The latest stab at electronic paper comes out of a Taiwanese tech research organization, and this one’s a doozy.
The i2R is possibly the most like real paper than any other version of e-paper to date. It comes as a flexible and lightweight sheet that uses a thermal printer for writing (yep, just like your parents’ old fax machine). But unlike real paper, it’s also highly rewritable — just hit a switch to instantly erase it, and it’s ready for re-printing (up to 260 times).
What’s unique about the i2R is its fabrication: Unlike clunky patterned electrode-ridden predecessors, i2R is coated with cholestric liquid crystal. This compound, whose structure is actually similar to cholesterol molecules, yields soft, thin and light e-paper that doesn’t require electricity for writing, can produce colors and does not need backlighting. So it works akin to traditional paper, and can produce colors.
There’s a wide range of potential uses for this type of paper — from signage to badges to transportation tickets. And since it’s so highly reusable, it would save some trees and prevent waste.
It costs $2 per A4-sized piece of e-paper, which is still pricier than traditional paper. But maybe by the time they launch for consumers, hopefully within a couple years, they’ll figure out how to bring the cost down even more.
Hit play on the vid to get a closer look.