When paper merges with plastic

Written by Paper. Posted in Innovation, Technology

When paper merges with plastic

Published on June 24, 2016 with 1 Comment

If you like the idea of paper but would rather not deal with the recycling challenges, the world of technology is coming to your assistance with varying examples of electronic paper. And yes, the words electronic and paper may seem to be two opposing concepts. But the gap is being bridged by the moment. One example is the e-reader such as Kindle which uses this type of technology from a company called E Ink Corp. Several years ago Lexar used E Ink technology to create an indicator of the storage capacity on its USB drives. Users could check the available space on their flash drives without plugging in.
If you care about this, you would have noticed that this technology is mostly black and white and not easily read in sunlight. And if you haven’t been paying attention, now you know. But have no fear, every limitation is an opportunity. Liquavista is a company that wants to bring your e-paper to the next level with brighter more colorful displays. It claims endless possibilities for you to read in low light and bright sun light. And that’s better than old world paper which required light for reading.
The technology behind this is called electrowetting. Whatever else anyone might think, this is a blending of the field of electrostatics with interfacial chemistry. Sure, it’s complex but think oil and water, a relationship that has contributed to the richness of the English language. Drop water on some surfaces and it’s like an emotional wreck, squeezing itself into a very small ball to minimize contact. Add an electrostatic charge and it’s like valium, a calming drug that relaxes the water, allowing it to unwind – so to speak. Crunch it up with dyes and that’s the science behind e-paper with color. Who knew chemistry could mirror human emotions? We have no idea if the resulting e-paper products can withstand a swim or a washing machine.

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  1. A few yrs ago popsci had an article about screens that fold up to the size of a stick of Wrigley. Mint is a mood elevator.