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Researchers turn paper into functional USB sticks

Posting in Design

Keep losing your USB drives? No matter -- once finished, throw it away.

Researchers based at IntelliPaper have created a new version of the trusty USB stick -- diamond encrustations and peculiar designs aside -- in order to create a storage solution made from paper.

First reported by Gizmag, IntelliPaper is a fully disposable USB drive that can be used either wirelessly or by plugging it into your device's USB port. Created by combining paper with an embedded silicon chip, the paper USB is roughly as thick as card stock, and can be used as long as the paper stays intact.

Each USB stick can hold 8 - 32MB of data, although the team have not decided on a fixed capacity yet.

Once the disposable USB stick has been ripped from the main sheet of paper and folded in half, the paper can then be connected to a USB drive. Alternatively, to make the device last a little longer, wireless technology can connect the storage system remotely.

As they are cheap to produce, the team plans to sell such items in bulk.

The uses for such a product are varied; from travelers sending out postcards complete with a selection of holiday snaps to gift cards or vouchers. Businesses may find the technology useful for brochures, sending out invoices complete with digital copies or simply to save on printing costs when handling documents.

The green project was first launched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, and although it didn't catch the attention of enough investors, the developers have signed a deal with a U.S. distributor to work on the product range. The team hope to release the first product range of USB "note cards," dubbed DataNotes, this year.

— By on January 1, 2013, 7:58 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure