The problem with most e-paper, as we've come to know it, is that it's not actually anything like paper. Most e-readers like the Amazon Kindle use a glass substrate embedded with complex circuitry to achieve the visual appearance of paper rather than the glow of a computer screen. But a new kind of e-paper under development at the University of Cincinnati could change all that by putting e-ink where it belongs: on e-paper that's actually made out of paper. The breakthrough could finally lead to rollable, flexible, low-cost, and even disposable e-readers.
The e-paper works by using paper, rather than glass or some other rigid substrate, as the host material for an electrowetting device. Electrowetting is a process that employs an electric field to manipulate colored droplets within a display in order to arrange them in a way that reveals content. That content can range from black and white type to, theoretically, high-res color video. The researchers found that the performance of their paper-based elecrowetting device is equivalent to that of glass, which currently sets the bar for performance in the portable e-reader field.
Professor Andrew Steckl and his team envision a device that feels like paper, is rollable like paper, and – like paper – is cheap enough to be disposable. The whole notion is very cool, with myriad applications from next-gen e-readers to advertising.
It's not exactly clear why at this point in time researchers are endeavoring to create really cool electronics that we would throw away after using, but we're all about the low cost aspect. And there will be plenty of time to think about whether we really need disposable e-readers during the three-to-five years it will likely take to get this technology from lab bench to market, hopefully as a rollable – and reusable – alternative to tablet-style reading devices.
Cool idea, but I don't think that they will be able to produce anything cheap enough to be disposable in the near future.
for me the idea of epaper is to rid the world on our dependency on paper. if we use a paper substrate, it will be pointless to use epaper as paper when we can use paper as paper. and disposable electronics cant be good for the environment no more than paper is killing trees to make it.
solution: instead of paper, use silicone polyurethane as a substrate, its flexible enough and isnt disposable.
Yeah, isn't the point of e-readers to have something that's instantly "recyclable"?
You want to use the item to display different text, you just load the next book instead of throwing it away and sending it to the recycling plant.
I think Xerox came out with some paper a few years ago that you could print on, and the ink would fade away in 24hours so then you could print on the same paper again and again.
An e-book reader that one can roll up like a piece of paper around a pen and stick in your shirt/jacket pocket would be cool though...
this could mean interactive menus at restaurants and newspapers that update wherever we go, or like auto updating boarding passes for flights and what not
There was something like this in the Fire Fly sci-fi series. A person was looking over a document and it had a dashed colored line flowing around the paper's edge. I don't recall the episode though.
can anyone remember the ceral box in Minority Report. what about the map in god awful mars movie with Val Kilmer. Way off topic, but you know what I love!!! Mars isn't RED!!! So many tv shows and movies color everything red to be exactly like the photos nasa falsely colored!!! it has been known for years and years that mars is not red at all. It just isn't publicly widely believed, so they still keep painting those rocks red for the mars episodes.
@inaka_rob, I was just thinking about that exact scene from the Minority Report as I read the article. LOL
Don't take life to seriously! You'll never get out of it alive.