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Self-Recycling Paper

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-vote-for-HUDs dept.

Displays 143

fermion writes "Xerox is reported to be working on some interesting forms of digital paper. The New York Times reports a 16 hour reusable paper. This system uses a coated paper and special ink to produce a copy that will fade over 16 hours, or sooner if the paper is put back in the copy tray. It can then be reused for a new copy, up to 10 times. According to the article, the rational for this is that paper is no longer used to store information, but merely to temporarily display it. The research suggest that in the typical office many copies end up in the recycle bin by the end of the day. The main obstacle to commercialization seems to be the question of whether people need this product. Will people have digital displays that will take the place of paper? Will something radically different from plain paper, but with competitive costs and characteristics, become popular? Xerox itself is working on something called gyricon, a system of tiny bichromal beads encased between sheets of plastics. Evidently the beads can be set electrically to either reflect of absorb light, thus allowing images to be generated at will. According to the page, the images can be set by a printer or a hand held wand. The 'paper' could even be combined with electronics to create a flexible display. So, /., where is our display technology headed? Coated conventional paper? Plastic reprintable paper? Glasses with heads up displays and wireless data feed?"

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143 comments

Why? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16998862)

Why would I want to print something out that would fade in less than a day? At best this is a super niche use.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998900)

I print stuff, read it, shred it. Why? Cause I like reading paper. The world does not revolve around you and your personal likes and, unfortunately, it doesn't revolve around mine either.

I print so I can *write* on it (2, Insightful)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999720)

I read on the screen unless I want to scribble all over it.
Then I print it out and make notes, draw arrows, underline, scratch things out, etc. etc. -- it's just faster than doing the same with a mouse.

OR I print things out if I'm taking a flight in an economy seat and don't want to struggle with the laptop in limited space. ...either way, not much use for this paper.

On the other hand, when I was still working in a corporate environment, we'd have lots of meetings where there'd be a printout to refer to during the discussion (and everyone would get a copy). Then after the meeting they'd all get tossed. That seems like a valid application of this technology.

Re:I print so I can *write* on it (1)

arekq (651007) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000344)

but don't the printouts have staples or punch holes on it?
also, don't the printouts have saliva over it by the end of meeting, too? :)

Re:I print so I can *write* on it (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001460)

They might be able to create pens with the same ink as the one the printer woud use. Still, given that paper tends to get folded, stapled and what not, the printer would need a rather impressive paper feeder for this to work.

Re:Why? (1, Funny)

Reikk (534266) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998938)

I need this paper. This would be a really good paper. FOR TO WIPE MY ASS WITH

Re:Why? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999000)

It could never supplant the New York Times or the Washington Post.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999002)

You make photocopies of money, spend photocopied money at Wal-Mart to buy a Playstation 3, sell Playstion 3 on Ebay (profit!), and Wal-Mart sues the Federal Government for disappearing money.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000218)

You make photocopies of money, spend photocopied money at Wal-Mart to buy a Playstation 3, sell Playstion 3 on Ebay (profit!), and Wal-Mart sues the Federal Government for disappearing money.
...and you get paid with dissapearing cash, money order, cheque, paypal money. :)
yeah, right.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000682)

There was a white-collar gang that was caught some years ago that did something similar. They cashed lots of bad checks that were chemically treated to break down some time later, leaving no obvious evidence that said check ever existed. The way they got caught was because the treated checks began to dissolve other people's checks that were next to them. They still managed to get away with a lot of money before they got nailed. I've since wondered if anyone has repeated that particular gig more successfully ... not that we'd ever hear about it.

Re:Why? (1)

Don853 (978535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001580)

I heard a similar story about a guy who would write himself checks for amounts like "Seven thousand one hundred dollars" with the "seven thousand" in disappearing ink. He'd cash them right before close of business on Friday, so he'd be credited $7100 that day, but by Monday, his other account was only debited $100.

Re:Why? (1)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999056)

I am a mathematician. I do a lot of "test writing" while working on something. After a while, unless that something I wrote turns out meaningful, I don't need it anymore. I don't have a blackboard or anything similar at home, so I have to use paper. I could spare a lot of paper by using this kind of stuff. The only problem would be that sometimes I need it for more than 16 hours.

