Writes like magic

Published: Friday 30 April 1999

In an age where every mode of communication is going either "electronic" or "digital", how can good, old pens be left stranded in ancient times? Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, is patenting its "electronic ink" technology. This involves an electronic "page" that sandwiches a suspension of coloured particles in clear fluid between transparent electrodes. When current is fed to parts of an electrode, particles gather at the surface, creating a visible mark. The mark remains even after the current has been removed, until a fresh current is applied to alter the earlier pattern. The particles are coated with reflective metal of fluorescent dye, to make them appear brighter and more like ink on paper.

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