Intellipaper stores your data on feeble USB paper


The last time I counted, I had at least 10 USB flash drives scattered across my desk. Some of my own, some of my work, some of when companies send over review units, some from press events, or some I had gotten at art exhibitions. If USB flash drives became currency one day, technology journalists would be the richest people in the world.

But they’re not. Flash drives are a way for PR companies to consolidate information into a compact package so we can pay attention as we try a new product, instead of taking spec notes. Unfortunately, after the article is said and done, the USB drive goes back into a drawer where many of its cousins reside, never to be touched again. It’s a waste of plastic and perfectly good technology.

To combat this uneconomical practice, Andrew DePaula and team have invented the intelliPaper. With intelliPaper, promotional USB sticks can be recycled, reused, and mailed without the bulk of physical plastic drives. At first glance, it looks like your average cardboard paper with silver prints at the end. But tear this perforated edge out and stick it into your computer’s USB slot and you have a functioning, flash drive. It’s an ingenius response to the increasing use of USB technology in a recyclable, disposable way. And in turn, we no longer have to feel guilty for hoarding little plastic drives.

“We’ve been selling the product to a handful of companies since April. These are real projects that companies paid us to do.”

I find intelliPaper quite intuitive. For disposable, one-time-use purposes, intelliPaper is an excellent way to curb manufacturing costs on drives. Not that there is a mobility issue with USB drives, but flattening it to the thinness of paper also makes it mailable in a regular envelope. Why is this important? Let’s be frank: People are curious. Even if you don’t care about the info kit that was sent to your house, if it comes with a paper USB, you’d at least want to stick it in your computer and see what’s up. From a business card standpoint, this is also a unique way to program your portfolio, website shortcut, or resume into the intelliPaper strip instead of where QR codes may currently be.

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