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"Flexible as paper, versatile as a computer screen, new material blurs lines between the digital and paper worlds"

-- Xerox web site

Electronic paper or electronic ink is possibly the next new display technology, and is being worked on by Xerox, 3M, MIT, and possibly others.

If this technology works, it very well may replace the LCD displays in laptops and PDA's, and may even cause a small revolution in portable computing, and we may get a completely different device.

Electronic ink probably needs to be combined with flexible transistors or plastic transistors (being worked on by Bell Labs), or perhaps replaced by transparent transistors (by Tokyo Institute of Technology), or organic transistors (IBM, Bell Labs, Cambridge, Penn State, others).

Of course, I'm just speculating on possible applications based on today's existing products. Technologies this revolutionary will probably create possibilities for whole new products that couldn't even be imagined by looking at what we have now, and in areas beyond just the computer industry. For example, Xerox wants to actually replace paper with electronic paper and magnetic pencils. I can think of several other interesting applications, how about you?

How far are we now from Nell's book in the Diamond Age?

Stay tuned as this technology develops...

Update: 10 years later, and e-paper has nearly taken over the e-book market with the kindle leading the pack. I still want my 20 inch rollable screen and my color e-paper picture frame. Maybe next year.

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