A scientific breakthrough that uses paper to host complex electronics seems set to pave the way for disposable e-readers made from paper. The discovery came about as a result of recent research by scientists who have developed a way of using paper as a flexible host material for electrowetting (a process of applying an electric field to coloured droplets within a display to reveal content such as type, photographs and video) devices. Consequently, most standard e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, Sony e-reader that use complex circuitry printed over a rigid glass substrate, might soon be due for an unprecedented upgrade.
According to the researchers, ‘one of the main goals of e-paper is to replicate the look and feel of actual ink on paper’. So far, they have found similarities between the performance of electrowetting devices on glass and paper meaning that there is a high chance of success with the right paper, process and device fabrication technique.
The study, recently published in the Applied Materials and Interfaces journal was conducted in the University of Cincinatti. Overall, it demonstrates that paper could be used as an electrowetting host material for the first time. Meanwhile, the researchers are hoping to attract commercial interest in the technology for next-stage development.
Can you imagine reading a newspaper that changes in real-time, with text, images and moving video, similar to those in the Harry Potter movie?