Taiwan-based Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) announced the introduction of i2R e-Paper, electronic paper technology that allows for re-writing, re-using and recycling, in the hopes of reducing paper consumption worldwide. ITRI envisions i2R e-Paper as cutting down on paper use, as it can be used for such items as ID badges, parking tickets, transit passes, advertising banners and other relatively short-lived everyday items whose paper consumption adds up.
The i2R e-Paper uses a flexible cholesteric liquid crystal panel to store and transmit images. This display technology uses ambient light from its surroundings to display images, and therefore does not require a light source of its own, unlike a traditional LCD screen. Because it uses preexisting light, it does not require power consumption to display images. The addition of different pitch spherical composite ion-exchangers allows the cholesteric liquid crystal to display different colors, namely red, blue and green. The cholesteric liquid crystal display is completely recyclable and needs only heat to hold its 300 dpi images.
To print or change an image, a thermal printer fitted with a thermal head is used. Heat generated from the thermal head is minimal, as the device uses energy efficiently, and this heat interacts with the e-paper to create the image on the paper.
To replace an image, the paper simply goes back into the printer, and the old image is replaced with a new one, without the use of ink, toner, or new paper. The e-paper can even be written on using water-soluble markers, whose ink can be washed off.