That's just it (3, Interesting)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999096)

I work on the data in a number of reports and frequently print the works in copy while i tweak the calculations or formatting.

99% of the time they are in the recycle bin within the hour, but sometimes i'll have a particular issue that means i need the printout for a week or more.

The other big plus to paper is that i can annotate things that might be hard on screen. I imagine if i make pencil scribblings on it it'll be useless for recycling.

In the corporate world many things are printed and never read. I had a tech lead years ago that swore he put a photocopied page from a russian engineering textbook in every large report he ever submitted to management - never got asked about it.

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999336)

In case you've never considered it, white boards are available pretty cheaply and are convenient for that (I bought one when I was taking several math classes and starting to feel bad about how much paper was wasted to false starts of problems). Chalkboard paint to make a wall into a chalkboard would also be workable.

Re:Why? (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000322)

I work in a news room where the anchors print all their scripts, then toss them after the 30-60 minute show. There is so much paper that is used each day and not to mention how often the toner is replaced each week. This would be good, but it would require people taking care of the paper long enough to put it back into the copier.

Re:Why? (1)

morie (227571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000686)

Each print in our office comes with a cover stating who printed it and when. It protects the first page from prying eyes and is used to sort the prints in the print/copyroom.

This first page could come out of a tray of reusable paper. They go in the bin right away now.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it... (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998864)

"This message will recycle in 5 seconds."

Teacher (4, Funny)

killa62 (828317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999380)

This goddamn piece of paper self-recycled.
I did my homework.
I swear!

One area of tech where porn won't be leading (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16998868)

the charge, because who wants to look at "reused" porn....

Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998874)

The reusable paper, I could see being used a lot by businesses - but the problem is one of coexistance with other paper. If you have reusable paper, do you have no real paper? That seems impractical. Or, do you seperate the two and perhaps have reusable paper get mixed up with real paper and tossed? What happens if you forget what you have and take notes that end up on someone else's copy later?

There are indeed many items throughout the day that people need to temporarily display in a dense format, to which paper is ideally suited. But i think electronic paper fed data from the table it sits on or by some other means is probably better suited to this task, since it's truly reusable and probably not something you'd confuse with real paper.

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (2, Informative)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998906)

Nothing new about reusable paper. In the middle ages, Monks would take priceless copies of the works of Archemedes, scrubbed them clean then bleach, cut to quarto and fold sideways, so a copy of the far more important records of the bowel movements of St Cuthbert could be imortalized for all times. The resultant volumes is called a "Palmiset"

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (3, Informative)

uhlume (597871) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999114)

That anything like a "palimpsest"?

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001190)

Thanks. I knew the word, and even googled several varriants but took a chance on the phonetics. Incunabula does inculde some seldom used, funny words

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999218)

dude, you have any idea how much an illuminated manuscript on the bowel movements of St. Cuthbert would be worth? "Priceless" could describe the first historiated initial, let alone the rest of it.

Besides, the Archimedes manuscript was redone in Constantinople, where they couldn't give a rat's ass about St. Cuthbert.

Oh yeah, and all you do is scrape the manuscript. The palimpsest ink stays deeper in -- and why? Because it's not paper, but parchment.

Come to think of it, this whole post strikes me as a troll, down to the specious Latinity of the signature.

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000908)

Nothing new about reusable paper. In the middle ages, Monks would take priceless copies of the works of Archemedes, scrubbed them clean then bleach, cut to quarto and fold sideways,

Except they didn't use paper, they used parchment which was made from animal skins (and thus much more expensive and durable).

-b.

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (3, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999008)

The problem I see is that it's hard to know for certain how long you will need that printout for. Perhaps in the morning you figure you'll get to that printout in the next couple of hours, but it's a busy day and it sits on your desk all day long. The next morning you decide to take a look at it, but the paper has already recycled itself.


It would make more sense to allow the user to decide when the paper needs to be recycled. Create some sort of "de-printer" or "un-printer" that would zap the ink with UV and make it invisible, or something.

Also raises some corporate security issues. A lot of paper currently ends up in the shredder. If the recycled paper preserves minute but detectable traces of what was written before, it may be that it will have to end up in the shredder anyhow.

