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University of Tokyo turns real paper and ink into a display, could share doodles from a distance (video)


Forget e-paper: if the University of Tokyo's Naemura Lab has its way, we'll interact with the real thing. The division's new research has budding artists draw on photochromic paper with Frixion's heat-sensitive ink, turning the results into something a computer can manipulate. A laser 'erases' the ink to fix mistakes or add effects, and an ultraviolet projector overhead can copy any handiwork, fill in the gaps or print a new creation. The prototype is neither high resolution nor quick -- you won't be living out fantasies of a real-world A-Ha music video -- but the laser's accuracy (down to 0.0001 inches) has already led researchers to dream of paper-based, Google Docs-style collaboration where edits in one place affect a tangible document somewhere else. It's hard to see truly widespread adoption in an era where we're often trying to save trees instead of print to them, but there's an undeniable appeal to having a hard copy that isn't fixed in time.

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