By Richard Romano
Published: November 26, 2012
[caption id="attachment_10008" align="alignright" width="300"] Intellipaper[/caption] USB drives can take on all kinds of shapes, limited only by the size of the port. Intellipaper plans to roll out one with a memory chip embedded in a sheet of paper. That not only makes it about as small as possible, but also foldable and thin as a sheet of card stock. The resulting device can do all the things a normal flash drive can, but you can also mail it cheaply as part of a postcard. And because the drives consist mostly of paper, they can go into the recycling instead of the trash. ... If you receive such a card, you tear off the bit of card stock with the embedded memory chip along a perforation, fold the torn bit twice to make the drive thicker and then plug it right into a USB slot.The company is still working on the drives, and thus far the capacity is limited to 66MB and are read-only, but Intellipaper is developing them apace. They envision one of the biggest uses to be electronic business cards (I’d also vote for press kits). TechNewsDaily evaluated the performance of some early demo “units”:
The demo units survived their trip in the mail to us. We then tested their durability in a wallet (where a business card will likely go), and after exposure to water. Getting rubbed repeatedly with fingers and in a leather wallet didn't seem to affect them, at least not in any way we could tell. Dipping them in water did, though. The drive didn't work after getting wet, as the paper became too soft to slide into the USB slot. That could be a problem if a business card is in a back pocket on a hot day, or anywhere on a rainy day. The drive did work after it dried out, though it might not if it were rolled up into a mushy ball when wet.It’s a pretty cool idea, although I do wonder how the electronic chip portion of the paper-based drive affects its ability to be recycled. Still, I’d love to get my hands on a unit or two.