Print 39 comment(s) - last by Wwhat.. on Nov 29 at 12:05 AM

Xerox's temporary paper fades after just a few hours
Temporary paper saves 80% of office waste says researchers at Xerox

This week, research labs at Xerox announced that their scientists have invented a way of printing to paper which only lasts for a day -- as in the paper will fade back to complete white within 24 hours, making them totally reusable. The actual technology is in the paper itself. Scientists said that they were able to create a paper that reacted to certain wavelengths of light, and by using these special wavelengths, images and text were printable on the paper.

The technology was discovered by the Xerox Research Center of Canada (XRCC) in conjunction with researchers from the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Discussions were held on ways to save paper in the environment and rely less on printed material. After talking with customers and clients however, most expressed a need to still have things printed and have something that which they can hold and read. According to the press release:

To develop erasable paper, researchers needed to identify ways to create temporary images. The "a-ha" moment came from developing compounds that change color when they absorb a certain wavelength of light but then will gradually disappear. In its present version, the paper self-erases in about 16-24 hours and can be used multiple times.

Researchers at Xerox say that now they are working on developing the printer that can print to the new type of paper. The paper would be erasable either by naturally letting it fade over time or by using a special light or by exposing it to heat. The paper would be used as temporary documentation and used for things such as meetings where charts are passed out. For more concrete type purposes such as contracts, normal paper would be used.

Xerox says that temporary erasable paper will be part of its ongoing research, which it plans to bring to market within the next few short years. Eric Shrader, manager for PARC indicated that Xerox's research will help save 80% of wasted paper in the office. Shrader said "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."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Just Sign here please.
By SilthDraeth on 11/27/2006 8:54:35 PM , Rating: 5
Just sign here on this contract please.


I will go make a copy of it.

*applies heat to erase document, and reprints new contract*

*gets certified copy*

*returns new copy to consumer, who stashes it in a folder*

Consumer goes to court, and claims the contract didn't say what he signed.

RE: Just Sign here please.
By lemonadesoda on 11/27/2006 9:27:26 PM , Rating: 5
This sounds like the PERFECT marriage certificate, right guys?

RE: Just Sign here please.
By crazydrummer4562 on 11/27/2006 10:07:22 PM , Rating: 1

RE: Just Sign here please.
By PandaBear on 11/27/2006 10:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, I wonder if in the future books you purchase from stores will only be readable for a couple days to prevent you from selling it as used books. That would be bad, imagine every kid is forced to buy a copy of his/her favorite comics rather than sharing with friends, and you can no longer find textbook used.

RE: Just Sign here please.
By creathir on 11/27/2006 10:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
I know I've heard of this somewhere before... yes... yes I have!

Sounds like the future of gaming...

- Creathir

Other considerations
By slashbinslashbash on 11/27/2006 7:54:07 PM , Rating: 3
I like the idea a lot, but I have some reservations.

1) How expensive is it going to be?

2) Is there any way to get around staples and other binding mechanisms that permanently deform the paper? In most offices, anything more than 1 sheet long is stapled, clipped, or bound somehow. This paper will need to have some non-destructive method of attaching the sheets together. Tiny embedded magnets anyone? :D

3) Part of the idea of paper (versus electronic documents) is the ability to easily highlight, take notes, mark it up, etc. It would be cool if Xerox came up with pens, highlighters, etc. that also used the disappearing ink technology.

Otherwise it seems like a good idea. Everything that would be printed out should already be a file on some computer somewhere. If something you need has faded away, it's simple to print it out again. And of course durable printing will still be around too, for things with a long shelf life.

RE: Other considerations
By vanka on 11/27/2006 10:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
There's another problem I see with this technology, which is the of folding documents to fit in a pocket or whatever. Do you really want to give your boss a report "fresh off the printer" that looks like its been through a cow's intestinal tract?

RE: Other considerations
By SexyK on 11/27/2006 10:24:28 PM , Rating: 3
This paper will need to have some non-destructive method of attaching the sheets together. Tiny embedded magnets anyone?

Ever heard of this incredible invention called a paper clip???

RE: Other considerations
By kkwst2 on 11/27/2006 10:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, once they were invented and were found to be the ideal way to attach all papers together, other more primitive forms of attaching papers together such as staples faded into oblivion.

Oh, wait.