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (2, Interesting)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999278)

This is why I see the bead-type paper become mainstream one day, and this idea going nowhere. Reusable paper's all well and good, but its the user who needs to be able to dictate when the paper is no longer useful, and ready for recycling. That, combined with the fact that if paper's to be reusable, it needs far more life than 10 uses. After 10 uses, it's the same as our current situation, and it needs disposing of. Proper electronic paper, I would hope and imagine, would last longer than 10 'prints'

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (2)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000926)

Or, do you seperate the two and perhaps have reusable paper get mixed up with real paper and tossed?

Two printers. One for reusable paper. One for normal paper. Reusable paper should be marked with something like a red stripe across the top so that everyone in the know will know it'll fade after a day.

-b.

Re:Reusable paper good idea but only in volume (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001858)

That's an easy problem to work around. The reusable paper could, for example, have a colored border printed around the front. Or the paper itself could be a particular color to make it stand out.

Another Angle (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998884)

Though TFA is mostly referencing business applications, I can't help but think this would be even more helpful in places like Antarctica and space, where you simply don't have the room or resources to bring in several tons of office supplies.

Re:Another Angle (1)

gordonwallace (1026508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998908)

I would think one area in which this would be really helpful would be in the military/government branches. If they wanted to print out a secret report or something and not have it fall into the wrong hands it would be beneficial to have it disappear in a certain time frame. Though I've been rewatching the xfiles series so maybe I'm not being realistic

E-paper will fill the niche (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000292)

once it's affordable, I can't even see this stuff competing - and it'll probably be expensive compare to the actual practicality. Instead of mass copies, people will send and recieve wirelessly to each other's readers. Well, that's how I think it will be in 10 years, maybe 20.

The only problem epaper will have is if the writing utility on it has a god awful implementation - though that will vary by reader.

Re:Another Angle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001176)

why don't we re-design our paradym thinking of what 'office supplies' are and live without the need to cut down trees for paper. argument becomes quite simple at that point.

redundant (4, Informative)

slidersv (972720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998892)

This was posted @ /. almost two month ago.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/ 07/2243222 [slashdot.org]

Come on... just search for "xerox"...

Re:redundant (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999050)

Of course it was, but it faded.

Re:redundant (0, Redundant)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999084)

i guess /. is doing a little recycling as well

How long will I need to keep this for... (1)

alunharford (810146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998894)

The real problem with this idea is that I usually don't know how long I'm going to keep what I've written until long after I've written it. Since plain paper is cheap, I'm not going to want to risk using 'temp-paper', in case I forget about it and have to come back to it the next day.

Re:How long will I need to keep this for... (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999086)

Definitely. It would be a lot more useful if it were available with various (mostly longer) times of decay. If you're not absolutely sure that you won't need the sheets tomorrow, you're not going to use this paper, but if it lasted say, a week or a month, it might be more useful because it would be easier to be sure you wouldn't need it after it expires.

Re:How long will I need to keep this for... (1)

alunharford (810146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999200)

But if you have a longer delay, you have to keep the paper around for ages before you can use it again. That's not good either.

What's 'needed' (Personally I don't see what's wrong with paper, but I'll ignore that) is a product that is 'stable' until you erase what's on it by passing it over a special device.

Neat idea. (3, Interesting)

Somatic (888514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998904)

A neat idea that will never, ever, ever get used in a million years by any office that I know of.

I appreciate the sentiment, but business is about getting business done. The first time work was lost because someone left the memo on their desk for more than xxx hours would be the end of the system. I can imagine some cruel managers getting a kick out of it, but that's about it.

The "paperless office" was a 100x better idea than this (and an idea that's not entirely dead, either. I telecommute, and my office is 99.9% paperless).

Re:Neat idea. (5, Insightful)

revolu7ion (994315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998952)

Have you ever spoken to a photocopier technician?
I used to work in a library - and had to deal with the photocopier and lazer printer issues. You can't stick any old pieces of paper in those puppies - it destroys the printer, makes it jam etc. The reams have to be preferrably kept inside their box till used. Don't open half a packet and leave it there -moisture gets in and makes the paper jam more, drum life decreases - print quality decreases etc...
I'm pictring some secretary jamming creased, folded, curled and otherwise munted pieces of 'recycling paper' into the tray of the work copier... Jim from xerox would probably faint

Re:Neat idea. (1)

Somatic (888514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999026)

I think what you're saying is that this would be easier than paper because it would avoid all the jamming and stuff, right?

