Plastic Logic, Intel, and Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab first revealed the new Papertab e-paper a few days ago. Many people were obviously very excited about the prospect of flexible e-paper with innovative new features. We caught up with representatives of Queens and Plastic Logic today outside of the CES 2013 show in Las Vegas.
The essence of this e-paper is the ability to replace sheets of paper on your desktop and provide a multitasking alternative to being dependent on a tablet or PC. We saw a few fine examples of being able to access Google Maps and instead of scrolling around, you can bump a piece of e-paper next to it, to get a wider map. If you have images on one piece of paper, you can bump it with your email and automatically attach the image. The big hyping factor behind this new technology is that you can do many common tasks by bending the paper on the left and right hand side, rather then interacting with the touchscreen film in the traditional way.
There is a ton of potential with this new e-paper, and eventually we will have the ability to print them out the same way people would do newspapers or normal paper. Right now, the Papertab is dependent on an Intel PC to run all of the processes. This why in the video below you see ripens on the bottom of the paper.
There are many barriers to a true flexible e-paper that have prevented these types of technology to cross over from the concept stage. The main problem is the chassis and internal components. Memory, batteries, and transistors are not suited to be bendable and small. This is why you see devices, like the Wexler Flex One using LG’s flexible e-paper, being anything but flexible. This is why it is hard to say if this will catch on or not. The industry as a whole needs to adopt flexible e-paper and develop internal components that are suitable. In all honesty, I don’t see this happening anytime soon.