The use of computer screens has led to the increasing prevalence of eye-strain, sore necks, dry skin, the emission of dangerous fumes, the inordinate use of power, and other social problems. But rescue is at hand – thanks to a revolutionary new discovery being developed by a high-tech startup in Silicon Valley.
According to Tom Harpur, CEO of the Pulpdo company, “We envisage a situation where people will use small, hand-held devices to make marks on a revolutionary new material. These marks will be called ‘writing’ and the material we will call ‘paper’”.
Jeremy Bloom, the chief of technology at Pulpdo, told us: “The ‘paper’ will consist of extremely thin, flexible, white material made from natural resources. We’re currently experimenting with fermented yak’s stomach linings, but there are promising materials we haven’t tried yet, such as the dried skins of the willow spider. Producing commerical quantities of such substances remains an issue, but we’re confident we can overcome them.”
We questioned him about the concept of a ‘pen’ too. “We have many promising possibilities. We’ve worked out a working prototype.” was all he would tell us. While Mr. Bloom was silent on the precise details of the pen prototype, insiders told us it was over nine feet wide and took four men to carry. All he was able to say was: “We have plans to reduce that size to a workable model soon”. As for the substance that will produce the marks, he could only tell us that it was subject to investigations: “Right now we’re confident that the blood of some exotic octopus species look promising…”
But some analysts remain sceptical. Says Sarah-Ann Dunne of KPMG Consultants, “Quite aside from the technical problems of producing paper and pens, we just cannot see people being able to use these devices without many years of expensive education. They cannot compete with the computer-screens’ friendly glow and simple click-and-go interface.”
Other sceptics point to the human propensity for simplicity. “I cannot see how attempting to interpret marks of illegible type will be possible”, says Anthony Felming of Harper and Kings.
But Tom Harpur remains confident. “People will appreciate the intimacy of paper, the touch and feel of a hand-held ‘pen’, and will treasure the lack of eye-strain.”