Friday, October 14, 2005

Digital paper may become a reality soon

The applications of digital paper would by myriad (digital signage not the least of them), but this article focuses on one newspaper's goal to make their flexible e-paper a reality by as early as 2007. Advertisers are probably salivating over this, though I'd have to imagine there would be a certain amount of reader backlash after the third or fourth page of blinking, moving, flashing ads harassing you as you try to read the sports section. Still, it looks pretty cool, as illustrated by this clip:

Siemens spokesman Norbert Aschenbrenner claimed the new screens, which are literally paper thin, can do everything a regular TV screen or computer monitor can do, but cost a fraction of the price.

"The technology makes it possible to put moving images directly onto paper ... at a cost that would make it economical to use on everything from magazines to cigarette packets ... where the moving images would give more detailed instructions than any photo could ever do," he said.

He said that the technology will be used for Harry Potter-style dynamic pictures in newspapers but will probably take a little while to get cheap enough."We think that at the moment the screens will appear first in more expensive magazines in the form of high-impact adverts. But as the price sinks we expect them to appear in papers as well, possibly as a really attention-grabbing front page."

The images are in colour, and can broadcast anything that can be shown on a regular flat screen monitor or TV, although with a slightly lower quality. These could be short film clips or flash animations like those found on the internet.

The company believes there will also be a market for using them for simple computer games which could be printed on the side of a package or given away free in magazines.

The Siemens spokesman said that one square metre of the material costs around £30, and scientists working on the screens said they should be available by 2007.

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