By David Ponce
One day the world will truly end its dependance on paper, but it’s going to take a pretty long time to get there. Until then, efforts continue to be made to reduce the impact on the environment that our need for dead trees has. One recent development comes courtesy of a team of engineers at Cambridge who are in the process of creating a device that can zap ink right off a page, leaving the paper free to be used once more. “The device works by using lasers at the wavelength of green light in pulses of four nanoseconds each, vaporizing the ink while preserving the paper underneath.”
The system is still in development and is not perfect. For one, it leaves a faint trace of ink, though for less than important documents, this may not be a deal breaker. Also, it can only be done a few times on any one sheet since it also strips off some paper in the process. But it is a step ahead of another similar solution on the market because this one can be used on any laser printed paper; one solution by Toshiba relies on a special blue toner.
Sadly, there are no patents or immediate plans to make this available to the public.