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

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

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.