Disappearing Ink On Self-Blanking Paper

Self-blanking paper with complementary disappearing ink is the latest idea from those merry researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The basic invention consists of a special printer with unique ink that you could use to print a copy of your latest document; however, 16-24 hours later, the paper would again be re-usably blank.

The paper is coated with photosensitive chemicals that turn dark when hit with UV light. If you're in a hurry, you can just use paper with printing that has not yet faded; the printer will "blank" the paper, and then print on it.

I'd like to direct your attention to one of the most remarkable photographs it has ever been my pleasure to present on technovelgy.com.


(Self-Blanking Paper upon which Disappearing Ink had been printed)

This is not just a blank sheet of paper; it is a blanked sheet of paper. About eight hours ago, it said "Reusable Paper. Xerox Parc Inside Innovation at Xerox" in block purple letters.

The thing that really fascinates me about this printer is the question of what you are going to print out with it. I know that most of us who blog will never craft words for the ages - but words for only sixteen hours? Printing on this paper is like announcing "this information will no longer be relevant tomorrow."

I think it would be helpful to have a version of this printer that has a dial that would let you choose how long the print lasted. An hour, a day, a month - you pick.

It seems to me that, once you've been able to have adjustable self-blanking, you now have the perfect print analogy to digital rights management schemes that have been implemented with digital content. When you buy a sealed book, you may only have one day to finish reading it after you open the cover. After that, it's a pad of paper.

For this technology to be truly mindblowing, it should be available on a traditional manual typewriter. You spend a few hours typing up your latest idea, poem, or section of a novel. When you come back the next day, everything is comfortably blank. It sounds like a great punishment for old-style Soviet dissidents in a gulag.

I can't decide whether or not this is an exceptionally phildickian idea or perhaps an Orwellian idea. Readers are invited to contribute sfnal sources.

Via New way to save energy: Disappearing ink; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/29/2008)

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