Next Big Thing – erasable e-paper

The good old fashioned concept of pencil and rubber gets a hi-tech offspring

E-paper, that's the stuff inside ebooks right?

Not quite.The i2R e-paper, developed in Taiwan, is made to be used in the real world – for things like shop signs and train tickets.

What's the 'e' for then?

You won't find any analogue ink and mashed up wood here. Different colours are printed onto a plastic film using liquid crystals and a fax-machine style thermal printer. When you want to wipe the e-paper's contents, just slot it back through the machine and it's good as new.

That will make the tree-huggers happy.

It's a start – the erasing and re-using won't last forever but one sheet of e-paper should last 260 different prints.

That's 259 better than one.

You're getting it. E-paper is more expensive than the usual white stuff, sitting at $2 to produce one sheet for now, but researchers reckon that we won't be able to move for erasable paper in two years' time.

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