Taiwan Introduces Rewritable Electronic Paper


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Taiwanese researchers are taking recycling to a whole new level with a rewritable electronic paper that can be re-used up to 260 times. The developers say it will soon replace the conventional paper used for signs and posters.

Researchers in Taiwan say the resolution of their "i2R e-Paper" makes it ideal for use in shops and public areas to update signs and posters.

The paper was developed by Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

At a recent demonstration, technicians showed off the paper's printing ability using a thermal printer, the same kind used in fax machines.

And with the flip of a switch, the paper can be erased - and is ready for reuse.

While there have been other forms of e-paper developed, researchers say this is the first of its kind to use a thermal printer.

[John Chen, Vice President, General Director, ITRI]: (Mandarin, male)
"I think the greatest breakthrough was that traditional display devices usually require electricity to write, our technology made it closer to how we would use normal paper -- first it does not require patterned electrodes, it is very light, soft, and rewritable. From this perspective, this is a true e-paper."

The paper thickness is less than 5 thousandths of an inch.

It's made by putting a layer of Cholestric Liquid Crystal, a type of liquid crystal structured similarly to cholesterol molecules, onto a plastic film.

Chen says the advantage of using Cholestric Liquid Crystal is that it does not require a backlight, and by adding optical agents of different pitches, it can produce blue, red and green colors - ideal for use in signs or posters.

The new paper is more than just tree friendly - Chen says that in the long run, "i2R e-Paper" will save energy too.