I don't know, I'm not a Xerox tech. What I can tell you is that it would bring with it a host of new problems, like any new technology. The question is, are all these new problems worth it? My bet is no. I'm not a business wiz, but I know what I would think, and what my managers would think: "We know how to deal with paper jams, ink shortages, and people occaisionally sticking their penis in the copy machine. But are we willing to buy a new system, using paper that degrades after 10 uses, and only lasts 16 hours, and hiring/training/paying for support to make sure it works, and changing the office practices around it?"

I'm thinking no. They would not go for that, and neither would I.

I'm all for a greener world and workplace-- in fact, I work at a company whose business is eco-friendliness. But this, this just won't fly.

Re:Neat idea. (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999104)

I agree. The problem that comes to mind first is wear on the paper. If you're reusing the paper it's more likely that you're going to be putting in sheets with folds or slight crumples or whatever and that will easily increase printer/copier jams.

Re:Neat idea. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999760)

My bet is no. I'm not a business wiz, but I know what I would think, and what my managers would think: "We know how to deal with paper jams, ink shortages, and people occaisionally sticking their penis in the copy machine.

The wang is not the worst abuse you can inflict on your copy machine. Try your hairy ass [funnyclipcentral.com] instead!

Re:Neat idea. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999488)

What a zimulating comment.

Re:Neat idea. (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999744)

The reams have to be preferrably kept inside their box till used. Don't open half a packet and leave it there -moisture gets in and makes the paper jam more, drum life decreases - print quality decreases etc...


This is all nice for a company that has a large printer, yet I have still to find one printer for the homeuser that can hold a ream at one time. Now each time I have to guess how much paper I can put in there.

Also I would like one where the ream is actualy inside the printer and not habging out halfway, colecting dust.

I asume the reason is that this way offices won't buy the cheaper home-printer, but opt for the more expensive ones.

Re:Neat idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001842)

I'm a Xerox tech. The printers I work with can handle a wide variety of paper types and these machines are tested in high/low moisture conditions to ensure they will print fine. Using half ream, then loading another ream is perfectly fine these days. Unless you buy one of those crappy $1000 laser printers then expect loads of problems.

However, you can easily destroy a printer by putting wrong thickness paper in it, or the wrong type of transparency. These are very common problems, and are user-errors, not machine errors. Paper that is too thick can damage the fuser, and transparencies can actually melt, rendering the fuser useless. If the machine is set for thin paper but thick paper goes through, it can have problems as well.

Re:Neat idea. (0, Offtopic)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999120)

The first time work was lost because someone left the memo on their desk for more than xxx hours would be the end of the system.


Hopefully, DRM on office documents will go the same way

Re:Neat idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999888)

I appreciate the sentiment, but business is about getting business done. The first time work was lost because someone left the memo on their desk for more than xxx hours would be the end of the system. I can imagine some cruel managers getting a kick out of it, but that's about it.
Most smart people do smart things. I dont see how the time limit being exceeded is the end of the system. I think it's just the end of people putting something important on a piece of paper that expires, when it might need to be there for longer.

I could see this used in an IT office, especially if the ink is re-usable :).
I print so much , and next day I throw it away. This is the case with many places.
Before a meeting you need your notes... well, use this paper.
And not everyone feels the need to go paperless. If youre a tree-hugger, then I am sorry.

Xerox will probably allow you to choose permanent or temporary paper.
They might make it in user friendly so that you dont end up making mistakes.

Ofcourse, this is usefull to store 256gig of your porn dvd's for temporary measures.

The Paperless office (1)

ab762 (138582) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000612)

is no more comfortable than the paperless bathroom!

(not original with me, but still true.)

Hurdles to overcome (4, Insightful)

shirai (42309) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998912)

This is an interesting concept but I see it having a major shortcoming:

You are now forced to make a decision before you print on whether the output should be temporary or permanent. Sometimes I will print something thinking it's temporary but I decide I need it longer. Or imagine the potential disaster of writing notes on the printout "in context" and that context disappears after 16 hours. Stuff like "ask Mary about this part" or "copy editing" marks.

