At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Las Vegas,Steve Hoover, vice president with Xerox Research Center Webster, shows off a technology being developed in the company's labs that enables people to reuse a piece of paper.
The paper contains a photochromic compound that makes ink disappear when hit by direct heat.Xerox Corporation scientists have invented a way to make prints whose images last only a day, so that the paper can be used again and again. The technology, which is still in a preliminary state, blurs the line between paper documents and digital displays and could ultimately lead to a significant reduction in paper use.
The experimental printing technology, a collaboration between the Xerox Research Centre of Canada and PARC (Palo Alto Research Center Inc.), could someday replace printed pages that are used for just a brief time before being discarded. Xerox estimates that as many as two out of every five pages printed in the office are for what it calls "daily" use, like e-mails, Web pages and reference materials that have been printed for a single viewing.
While potential users have shown interest in transient documents, there is still much to be done if the technology is to be commercialized. "This will remain a research project for some time," said Eric Shrader, PARC area manager, industrial inkjet systems. "Our experiments prove that it can be done, and that is the first step, but not the only one, to developing a system that is commercially viable."
Watch this space!