this epaper stuff for a long time, the sony ebook reader now sold and other advances in the field. What is still missing from most of those is color.
    • Then turn your brightness and contrast down until it looks more or less like a piece of paper.
      I know it's the "in thing to do" to run your monitor at 100% and at 9300k, but turning it down (way down) will be a lot easier on your eyes.
      It's not like you're playing a dark FPS...
  • First, the target audience (i.e. newspapers) will not use it because this can only be more expensive than ordinary paper. Now, who'd pay willingly double the price for his daily funnies?

    Second, and this is in my opinion the bigger threat, we create the information with a best before date. This is truely data that can retroactively be erased and voided. Here's your blackmail information, read it and act accordingly. 'til you take it to the police, the message is gone. Here's incriminating information, Mr. Bo
  • Is it just me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Briareos ( 21163 )
    ...or is this just yet another solution in search of a problem?
  • by Big Nothing ( 229456 ) <> on Monday November 27, 2006 @06:02AM (#16999468)
    I would certainly use this. 90% of the print-outs I make go straight into the recycle bin, so this paper would be perfect for my use. The real question is: with the additional coating, does this paper decrease the environmental stress, or add to it? The equation would be using this paper (up to) ten times versus using ten regular sheets of paper - witch has the higher cost-benefit?
  • One Word: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cruise_WD ( 410599 )

    I took a quick look around the many bits of paper scattered about my desk, most of which I looked at once and then chucked aside, and thought how useful this would be - until I noticed how many had been stapled together. Sure, you /can/ use paper clips, but my boss doesn't, and I can see a lot of people forgetting.
  • 'Dr. Brown, I brought this note back from the future and now it's erased.'

    'Of course it's erased!'

    'But what does that mean?'

    'Magic self recycling future paper.'

    'Oh. So Marty is still going to get fired in 2015?'


  • Slashdot invented the self-recycling news way before Xerox even dreamed of this one
  • And why would anybody use this paper? It's likely to cost many times more than regular paper, and unlikely to ever be reused-- the slightest curl and it won't feed properly the next time thru most printers. And you're likely to need a separate printer with the special paper and the "special ink". It's going to take many, many years for any "savings" to pay for the cost and inconveniences.

    Not to mention confidentiality issues if there's any chance the old images can be ressurected. it certainly could

  • I would expect that "paper" made with e-ink [] would be much more suitable for the role of "Temporary display of digital information" than specially coated paper - not only is e-paper reusable, but the user can choose when to erase the old "printout".

    I kinda doubt that e-paper will ever replace books but for applications such as the one stated in the OP, it seems ideal.

  • The article says it can be erased and reused within 10 minutes. Everything sounds great, except the part where it automatically and uncontrollably erases itself after a fixed period of time.

    Paper whose ink was permanent until erased would be much more useful.

  • Put enough network jacks (or just WiFi) in the conference room for everyone to connect.
  • The 'paper' could even be combined with electronics to create a flexible display.
    Oh, you mean like this []?
  • Will people have digital displays that will take the place of paper?

    Yeah, they have these things now called "computers"...
  • teacher: so why don't you have you homework, don't tell me your dog ate it?
    student: no madam, it recycled itself
  • I think a big step towards the adoption of such a technology would be to keep the paper so that someone would actually want to use a particular sheet again. If the pieces are going to be as easily creased, ripped or crumpled then I doubt people will want to use someone's already man handled sheet of paper.
  • This was reported back in September. Xerox Reveals Transient Documents [].
  • ...back in the seventies. It was a 3M thermal printer. I got rid of it.
  • A _very_ similar system was described in Ecotopia [], by Ernest Callenbach. This book was published in 1975, and you can tell reading it. The idealism is cloying at times, but there are quite a lot of innovative and imaginative ideas in the novel.

    It is a utopian look at a sustainable, healthier society. I just read it recently, and Callenbach describes printing paper that fades in a day or quicker for printing reuse.
  • While it may be true that paper is often used to hold information that only needs to be available for a finite period of time, the problem with this technology is that lasting only 16 hours is far too soon for too many things. What will happen is people will waste yet MORE paper making photocopies of the stuff on the temporary paper. This would likely even become the norm even for things that _don't_ need to stick around for longer than 16 hours (as people don't necessarily know right away how long they

  • I can just see that some bean counter will decide that an entire company will use this kind of paper... Really, they need to extend the lifespan to be indefinate in order for this to succeed.
  • Train the PHBs and secretaries not to print out every little thing. And if you must print out something for non-archival purposes print it 4-up (2 pages per side, duplex)

    And if it's for an archive, try printing to PDF instead.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell