Paperless, Part 2: Xerox’s ‘Erasable Paper’

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As a follow-up to our post yesterday about a paperless future, reader Christopher Simmons sent us over a press release sent out by Xerox about a technology they’re developing called “erasable paper,” multiple-use paper that can be printed, wiped clean, then printed on again. It’s pretty incredible and we thank Christopher very much for sending it over. Here’s a bit:

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.

While scientists at XRCC work on the chemistry of the technology, their counterparts at PARC – the birthplace of the laser printer – are investigating ways to build a device that could write the image onto the special paper. PARC researchers developed a prototype “printer” that creates the image on the paper using a light bar that provides a specific wavelength of light as a writing source. The written image fades naturally over time or can be immediately erased by exposing it to heat.