I applaud the idea of paper recycling like this but couldn't see myself using it.

I think it has a few other issues too:

1. Needing two printers to print

2. Possibly not being able to distinguish between the two types of paper (assuming they look similar)

3. Having to print twice if you decide that you want a permanent copy

4. Cost(?)

Re:Hurdles to overcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999354)

I converted this list, to a Slashdot friendly format.

1. Make companies need more than one printer

2. Make differentiable paper twice as expensive (ie Pinkish paper)

3. Make a special converter unit to convert a temp copy to real copy (ie photocopy++)

4. Profit!!!

Easy, not even a ??? needed.

Re:Hurdles to overcome (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999524)

Plus, the main reason I print a draft copy of something is to have a copy to write on and do mark-up. This won't go far if people have to use special pens - it's harder to get someone switch their pen than it is to switch their religion or stapler.

DRM for books? (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998916)

This could make DRM for books feasible. You buy a book, and a week or so later, it fades away.

Its usefulness seems rather limited though...

Re:DRM for books? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999018)

They tried that with O.J. Simpson's new book. Worked a bit too well since it disappeared really fast from the market.

Re:DRM for books? (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999128)

You mean Analog Rights Management. That is, unless they're making books now that are just printed binary data for a PDF file of the book, in which case that seems like a lot of binary data to type within 16 hours.

Re:DRM for books? (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999162)

Well, there is the guy who claims to be able to store 256 GiB on an A4 sheet of paper.

Re:DRM for books? (1)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999874)

Well, there is the guy who claims to be able to store 256 GiB on an A4 sheet of paper.


All things are possible with Write Only Memory.

Should consult the Russian space agency (4, Funny)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998918)

They will give some tips on using pencil and eraser as a low cost alternative

Spelling Nazi (3, Informative)

irishstallion (1008667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998922)

"According to the article, the rational for this is that paper is no longer used to store information, but merely to temporarily display it."
The word you are looking for is rationale. You are welcome.

Re:Spelling Nazi (1)

Somatic (888514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998950)

Also, "suggests".

The rational? (1)

kbolino (920292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998928)

I think the word intended was rationale.

paper jams (3, Insightful)

fowlerserpent (690409) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998936)

Seems like there would have to be a whole paper etiquette developed for this to work. Like paper clips only, no staple. No folding. No crumpling. Careful with the corners. If you don't, the paper will jam the printer.

It could work, though. For example, your department or team has a meeting. Different folks pass out relevant information. Immediately before or after the meeting they may also send .pdfs of the documents to everyone who attended the meeting. At the end of the meeting everyone can return the paper documents so the paper doesn't get bent out of shape.

Then again, if you're going to go to the trouble of sending everyone electronic versions of the documents, why not give everyone tablet pc's and forget about the paper altogether?

Technology is sometimes amazing... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16998970)

and other times simply in the way of other good ideas, even better ideas.
I often use the dual head display so that I can see something temporarily... a place where re-usable paper technology might be useful. Many of the printed reports I've seen in meetings would be well placed on this type of paper technology... as most of the copies end up in the trash anyway.

There are a few places that such technology would be good, check books are not one of them. I think that once technology such as e-books and the like is an accepted thing by society in general, then this type of thing will take off. The Palm Pilot and tablet pc systems were a good idea too... though not too many people want the restrictions that come with them.

When we have a PC that really does work as simply as writing on a piece of real paper, then the technology will take off. Hats off to Xerox though for working to stay relevant and profitable. Any paper replacement technology will have to be more functional though. Imagine taking your e-book or roll-up tablet pc to the news stand and downloading a copy of the day's paper? Or downloading a copy of the presentation while actually sitting in the meeting.

Then again, what good is all that technology if you can simply use a tablet PC? The technology that replaces paper has to be very cost effective since paper is a throw away product. I don't think that 10 uses is really enough to make this worth while.

