Electronic Erasable Paper - Xerox Seeks E-Palimpsest

Electronic reusable paper could reduce waste; as many as 40% of paper copies in offices are used for only a single day. Xerox is still looking for the perfect palimpsest, which is the word scholars use to describe a piece of writing material that has been erased and used again. The word "palimpsest" comes from two Greek root words meaning "scraped again."


(Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus palimpsest [5th Cent. Greek] close-up)

The Romans (experienced managers that they were) actually came up with tablets that could be reused. They were made of wood, and covered with wax. Writing was done with a pointed instrument; a straight-edged instrument was used in a razor-like fashion to re-smooth the surface for another use. We get the expression "clean slate" from the Latin tabula rasa, although as you can see above, traces remain of earlier writing.


(Wood Waxed Tablet)

Xerox PARC has already come up with one product that fits the bill (and is somewhat more technologically advanced): Gyricon, which uses a thin layer of transparent plastic composed of small beads.


(Modern E-Palimpsest)

The beads have a light side and a dark side; when a voltage is applied to the bichromal beads at particular places on the sheet, the beads rotate to create an image.


(Gyricon bichromal bead close-up)

The Sony Reader was introduced earlier this year; it uses this technology in a continuously-refreshable form as an electronic book.

Science fiction writers are trying to encourage the process: in his 2003 novel Darwin's Children, Greg Bear gives a pretty good idea of how erasable paper might be used to create a more secure communication:

He removed the e-sheet from the attaché case and folded the red corner to activate. A keypad appeared in the lower half. He entered the code of the day and read his briefing from the emergency action special reconnaissance office.
(Read more about e-sheets)

Read Xerox Seeks Erasable Form of Paper for Copiers; via /.; check out the Sony reader with e-paper screen. Tired of waiting for the perfect E-Palimpsest? Try making your own waxed tablet with instructions by Randy Asplund, sf and fantasy illustrator.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/27/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Media ")

'Facetime Facelift' Beautifies Video Chats
Always look your best - on Facetime.

Meeting Wendy Of Wendy's
Wendy of Wendys meet Rondald of McDonald's.

Narrative Science And Phil Dick's Homeostatic Newspaper
'The structure... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times.'

BookTrack Adds Sound To Books
I really don't think this is a very good idea. Readers?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'

Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'

Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?

Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'

InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'

Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.