Erasable e-paper created by researchers at the Industrial Technology Research Institute can be erased and written upon hundreds of times.
(i2R e-Paper video)
"I think the greatest breakthrough was that traditional display devices usually require electricity to write, but our technology made it closer to how we would use normal paper," said John Chen, Vice President of the Institute and general director of the Display Technology Center.
"First, it does not require patterned electrodes -- it is very light, soft and rewritable. From this perspective, this is a true e-paper."
What makes the "i2R e-paper" stand out is its coating -- a plastic film covered with cholestric liquid crystal, a type of liquid crystal structured similarly to cholesterol molecules.
The compound does not require a backlight to print, and can produce different colors.
When connected to electricity, what's printed on the paper can be erased. There is also a modified printer that erases the paper by rolling it backwards.
An A4 sized piece of the e-paper, which is already in production, costs roughly $60 Taiwan dollars, or about $2. Developers hope it will be available to consumers within two years.
in his 2003 novel Darwin's Children, Greg Bear gives a pretty good idea of how erasable paper might be used to create a more secure communication:
He removed the e-sheet from the attaché case and folded the red corner to activate. A keypad appeared in the lower half. He entered the code of the day and read his briefing from the emergency action special reconnaissance office.
He finished reading, then crimped the corner of the e-paper until it broke, automatically erasing the memory strip. The display side of the paper turned orange.
(Read more about e-sheets)