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CNET News Video: Latest developments from legendary lab
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CNET News Video: Latest developments from legendary lab

3:56 /

The Palo Alto Research Center, a spinoff lab from Xerox, recently opened its doors to show off paper with disappearing ink, solar concentrators, and a way to purify water that was inspired by toner cartridges. CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos took a tour and has the latest on the lab's current research projects.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi, this is Michael Kanellos at www.news.com. >> Today, were at PARC, the Palo Alto Research Center. It used to be known as Xerox PARC. And back in the seventies, they invented Ethernet, inkjet printing, the PC and the mouse. Although, there's some controversy if the mouse was created here or at SIR, either way, this is like Stone hinge [assumed spelling] for Geeks. And now the place is working on clean technologies. And they're still doing research on printing. >> So let's go check it out. ^M00:00:26 [ Music ] ^M00:00:35 >> Eric, Clark's [phonetic] working on reusable paper, tell us about that? >> The ideal originally started when we were looking at what happens to information between when you see it on your screen and when you actually use it in real life. And so we've done some studies. And maybe 25% of what people print gets recycle the day it's printed. >> Now, what kind of energy does that save? Is it mostly the recycling, the fact that you're using the same piece of paper over and over or is? >> A lot of the energy that you use in paper is in the paper itself. So there's about two hundred thousand jewels [assumed spelling] to make a new sheet of paper. About half that to make a recycled sheet of paper and our technology takes about a hundredth of that to make a new image. The paper changes color when you print it. So there's no ink or toner that moves on to the paper. All the magic is in the paper and it last, right now it last a few hours. We're working on making it last longer then that. And so the next time when you put that paper back in the machine, it erases that previously image and writes a new one. >> So Rob what do you got here? It looks like... >> We... >> [Inaudible]. >> [Inaudible] the higher dimension documents... >> Okay. >> Which basically is an explosion of documents into what I'd call the dimensions of virtual renderings [assumed spelling] on screens, as well as the dimensions of three dimensions on [inaudible] space. >> Okay. >> Not only can the content be customized, but you can see the face, the cutout on the head. And we have not only [inaudible] cards, but you've got, they're a very simple box. You've got a box with an insert like this. You might have custom packaging, so that you have all these structural parts. You've got the graphics on the structure, and graphics can be variable [assumed spelling] information. And now what we're doing is also making the structures variable, as well. >> [Inaudible] people get these things, they just smile. They say this is much more exciting, and real. Just as these as, so it's the whole dimensions. Dimensionalities is just unlimited. That's great. >> This is a water purification system. Water comes into these channels, spins around. As it spins around, some [inaudible] force forces out impurities, solids, and even biological material. >> The ideals came from, actually how they put printer corner on pieces of paper. >> So what we're looking at here is a SolFocus concentrator. SolFocus is the company that PARC has worked with to develop concentrator technology. So this is the SolFocus First generation panel. And the way it works is that light comes in from the sun, strikes this first mirror, bounces up to a secondary mirror, which is located here, and then is finally focused down to a small receiver element. And what's really great about concentrators is that you take in what would normally be this whole area of semi conductor, and you replaced it with very small of the expensive material. These are five hundred X, meaning that sunlight comes in at one sun, and by the time it lands on the detacher, it five hundred suns of intensity. So the PARC innovation for this was to basically take this ideal and shrink it down and reduce each concentrator from being about a foot in diameter, to being about an inch in diameter. It's the same concentration ratio, but now the whole thing can be molded in glass with precision tools, so that you don't have to do the mechanical alignment of all these part. >> The Prototypes [assumed spelling] that PARC showed us might come to the market in about three or four years, but the lab's also looking further out. One intriguing project, [inaudible] membranes that capture CO2 from the atmosphere. These things could clean up the air around power plants. It'll take about ten years to get to market, until then, I'm Michael Kanellos, with www.news.com.

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