Toshiba apparently developed a printer that can write and rewrite on the same paper over and over again. The company is claiming that such technology will be employed mainly in large organizations, and it will help to reduce the consumption of paper and the emissions of CO2.
The B-SX8R (now that is an easy to remember name…) printer will use a plastic paper, similar to the ones you find wrapping soft drink bottles. This paper has thermal properties, and dosing the amount of heat one can control the pigmentation. For example if the paper is exposed to temperatures above 180 degrees centigrade the pigment becomes black. When it is exposed to temperatures between 130 and 160 degrees, on the other hand, the pigment should turn white, making it possible to erase previous images.
The technology employed is not really a novelty, though. Some time ago fax machines also used a printing system that was based on thermal reactions. Toshiba stated that the printer will be able to print 12 pages per minute, with a resolution of 12 pixels per millimeter.
The paper will sell for $10 per sheet, but the cost per impression should be competitive since each plastic sheet can be used up to 500 times.
Toshiba claims that the B-SX8R printer will help organizations to reduce the environmental impact on two ways. First of all, the manufacturing process of the printer generates about 1,5 kilograms of CO2 while the standard manufacturing process for a laser printer could generate 5 times that amount. Secondly since the printer uses the same sheet of paper for up to 500 impressions it will contribute to reduce the CO2 emissions that are connected with the production of paper.
The product has been available in Japan since July of 2006, but it will arrive in Europe and in the US only in 2008.
Watch a video of the printer here.