Monday, May 5, 2008

Disappearing Ink

I don't know about you, but these days I tend to print out very little content. I consume the vast majority of it on computer screens.

However, that's not because I prefer to read from a screen; it's related more to the ephemeral value of such printouts. It just seems so damned wasteful to print something, only to throw it into the recycling bin within a short period.

So, I was interested to read this article over at the Times Online.

It talks about new printer technology being developed by Xerox PARC (the research establishment that brought us many innovations, like the mouse and windowed environments).

As opposed to using plain paper to which toner particles are attracted, or onto which ink is sprayed, it utilises paper that is coated with photo-sensitive particles.

Basically, the way it works is that the printer causes these particles to change colour, hence producing a readable printout. The particles, when exposed to light, revert to their clear state over the course of a couple of days.

At that point, the paper can be directly reused, rather than going through a complex industrial process to effect the recycling. Further, if the content becomes redundant prior to the normal regeneration interval, the paper can be cleared on demand as part of the printing process.

All up, this sounds like something I would find very useful, indeed!

No comments: