Microsoft’s big idea to change paper forever

Microsoft has applied for a patent for paper … a new type of paper.

It’s an interesting idea, part way between current ebook readers and paper. We won’t be seeing it anytime soon but, one day, Word might print to this type of electronic paper.

Ebook readers use very little power because they turn on quickly to write the screen then turn off again. The ‘ink’ on the screen stays there even if the power is off.

Microsoft’s patent is for a flexible sheet which displays whatever was last ‘printed’ to the electronic paper.

Attach a separate ‘printer’ to the electronic paper to rewrite it. So the flexible e-paper is reusable and rewriteable.

As Microsoft says “The display device may be of any size. For example, it may be small like a credit or business card, medium sized like an A4 sheet of paper, or much larger like a poster, noticeboard or billboard.”. The printer can be attached to a larger sheet (like a poster) and plugged in for updating.

As it stands, the patent is for a single or double sided, black or greyscale ‘paper’.