The Future of Paper?

Much has been said and written about the future of paper publications with the arrival of downloadable  books, Kindles and a whole world of other hardware, but maybe a company from Cambridge (UK for a change now I am back in Europe) may be about to cause another revolution.

Many people are not drawn to reading books in digital, they like to thumb the pages etc, but a private company is putting what they describe as the ‘future of paper’ into mass production.

The company called Plastic Logic have designed what we could describe as the closest thing to paper that can show video.

An example of Plastic Logic’s invention

As the name suggests we are talking about a plastic paper-thin sheet that has the ability to display video, It can be used as a Wi-Fi fed screen, with the advantages of being flat, thin, flexible and bigger than your standard reader.

This video on the BBC website describes the product in greater detail, including the production process, and states that it should be in full production next year. The CEO of the company also explains the problems that this technology has faced during development as well as explaining why we might need a screen that we can roll up and carry around. He also describes how the computer and receiver part of the structure could be attached in the form of a handle.

All very interesting stuff, but I think the most important part of this application involves telephones. I have a so-called smart phone but I very rarely use it for internet work because the screen is too small. I cannot read an article on a screen that size. But if I had an A4 size screen rolled up in my bag that could show me the screen on a much larger scale (via Bluetooth) I would be happy to use it. And then I could leave my laptop at home.

Others see it as the future for glossy magazines, or the death of them, but the death of newspapers, radio, books, recorded music and commercial TV has been on the cards for a long time, and they are all still alive and kicking.

I look forward to this new product going into full production and appearing in the shops anyway, and the obvious question…. would you have a use for it?

16 thoughts on “The Future of Paper?

  1. This is really extraordinary. And the fact that it could be in production from next year makes me interested in this technology even more.
    The applications of this technology are tremendous. As you said Jonny, this could replace computing devices like laptops, tablet PCs to a great extent. Anyone would like to have a computer rolled up their sleeve.
    Also, I can also imagine this paper being used in the news paper industry and doing wonders. One large sheet with dynamic displays with touch navigation from the front page to the end showing videos, audio, HD photos that can be zoomed, doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

    • I doubt that it will totally replace Pcs, but it may change the look of them. I also believe that such technology will be applied in tablet production, although the price of it will be really higher than the one of the current technologies. Bur it will be only temporary.

      • Christopher (admin team)

        So you think that the technology will be revolutionary, but not to the extent that everything will be blown out of the water by it… interesting.

        I see what you are saying regarding tablets Andrew, touch screen paper could be a great invention!

        Thanks for adding your view, you are now part of Technology Bloggers community 🙂
        Christopher – Admin Team

  2. I guess it will reach a point whereby people will prefer reading publications and other material that published on paper especially with the emergence of portable digital devices. This is due to the convenience this devices give an individual. Someone doesn’t have to run up and down to get what they want to read, but they will do it at the convenience of their device.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      I would agree with you Cheryl that convenience does play a big part in it. If technology can make something easier for us, most people will use/embrace it.

      Thanks for adding your view, welcome to Technology Bloggers 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  3. Very interesting concept. But digital devices are getting more sophisticated and making it much easier to consume information, so having another item to read things might not take off. Also the price of the product plays a factor here, unless they can give it out very cheap I don’t think it will take off.

  4. This sounds really cool, but as you said unless it would have to have some way to make what screen I already have larger when needed. I myself am partial to turning pages in a real book or newspaper. Even though it may be easier to read it online.

  5. Hi Jonny,

    Technology never ceases to amaze me. I really am starting to believe that if we can think of it then we can build it eventually. I don’t think regular paper is ever going away for good despite what many people predict, but being able to carry around a flexible display screen could have all kinds of uses. I think it will appeal to people who have a need to carry around something small like a tablet or smart phone, but who also want to be able to view things at a larger scale when needed. Since the paper rolls up, it should be able to be transported without taking up a lot of space, assuming it’s durable enough to hold up to constant rolling and unrolling.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      “I don’t think regular paper is ever going away for good despite what many people predict…” – agreed. Books will always be there, as will letters, leaflets etc. Just maybe used less frequently.

      Thanks for adding your view Derek, welcome to Technology Bloggers 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  6. I would agree as well. I cannot imagine sitting on the toilet and not having a newspaper, magazine or book in my hands. Toilet paper just can’t be the only paper allowed in the bathroom. It has a long tradition.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      Could you not sit there with a tablet, e-reader, or the video paper mentioned? Would it be that different?

      Thanks for the comment, it made me smile, welcome to the blog – that is blog 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.