By darith27 on 11/27/2006 8:18:37 PM , Rating: 3
So by the end of the week, we'll be writing on paper with the texture of a 70 yr old woman's pocket book? This will be useful for undercover, top secret, and covert-op missions. Us civilians would not see an advantage to this. Plus if the data on the paper were to be valuable, we would still use more paper to make a copy of it before the ink fades.

RE: Imprints
By lemonadesoda on 11/27/2006 9:26:28 PM , Rating: 3
You mean you'd need to make a xerox of the stuff you wanted to keep? QED. Twice the revenue to xerox.

RE: Imprints
By Kakumba on 11/27/2006 10:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
Did you guys read the article? You can still use normal paper for printing. So, no, not twice the revenue to any company.

RE: Imprints
By creathir on 11/27/2006 10:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it means more money for the printer manufacture. Think about it. What stops reports and what not from being generated to the 'nth degree now? The fact that people do not want to WASTE paper. Here, you can get all the reports your boss wants, and still not waste paper! WIN WIN!

(At least for the trolls wanting to steal your weekends and the printer companies...)

- Creathir

This is a major breakthrough
By borowki on 11/27/2006 8:11:35 PM , Rating: 1
From a consumer's standpoint, the best thing about such a system isn't that you're saving on paper, but that the printer doesn't use any consumable. No ink or toner cartridges to replace. Just the paper. That's where you get the cost-saving.

If the cost is reasonable, this technology could revolutionize the newspapers industry. A survey done by the Washington Post a while back showed that more than half of respondents would not subscription to the even if it were free. The reason? They don't want the hassle of taking out old newspapers. Instead of that, imagine waking up to a freshly printed copy the news every morning. When you're done reading, you just shove it back into the printer. Very convenient. And unlike electronic devices, you wouldn't feel weird taking it into the bathroom :-)

RE: This is a major breakthrough
By kristof007 on 11/27/2006 9:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
Or just leave it at the door so next morning the newspaper person takes the old (blank) one and leaves you the daily one hot off the press.

I guess the movie cliche of kids throwing the newspapers on their bikes would not make sense anymore. They'd have to get off .. get the old one and leave the new one.

RE: This is a major breakthrough
By kkwst2 on 11/27/2006 10:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think I want the paper that the guy above was reading on the can though. He's a messy wiper.

RE: This is a major breakthrough
By peternelson on 11/28/2006 3:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
"but that the printer doesn't use any consumable. No ink or toner cartridges to replace. Just the paper. That's where you get the cost-saving."

erm we already have that, in the guise of those rubbish thermal printers used in some shops for till receipts.

You get them home, leave them a few weeks and the writing has totally faded away (so much for proof of purchase).

In that case I assume there is no ink costs, but the paper is more expensive. Some early 1980s printers used this tech eg Sinclair ZX printer. But the disadvantages mean it has died out everywhere but some lamer point of sale.

I hate these and want a proper receipt that doesn't fade.

There are apps for fading paper eg reports of daily sales figures that are only relevant a short time. But the disadvantages could be paper cost.

That and having to buy one printer for permanent, one for fading printing (unless Xerox make a super-expensive hybrid printer).

and the best part is...
By petermjacks on 11/27/2006 7:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
...the "special paper" only costs $0.50 per sheet! Talk about less waste!

Seriously, I don't see this catching on. Here today, gone tomorrow.

RE: and the best part is...
By peternelson on 11/28/2006 3:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
In an ideal world, the cost of things could be adjusted by taxes to reflect the environmental costs of production.

Thus the cost of normal tree-sourced and pulped paper might be $1.00.

If the re-usable paper we tax-free at $0.50, which would you prefer?

I think I'd likely stock both and use when appropriate.

It does increase the complexity of keeping inventory of both kinds of paper but that could be worth it for the cumulative cost savings.

Unfortunately governments don't seem very willing to implement such tax incentives.

RE: and the best part is...
By Wwhat on 11/29/2006 12:03:16 AM , Rating: 2
You have a very weird and unhealthy view of ideal worlds.

By kristof007 on 11/27/2006 9:11:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's going to be a blast handing final essays for a class. Imagine you get the entire class to do it. You hand in all your papers and your professor takes them home, sleeps, goes to grade them the next day and it's a pile of blanks.

Look on his face = priceless.

