Home / News / Microsoft shows a rewriteable paper in its latest patent

Microsoft shows a rewriteable paper in its latest patent

Paper is strange. The thin material produced by compressing pulp from wood and grass is used for everything; packaging, cleaning, and of course, writing, being one of the most common uses.

The idea of a paperless world is – for now – amusing, to say the least. The big IT giants have tried – and tried hard – to make everything digital, but it doesn’t always work out. The physical aspect of information is lost; it can get quite difficult to organize information without the physical link to it.

The Paperless Paper

Microsoft’s latest patent takes us to the world of Harry Potter – but not quite. The recently published patent describes a bendable bi-stable e-ink display that’s quite a bit different from the usual kind.

The Usual Kind

The e-ink display is unique, in that once information is fed to it – it stays, even if the display loses power; power is only required when the display is being refreshed with new information.

It’s how Amazon’s Kindle – and other eBook readers of its kind – manage to have a single charge last for a month.

Microsoft’s Kind

Microsoft is taking a different approach with this existing technology. The idea is to separate the e-ink display from the electronics and batteries that power it.

As mentioned, the e-ink display doesn’t need either of these things to display its content; Microsoft’s idea, therefore, includes a printer that is capable of printing on this e-ink display.

Since the e-ink display has no electronics or batteries of its own, it would be bendable – but more importantly, cheap to manufacture.

To change the content of the display, users would simply need to put it through the accompanied printer. It’s re-writeable paper, like re-writeable discs.

A Patent

The patent describes an idea that – once you hear it – seems obvious; why did nobody else think of this before?

The idea of a paperless office has always been a dream – and it still is; Microsoft’s patent simply removes yet another barrier.

It is, however, just that – a patent. There’s no guarantee that this would ever be a product. Though, a re-writeable paper has the protentional to be as ubiquitous as, well, paper; if Microsoft wanted to, it could refine and push this technology into its already-strong enterprise ecosystem.

It would be nice to see a paperless office within our lifetime; everyone will, however, need to get used to a bidet. You can check out the patent over here.

Check Also

DOTA 2’s Update 7.03 brings the Juggernaut Arcana and other changes

Ever since Juggernaut managed to topple IO in the highly contentious International 2016 Arcana vote, …