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Could This Be The Answer to a Paperless Society?

Rewritable e-paper

Paper use on a global scale is enormous.

We have no one to blame but ourselves as many daily transactions still require paperwork despite technological advances towards a paperless society.

In an effort to preserve forests and the environment, Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) have unveiled a promising and cutting edge “rewritable electronic paper”.

The interesting part about this e-paper is that it can retain information written upon it without using electricity and it is designed to replace paper products that only have a limited lifespan such as tickets or daily office papers, thus saving on waste and energy.

This phenomenal project is named ‘i2R e-paper’ and is considered to be a breakthrough in the digital industry.

The flexible liquid crystal panel displays 300 dpi resolution text and images, and these are transferred using heat, just as a traditional fax machine would have produced images or text. The i2R e-paper uses ambient light rather than backlighting as found in most LCD screens.

“I think the greatest breakthrough was that traditional display devices usually require electricity to write, but our technology made it closer to how we would use normal paper. First, it does not require patterned electrodes — it is very light, soft and rewritable. From this perspective, this is a true e-paper. In many cases, such as transportation tickets or ID badges, it will save your from printing the same thing 259 times. In terms of environmental production, this is very meaningful” – said Dr Janglin Chen, general director of ITRI’s Display Technology Centre.

The e-paper can be annoted with water solvent marker pens, similar to a white board, and then washed off after use. When you want to erase the existing content the e-paper is run through a thermal printer erasing the markings that were there. ITRI estimates that the e-paper is re-writtable up to 260 times prior to being replaced. At obsolesence all the materials within the device are recyclable.

The researchers behind the iR2 e-paper envision it to be an ideal replacement for advertising signs, posters, parking tickets or transportation passes that are manufactured every day.


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