Besides, if you are using some new, ultra thin tablet pc, you can save the documents to your hard drive on your desktop if needed/desired. People print things to read them later, or read them where having a pc is just not practical. That usually requires that the ink last for more than a day. If you are printing stuff to look at for a few minutes or perhaps hours, its possible that you shouldn't be printing it in the first place, but that sort of thinking is not what will make Xerox more wealthy... they need to sell paper and paper handling equipment. The digital camera has all but killed off the film camera industry. I don't think that its the paper that needs to change, but the way that we handle data that is normally printed.

When Xerox comes up with a tablet pc that works like having a paper notebook and pen, then they will sell tons. Imagine it being like the size of a notepad, functions like pen and paper, and downloads or uploads using bluetooth or other WPAN. That would kill much of the market for this paper technology... maybe, if you could convince people to use it.

Hope Xerox Patents this Idea... (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999004)

Seriously, I like Xerox and I hope they don't shoot themselves in the foot again (like they did with the GUI and the Mouse).

Danger (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999012)

As long as this is not used for the papery 250Gb storage medium!

But seriously, I think this is a great idea, but I think the information should not fade or be erased over time, but rather the paper should be manually erased when needed.

THis would allow people to put paper in the 'to be erased' tray and grab a 'new' sheet when they need paper for temporary use.

Re:Danger (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000978)

but rather the paper should be manually erased when needed.

Maybe develop ink that fades when exposed to UV or infrared of a certain spectrum...

-b.

paper phishing (3, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999016)

I just hope they make some kind of sign or something on those papers to be easily recognizable, since I think nobody would want to sign some contract papers the text of which later will fade away leaving your signature on a blank paper.
 

Re:paper phishing (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999382)

I have a feeling that the ink wouldn't totally go away (otherwise why is there a 10 print limit?) I think using this for fishing would be a quick way of going to gaol for fraud.

Re:paper phishing (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001136)

The limit is there since probably the ink doesn't go away, it just becomes transparent, so after many uses the paper will get thicker and harder. IMHO.

must put that ink in pens, markers too (1)

zome (546331) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999030)

Sometimes I prefer to read a very complicated emails off papers. However, the reason I printed them was that I also like to write and mark on them too.

Re:must put that ink in pens, markers too (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999156)

Absolutely, I do that as well, but more often now I'll just take an image of whatever it is I'm looking at (if it's text, I'll take a screenshot of it) and bring it into Photoshop and then mark it up using my tablet. It's about as easy as marking up a printed copy, but I doubt I would bother if I actually had a printer hooked up to my desktop.

Don't Announce it, Sell it. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999062)

Boy am I sick of vapourware press releases on e-paper, e-ink, whatever else they wanna call it.

They been talking about this for decades now.

Put the product in the stores or shut the hell up already.

There are *some* e-ink products around... (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999334)

FWIW, I believe Sony has an "e-ink" based product on the market, it's some sort of uber-expensive ebook reader. I'm fairly certain it's going to be a flop, but it's not a bad demonstration of the technology. I think it's called the Libre in Japan and the Sony Reader in the U.S. (As usual, it's supposed to use some ridiculously draconian DRM if you use it according to Sony's plan.)

Here's a WP article with photo:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Reader [wikipedia.org]

It uses some form of e-ink passive display that involves "microcapsules" filled with dye particles. Frankly the whole thing sounds suspiciously like an electronic etch-a-sketch.

Re:There are *some* e-ink products around... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999356)

Yeah, I've seen that. It's neat, and the display may be a little easier on the eyes (the main reason people print things out to read them) but so long as the paper is stuck between a hunk of plastic you might as well be reading off a PDA.

The Reader can also play mp3 files.

There's the canary in the mine. What idiots.

I've found the killer application (1, Redundant)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999070)

This would be perfect for counterfeiters! Print up some fake bills on these sheets, spend them, and if you get caught, the evidence has destroyed itself -- all they have is bill-sized scraps of blank paper!

Complements document retention policies (1)

crucini (98210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999072)

After Microsoft's emails emerged in their trial, a lot of companies started emphasizing document retention policies. Meaning, of course, document destruction policies. These can probably minimize the embarassing electronic documents, but what about paper?

To take an example nearer the geek's heart, look at IBM producing documents for SCO. I think SCO demanded not only every electronic version of source code, but every printout.

CEOs would probably be very happy to know that all paper in their company is the fading kind, so document retention is purely an electronic issue.

