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E. A More Plastic Future

Narrator: This is Science Today. Using plastics in electronics may provide cheaper, more accessible technology in the future. Sue Carter, an associate professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, says one future scenario would be creating displays that would simulate paper.

Carter: An example would be textbooks for schools for instance. It ends up that textbooks are very expensive. It's hard to simulate information and a lot of schools don't even have a textbook for each person. We'd like to provide an electronic display where anybody - for very cheaply - could be able to download books or any information they'd want. So information would be ready accessible to the entire public and they could display this on something that everybody will be able to afford and carry around.

Narrator: Besides being cheaper and more efficient, plastics are also better for the environment.

Carter: For example, lead is a common material which is in every single solder joint or every single electronic circuit you see. You could replace that material with a conducting polymer which would be in theory, very much more benign than the lead.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.