Why e-readers might look more like newspapers than iPads

Researchers know how to make disposable displays that can be rolled up like paper. In the future, it might show text, pictures and video.

Walking around downtown San Francisco, it's hard to ignore the iPad ads that are displayed everywhere. But Andrew Steckl thinks that in the future, e-readers won't look anything like iPads. The e-reader of the future might be rolled up like a piece of paper.

The University of Chincinnati researcher showed that paper can be used for display technology instead of the hard, glass surfaces on the e-readers that you see out in the market today.

Steckl used electrowetting (EW) to print an electric field on a display. This way, the paper-thin display could someday show not only text and pictures, but also video.

"The use of paper as a material for various device applications (such as microfluidics and energy storage) is very attractive given its flexibility, versatility, and low cost. Here we demonstrate that electrowetting (EW) devices can be readily fabricated on paper substrates," the researchers wrote in the journal, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The EW device works as good as it would on glass. Plus, using a paper e-reader would be way less awkward. It would be cheaper to make and would be easier to dispose of.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com