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Skip. On this page you will find rantings on reusable paper.

It's time to introduce a new paradigm to the world, especially of computing, business and education.
We have fully dynamic energy requiring displays (current monitors).
We have fully static energy reflecting displays (paper etc.).
Lets mix the two to make semi-dynamic (like some old monitors that only refresh when the image changes) energy reflecting (like paper) displays and produce a reusable equivalent to paper.
Applications for this new product will include for example anywhere that A3/4/5 paper is printed or written on, used for a limited amount of time and then discarded, temporary notes, perhaps newspapers and magazines and others. Official documents (cheques, contracts and others), art and documents on custom sized paper would not be appropriate for this new medium; these would have to remain on paper. This new product would not, therefore, replace paper, but rather reduce its production & consumption considerably. The new material would have to be flexible to allow its reuse multiple times. Eventually I envisage that "books" with pages made of this material could simply be plugged into a computer or other storage device and a whole publication be downloaded into the "book". Of the engineering & production of this product I, being a student of the life sciences, know naught. As such I tend to look to biology for inspiration and the process by which many chameleon and some fish camouflage themselves seems to me to be applicable to this product. Their skins contain small cells, containing pigments, which are spread across the cell during colouration and concentrated in the centre when the cell is not pigmented. How this design could be translated into the inorganic domain eludes me, however. I have been thinking that the devices for transferring the image to the media might use magnetism, electrostatic forces, and or lasers and could be integrated into printers and photocopiers. Also the product could be transparent so as to allow the use of the product in presentations using some form of projector, such as that used in delivering lecture notes to university students. The issue of its recyclability must also be addressed - I feel that its basic precursors should be recoverable from the waste and reused in the manufacture of more of it. Also a method for rejuvenating/repairing old and or damaged samples of the product would be useful and welcomed by consumers. The issue of the changeover from paper printers & photocopiers must also be addressed and it would be desirable that older models could be traded in for new models or a discount on new models and this would also be useful and welcomed by consumers.
I have been thinking about this some more & perhaps if it were possible to produce magnets that could be un/magnetised by electricity and magnetic fields then the "paper" could consist of cells containing magnetic particles that could be attracted to a magnet when the cell is to be un-coloured & released when the cell is to be black. Of course this does not lend itself well to colour "printing".
NB I was originally going to send this to paper, printer & photocopier manufacturers, but chickened out.
UPDATE: It seems that E Ink has already thought of this concept (See this, this & this), but it is not there yet. Hope they can address all the above issues.
Also check out Rolltronics.

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Last modified at 11:18 PM GMT on Tuesday 10 December 2002 httphttphttp