Nope. We need more permanent paper because... (3, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999358)

Nope. After Enron, the SOX-B puts special responsibility on CTO and CEO for retention. They are criminally liable if they are found to have destroyed the paper/e-paper copies, even if the paper itself is innocent.

At my bank, we store ALL papers in HUGE IronMan boxes and cart them off to offsite storage.
Every cubicle and every office now has notices (in addition to OSHA, money laundering, etc) that warn of dire consequences if we scrub/scrap documents without making sure we don't need them.

I have stopped shredding even 2 years old design papers which contain paper scribblings of long-scrapped or long-finished systems.
They are either in my desk drawers (wonder why the desk is creaking...) or submitted for arhival.
Same goes for email.

We have only soft deletes nowadays on emails and nothing is ever deleted. It is just archived.

This disappearing ink will cause more headaches for people and whet the appetites of lawyers.
I can see a scenario in court:
Defendant: "Honestly your honor, i did NOT know it was that disappearing ink paper. I had written out my idea of reconstructing by buying out xyz bank's share in Acme before we ended up with a different deal."
Lawyer: "Not only did the defendant know this was special paper, she was the one who authorized the purchase of the same 4 years ago, knowing well it looked similar to normal paper, with the delibrate intention of using technology to wipe out criminal actions."

I don't think it will ever succeed beyond a fancy circle...

Xerox thought people would use less paper once emails came into vogue. Our usage of paper has shot up by more than 5 times ever since email and PC's came into being. Now we print out emails, powerpoint slides, reports that are never read, etc.

 

How old is the Xerox page? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999092)

That Xerox page has photos taken with a 10-year-old digital camera [dpreview.com] ! Other photos on the page were taken with a Kodak camera from a generation after that [dpreview.com] , but still not from this millenium.

My guess is this is just some research project from ages ago that never went anywhere. If they developed it that long ago, wouldn't it have become a product that we'd have heard of by now?

dom

Ain't gonna work - (1)

Geminii (954348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999204)

- for anything with people in the loop. Who is going to invest the time and effort to return a sheet of paper to a central location as opposed to just scrunching and binning it? About the only applications I can see it being useful for are high-security transactions where you want to make sure any evidence self-destructs after a certain time, or a kind of continuously updating scrolling sheet of paper. In which case, a superflat, nonmoving screen would probably be brighter, clearer and more reliable anyway. Same with noticeboards. "The paper notices auto-update daily!" Yeah, but a screen can update in milliseconds, and the ZBD tech ones only consume power when updating anyway. It'd be nice if it was more like whiteboard technology - draw on a sheet of paper and when have it wirelessly upload to / download from an image database without needing a scanner or printer. E-books with fifty pages, a thousand volumes in memory, and forward/back piezoelectric keys. Art books where you could draw and draw and reload and draw over and split into virtual layers and upload and download and it would still have the texture and depth of paper. With auto-save so that if the cat eats your favorite drawing you can download it wirelessly to another piece of paper without needing expensive printer inks. But auto-fade paper? Just doesn't grab me.

Passive screen (2, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999316)

I've always disliked having a light shone in my face all day, which is exactly what a monitor amounts to. It creates the light used for display; on the other hand a sheet of paper just reflects ambient light and is thus much nicer on the eyes (same overall brightness than ambient, same color temperature, etc). I've been following all this epaper stuff for a long time, the sony ebook reader now sold and other advances in the field. What is still missing from most of those is color.

Re:Passive screen (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999978)

Then turn your brightness and contrast down until it looks more or less like a piece of paper.
I know it's the "in thing to do" to run your monitor at 100% and at 9300k, but turning it down (way down) will be a lot easier on your eyes.
It's not like you're playing a dark FPS...

2 huge problems (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999368)

First, the target audience (i.e. newspapers) will not use it because this can only be more expensive than ordinary paper. Now, who'd pay willingly double the price for his daily funnies?

Second, and this is in my opinion the bigger threat, we create the information with a best before date. This is truely data that can retroactively be erased and voided. Here's your blackmail information, read it and act accordingly. 'til you take it to the police, the message is gone. Here's incriminating information, Mr. Boss, but don't worry, even if it's leaked, nobody can prove a thing.

I dunno if I should really celebrate.

