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Contract? What contract?



An outlandish Bond-esque idea actually may deliver real environmental and financial promise.

What self respecting paper company would look to develop paper that could be reused multiple times at an affordable price? One that is in the printer, apparently. The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) a child of printing giant Xerox have been developing a unique paper with fading "ink" that it soon hopes to market.

The process requires the works -- a special printer and a special type of paper -- but the results are intriguing. After 16 to 24 hours the "ink," once printed clearly on the page fades. This could have numerous uses such as being used for memos, restaurant menus, and much more. After the "ink" fades, the paper can be reused.

The paper utilizes a coat of photosensitive chemicals, which darken when exposed to UV light. The printer uses no real ink, but writes in UV light. Users can wait for the ink to fade, or put it back in the printer, which will automatically wipe anything on the sheet, even if it hasn't yet faded.

According to Xerox, the technology is only a few years away from hitting the market. Eric Shrader, area manager, energy systems, device hardware laboratory at Xerox says one key advantage is that the same sheet of paper, in testing, has been shown to be able to be reused hundreds of times. Only damage or crumpling would prevent reuse.

The end result is a large savings in energy and production costs. Reusing is better than recycling or making new material from scratch in that it takes less energy and resources. It takes 204,000 joules to make a sheet of standard 8.5x11 paper, enough power to run a 60 watt lightbulb for an hour. It takes 114,000 joules to recycle the same size piece of paper. Printing that size on a traditional printer requires around 2,000 joules.

The UV printer only requires 1,000 joules to print with erase, or 100 joules to print to a faded sheet. Thus not only are the paper production costs dramatically decreased, but the printing costs are as well. According to Schrader, "Being able to reuse paper is a big energy win."

PARC has focused heavily on power usage over the years. The enterprising center helped to create the PC, inkjet printing, and Ethernet networking. In its early days it often failed to properly secure its inventions, so other companies like Apple Computer openly "borrowed" from it. Today the center focuses on developing, securing, and licensing new innovative technologies.

While some documents such as reference manuals or important business documents obviously would not be appropriate for fading ink, much of the printing demands of business are one-time use. Xerox estimates that 44.5 percent of documents are one-time use, and that 25 percent of documents are recycled within their day of creation. With over 15.2 trillion pages printed worldwide, according to Lyra Research, the environmental, financial, and social ramifications of employing Xerox's technology are rather staggering.

Shrader sees paper as only going to grow with increased digital interaction and presence. He jokes, "Think of the Google map you printed to get here. Thirty years ago, we said the future was paperless."

The reusable paper is slightly more expensive than traditional paper. The photosensitive molecule inside is proprietary. The test version was yellow with purple ink so that testers could distinguish the special paper. However, white paper is available with different ink colors.

Sourced from Daily Tech


FPCH Long Term Member
Dec 13, 2007
PC Experience
Some Experience
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Basic
very interesting