Our planet has been undergoing rapid and massive deforestation during the last 50 years. One of the main reasons for this brutal attack on the world’s rain forests is the need for paper. Whether toilet paper, copy paper, or romance novels — our daily use of paper is indispensable.
To solve this problem researchers are working on the development of Virtual Paper. What this term actually refers to is a very thin and flexible screen, that can be held like a normal paper page, yet changes its appearance on demand. You could curl up in bed with it, or fold it into your pocket.
Such technology is probably still ten to twenty years in the future, but it is certain to arrive one day.
Several technical issues would have to be resolved first: how to dynamically inject color onto the page, which materials could be used that are reliable enough and extremely flexible at the same time, how to wirelessly transfer the data onto the Virtual Paper, and how to enable the paper to receive commands from its human owner.
By now scientists have managed to create dynamically injected semi-flexible papers — but only in black & white. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll read this blog on your very own virtual paper. In the meantime, please minimize the use of paper as much as possible, and maximize your efforts at recycling. Remember that you can use both sides of a page, and that most letters today could be replaced by Emails.
Picture by Technology Madness