Is it just me... (2, Insightful)

Briareos (21163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999396)

...or is this just yet another solution in search of a problem?

I certainly would use this (2, Interesting)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999468)

I would certainly use this. 90% of the print-outs I make go straight into the recycle bin, so this paper would be perfect for my use. The real question is: with the additional coating, does this paper decrease the environmental stress, or add to it? The equation would be using this paper (up to) ten times versus using ten regular sheets of paper - witch has the higher cost-benefit?

One Word: (2, Interesting)

Cruise_WD (410599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999830)

Staples

I took a quick look around the many bits of paper scattered about my desk, most of which I looked at once and then chucked aside, and thought how useful this would be - until I noticed how many had been stapled together. Sure, you /can/ use paper clips, but my boss doesn't, and I can see a lot of people forgetting.

Uh-oh (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999838)

'Dr. Brown, I brought this note back from the future and now it's erased.'

'Of course it's erased!'

'But what does that mean?'

'Magic self recycling future paper.'

'Oh. So Marty is still going to get fired in 2015?'

'Yep!'

Old news (1)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999932)

Slashdot invented the self-recycling news way before Xerox even dreamed of this one

Unlikely to fly (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000104)

And why would anybody use this paper? It's likely to cost many times more than regular paper, and unlikely to ever be reused-- the slightest curl and it won't feed properly the next time thru most printers. And you're likely to need a separate printer with the special paper and the "special ink". It's going to take many, many years for any "savings" to pay for the cost and inconveniences.

Not to mention confidentiality issues if there's any chance the old images can be ressurected. it certainly couldnt be used in most businesses, legal, govt, or medical practices.

E-ink (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000114)

I would expect that "paper" made with e-ink [eink.com] would be much more suitable for the role of "Temporary display of digital information" than specially coated paper - not only is e-paper reusable, but the user can choose when to erase the old "printout".

I kinda doubt that e-paper will ever replace books but for applications such as the one stated in the OP, it seems ideal.

Xerox (1)

nukeade (583009) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000172)

Xerox has now solved a problem that never existed:

-Paper is sufficiently cheap that the purchase of it is all but negligible.

-Paper is made from trees grown for the explicit purpose of making paper, and on the timescale on which things biodegrade is one of the first things to return safely to its original state.

Other than to explore possible secondary applications, such as high-security documents and in the case of the plastic paper the possibility of printing a video on it, this doesn't seem particularly lucrative to me. My guess is that Xerox's goal with this technology is simply to make any first users of this technology pick up part of the bill for its R&D budget.

~Ben

Re:Xerox (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000214)

-Paper is made from trees grown for the explicit purpose of making paper, and on the timescale on which things biodegrade is one of the first things to return safely to its original state.

And paper is such a clean industry too. [rfu.org]

DRM :-( (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000220)

I can imagine the publishing industry using this to only sell you a temporary license to a newspaper, magazine or book. :-(

Not my kind of reusable paper (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000228)

The article says it can be erased and reused within 10 minutes. Everything sounds great, except the part where it automatically and uncontrollably erases itself after a fixed period of time.

Paper whose ink was permanent until erased would be much more useful.

what about the chemicals used? (1)

torrija (993870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000244)

I think the main purpose for this kind of paper is to be more environment friendly, maybe by reducing the number of trees you cut down. But if the process of making this paper uses more toxic chemicals, the situation could be worse. Paper mills are not the cleanest industries.

Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000468)

This seems like exactly the kind of thing where someone will find someway to retrieve faded data. Most likely with the noblest of intentions, like recovering data.

For that reason, I can see no Information Security Department letting this technology though the front door.

Some companies won't even let you reuse paper by printing on the back of used sheets. The one I'm in currently has been systematically removing printers from areas they consider an information risk.

Self-recycling Toilet Paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000538)

I can't wait until they develop self-recycling toilet paper.

I have a better idea (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001272)

Put enough network jacks (or just WiFi) in the conference room for everyone to connect.

Flexible display? What? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001570)

The 'paper' could even be combined with electronics to create a flexible display.
Oh, you mean like this [eink.com] ?

Digital paper (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001720)

Will people have digital displays that will take the place of paper?

Yeah, they have these things now called "computers"...
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