November 28, 2006

Xerox intros self-erasing paper

The folks up the road at Xerox PARC (onetime home of the Adobe founders) have been busily developing a new kind of paper that erases itself after 16 hours or so.  The idea is to reduce waste by letting people reuse some of the large percentage of paper that’s printed & recycled in short order–often on the same day.  More details are in the press release.

The story provides some background on the research that gave rise to this technology: “What she has discovered is a notable change in the role of paper in modern offices, where it is increasingly used as a medium of display rather than storage [emphasis added]. Documents are stored on central servers and personal computers and printed only as needed; for meetings, editing or reviewing information.”

It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, role this technology plays in a world of email, electronic paper, etc.  “I worry that this would be like coming out with Super 8 just before the video camera,” says consultant Paul Saffo.  Time will tell. [Via]

PS–At the other end of the permanence spectrum, tattooing has become so popular that even Chinese fish are doing it.  No word on whether "Shanghai Ink" will be airing soon. [Via]

3:19 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Sonic Tinkertoys + other funky new input devices

Sure, the Nintendo Wii is getting lots of attention for its motion-sensitive controllers, but several other input projects have popped up recently:

  • The Reactable is a "state-of-the-art multi-user electro-acoustic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface."  That is, you can drag objects around a flat-screen surface, twisting and aligning them to produce sound (I’ll stop short of saying "music"*).  Check out the very cool videos. [Via]
  • Tai-Chi is a series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface.  Here you can see it tracking a finger, among other objects. [Via]
  • The Onomy Tilty Table is a large display that can rock back and forth, moving the image on screen as you move the table.  This makes it quick for cruising across large images, from geographic imagery to the AIDS Quilt. Check it out in action.  The latest version will enable twisting to aid navigation. [Via]
  • SandScape lets users interact with a landscape model made of sand, watching interpretations of the results projected back onto the sand.  So you could, for example, sculpt a new form in the sand, then see water flow patterns projected onto the surface. It’s easier to see it in action than to describe.  More info is here.   [Via]
  • 3D Connexion (corporate cousins of the Logitech guys behind the NuLOOQ "Adobe mouse") have introduced the SpaceNavigator, a $49 puck optimized for navigating 3D spaces (e.g. Google Earth).
  • Robert Hodgin (of Flight404 fame) created a large interactive video wall in conjunction with Saturn’s hybrid vehicle launch. Grass and text ripple as users walk by; more photos and here.

* The audio output remains, however, more listenable than Shatner doing Rocketman. [Via Hughes]

2:35 PM | Permalink | No Comments
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