Researchers at IntelliPaper have come up with a new type of flash drive which can be crumpled up and thrown in the bin.
The system is basically paper with an embedded silicon chip, which turns an ordinary strip of paper into a fully functioning USB drive.
The company plans to release USB-enabled note cards, called ‘DataNotes,’ in the middle of the year.
According to Gizmag, the paper used is about as thick as card stock, and the embedded chip can hold 8-32 MB of data.
Once it’s ripped from the full sheet and folded in half, the paper can be inserted into a USB drive.
Files can be added and removed like any other storage device, and the drive can be reused for as long as the paper and contacts remain intact, which, since it is paper, is not very long.
The team claims that it has not decided on a fixed capacity yet. The idea is that the drives will find a life in mail-out flyers, promotional brochures, and business cards, among other items.
Uploading data to a fresh card does require a special reader and some software to avoid damaging it, so publishing might be a little more complex and take it out of the hands of the ordinary user.
But the technology can also be wireless. If someone doesn’t want to risk damaging the paper drive itself, IntelliPaper also communicates wirelessly with any near field-enabled smartphone or tablet.
It is super cheap to make and the plan is to ship the IntelliPaper to customers in bulk.