Thursday, May 1

Disappearing Ink To Prevent Trees From Disappearing From The Face Of Earth

I stumbled across an interesting piece of news on Michael Kanellos had written about vanishing ink to help in the recycling of paper. It was too good an invitation to ignore and I started digging for information on this topic.

Xerox Research Centre and Palo Alto Research Center Inc. (PARC) have come up with a concept to make the printed words and images last only a day, so that the paper can be used again and again. They say that the technology is still in a preliminary state.

This piece of paper is blank, but about eight hours ago it said,
'Reusable Paper. Xerox Parc Inside Innovation at Xerox' in block purple letters
(Credit: Michael Kanellos/CNET Networks)

Xerox has filed for patents on the technology, which it calls "erasable paper."

Meanwhile, PARC are researching on a device capable of writing the images onto the special paper. 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.

Paul Smith, Manager of XRCC's new materials design and synthesis lab says “Self-erasing documents for short-term use offers the best of both worlds."

Xerox also has apart from temporary documents, solid ink printing technology, which generates 90 percent less waste than comparable laser printers; more energy-efficient printers, copiers and multifunction devices; and other paper-saving innovations. Erasing the guilt of humanity are we?

Though this is an old news dated November 27, 2006, I stumbled across an even older piece of news regarding “decolorable printing ink” from Toshiba Corporation. It had developed a prototype decolorable ink in September 1998, culminating in the launch of “e-blueTM.” The innovative ink that is entirely free of carbon and that decolors when exposed to a high level of heat. The toner prints words and images on standard plain paper in blue to distinguish it from carbon-black-based toner. The erasing machine removes words and images printed with the decolorable toner on plain paper, in batches of approximately 400-500 A4-sized pages, or 200-250 A3-sized pages, in three hours.

Toshiba also offers a e-blueTM pen and marker which contains decolorable ink that can be erased by the erasing machine and can be used to write on documents that are printed by e-blueTM toner.

Both these concepts have pro’s and con’s. In case of Xerox corporation, the printed words disappears after a day. There is a time limit. However, the technology has absolutely no energy wastages. Meanwhile, in case of Toshiba corporation, the words can be erased according to our convenience but at the cost of using a eraser which again uses electricity contributing energy wastage.

The choice is yours.

Source:, Xerox Research Centre, Palo Alto Research Center Inc., Toshiba Corporation

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