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Are Disposable E-Readers in Our Future?

People who have paid a couple of hundred bucks for Kindles and Nooks might be angered by this story -- disposable e-readers are being developed.

Engineers at the University of Cincinnati have come up with a process called electrowetting, which is a variation of the technology behind current e-ink screens. As the tech web site Engadget describes it:

This new version of that technique enables the creation of e-paper on actual paper, requiring no glass or fancy circuitry and, in theory, creating displays nearly as cheaply as magazines are printed today, opening the door to disposable e-readers and the like.

After demonstrating his findings so far, Dr. Andrew Steckl predicts displays on the paper would be fast, full-color and would last a user up to seven days. Not only could the reader be folded up and shoved in your pocket for convenience, but it is also cheap and environmentally friendly.

Steckl is now looking for a commercial investor to develop the device further. If he gets the money, this technology could be available in as little as three years.

One question remains: Isn't the whole concept of an e-reader to allow its users to download multiple books/magazines/newspapers on one device? If e-readers are disposable, aren't they in effect just another version of the paper products we have today (which don't go bad after seven days, mind you).


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