Have You Started Planning for E-Paper?
E-paper, in general, uses thin, lightweight displays that simulate the form and flexibility of traditional paper while providing the immediacy of a computer screen. It is a thin layer of transparent plastic that contains millions of small microcapsules randomly dispersed. When a voltage is applied to the sheet’s surface, the microcapsules move to present one side to the viewer according to the polarity of the charge. So, in order to display text, microcapsules targeted to serve as the “ink” would move to the top of the sheet.
Importantly, the beads do not require a constant voltage to hold their position. Electronic ink allows a fixed image to remain on the screen even after the power source is shut off.
Companies are developing mass-production techniques for these materials that would allow them to be manufactured inexpensively in a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, Plastic Logic Ltd. (www.PlasticLogic.com) is investigating locations for a large-scale manufacturing plant for its flexible-plastic electronics displays. A director of the company says it's “ready for prime time.”
Many of the devices we take for granted today, such as handheld computers, digital cameras and color printers, were once in the realm of science fiction. E-paper is not science fiction.
Is this in your business plan?
When e-paper is finally perfected will it mean the death of the printing press? Not by any means. But it will mean the end to the status quo and the creation of yet another parallel universe in the digital information age.
The future of publishing is actually something we create with our minds, our technologies, our will and our unique business plans.
Bob Sacks is a consultant to the printing/publishing industry and president of The Precision Media Group (www.BoSacks.com). He is publisher and editor of a daily, international e-newsletter, “Heard on the Web.”