RE: School
By kkwst2 on 11/27/2006 10:36:49 PM , Rating: 4
Almost as priceless as the look on your face when you get your grade back.

Other options
By crystal clear on 11/28/2006 4:30:30 AM , Rating: 2
Toshiba is also involved in research for alternatives for paper & they have this-A real workable solution-

Read on-

Plastic paper to 'cut' emissions

Toshiba said the printer could help firms cut emissions
Toshiba has developed a printer that uses plastic "paper" that can be re-used hundreds of times.

RE: Other options
By Spivonious on 11/28/2006 10:39:41 AM , Rating: 2
Plastic paper? What a great way to diminish the world's oil supply even faster!

RE: Other options
By peternelson on 11/28/2006 3:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
Making plastics is a far better use than burning it.

Your transport should be electric vehicles (unless you are in the freight haulage business).

At least in the future when oil runs out, that plastic can be mined from landfill, and recycled.

Hopefully by that time, fusion will be a practical reality for cheap energy production, and those oil-rich nations won't be laughing about that will they?

By MrDiSante on 11/27/2006 8:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure they didn't "invite" the paper, they probably "invented" it.

RE: Proof-read?
By spuddy59 on 11/28/2006 12:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hahahaha, that just made my week.

By SexyK on 11/27/2006 10:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
I like the idea in theory, but the only reason I print out a document at work is so I can mark it up as I read it. I figure once you take a pen to this stuff, it's trashed.

...unless they come up with a special light-pen that can write in magic erasable ink....

RE: Failure
By peternelson on 11/28/2006 12:47:44 AM , Rating: 2
You can buy something that does it. I used to have yellow highlighter pens with the other end some clear tip which would make your highlighting disappear. Maybe the clear end was solvent based or something but it really did work. Not expensive.

As for secret applications, "this message will self destruct in 10 hours".

Good for offices
By GreenEnvt on 11/28/2006 9:55:18 AM , Rating: 2
We have some older employees here who insist upon printing out EVERY e-mail they receive, and read it from paper, rather then the screen.
They throw it out at the end of the day, so something like this could reduce our needed paper a lot.

RE: Good for offices
By Wwhat on 11/29/2006 12:05:15 AM , Rating: 2
OR you can say 'cut it out or you're fired idiots'

By GhandiInstinct on 11/27/2006 7:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
"Finally I have written out the equation to build my very own time machine!!!"

*A few hours later after a Taco Bell break*


Gangster pic!
By swtethan on 11/27/2006 8:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
That guy looks like he should be holding 2 guns instead of paper by the way he's posing. :-P

But it looks to be a very cool tech, but 80%? really?

My New Invention
By UserDoesNotExist on 11/27/2006 9:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone else think that they should come up with a new name for this invention?

As an aside, I would like to announce that I have invented an item that will turn your dull, ordinary paper into new, state-of-the-art erasable paper. It's called an "eraser". Patent pending.

Inspector gadget?
By Newspapercrane on 11/27/2006 10:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
"This paper will self destruct in twenty-four hours."

By bobsmith1492 on 11/27/2006 11:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, I must admit, I had low expectations after reading the title.

How about, "self-erasing paper" or "temporary paper?" Paper has been generally erasable for as long as I've used it, at least.

By AzureKevin on 11/27/2006 11:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
Man, that dude in the photo thinks he's such a hoss, holding up those three sheets of paper like they're nobody's business.

offline reading
By Gooberslot on 11/28/2006 1:14:27 AM , Rating: 2
Might be a good option for printing out and reading long web pages offline, or long pdfs.

Combining new tech
By oTAL on 11/28/2006 4:00:00 AM , Rating: 2
This can be VERY useful when combined with other new tech. The nokia pen which can, through the paper, know its relative position and "memorize" everything you write, used in combination with an RFID tag, or a short bar code next to the "TEMPORARY PAPER" headline, could be good enough for both the computer and the pen to know which paper connects to which file. The pen would then upload all the notes and highlight you take, and they would end up as an optional layer to the file. The next day the paper is faded, but if you ever need it again in, say a year, you can print it out as new with all the notes there... talk about awesome :D
As for the embedded magnets idea in order to replace staples, I loved it and it made me think of another possibility. If the magnets aren't doable maybe tiny velcro markings could be used - with a few modification of course (space age velcro ;)).

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki