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Taiwan Unveils Eco-friendly Rewritable 'Paper'

Product should hit market in next couple of years.

A group of Taiwan scientists have developed an environmentally friendly form of rewritable electronic paper that works without electricity.

Unlike the e-book technology now available on the market, the rewritable e-paper called "i2R e-paper" does not need to be back lit and therefore does not consume electricity, according to the island's top industrial research unit Industrial Technology Research Institute.

"It only requires heat to store or transmit images onto the flexible display," said Frank Hsiu, a senior official at the Institute's Display Technology Centre based in the northern Hsinchu city. He said writing on the paper can be erased by inserting it into a thermal writing device similar to what is used in fax machines.

The technology can be used in products such as digital books, electronic bulletin boards and large-sized digital bulletin boards, the institute said.

"At the moment, research results at the laboratory showed that you can write on such paper for up to 260 times," Hsiu said.

"You can imagine how much paper and how many trees can be saved if this product is widely used in the world."

The institute has transferred the technology to a Taiwan company, and expects the product to hit the market in a year or two.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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