The 'paper' PC: A tablet fit for your squad room?

Plastic Logic demonstrated the PaperTab — a computer no thicker than a floppy sheet of plastic — at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year

Imagine you are sitting in your agency lineup and in front of each seat there is a paper-thin tablet computer on the desk. Your OIC starts the lineup by showing several photos of persons of interest on the screen at the front of the briefing room.

Then, with a swipe of his hand, the OIC sends those photos to the tablet computer in front of you.

You grab your tablet, roll it up into a small cylindrical shape, and walk to your car to start the shift.

This may sound like it is science fiction but it may well be in your squad rooms in the next four to five years.

Several months ago, I wrote about the wearable computer and the probability of its use in law enforcement. That concept still has several years of development before being offered to the public.

While researching up and coming technology, I stumbled upon a U.K.-based company, Plastic Logic, who has developed a foldable paper thin computer. This is not a concept or an idea, it exists. There is already a prototype for this “computer” or as Plastic Logic calls it e-paper.

Plastic Logic demonstrated an E-Ink “tablet” — dubbed the PaperTab — at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year.

No thicker than a floppy sheet of plastic, these devices can accept touch input, and can share data when in contact or linked with one another. What this means is that once you are linked up with another PaperTab, you can continue a map or a document or send an email just by swiping the message across the screen.

This is just a concept — the PaperTab demonstration at CES 2013 required them to be hard wired to a power supply and central computer — but it’s a working concept.

According to the Plastic Logic website, this particular concept is what launched the e-readers many of us now enjoy as a tablet type reader but the PaperTab takes it one step further: it will not need the hardened plastic base the current tablets use now. Once developed for public use, it will stand alone and will be foldable.

By demonstrating the PaperTab, Plastic Logic wanted to prove this technology is possible and hopes their prototype will encourage other companies to work on the technology to install all the required components on a foldable paper thin computer.

I am sure once the PaperTab is produced, the law enforcement community will see its potential.

Stay safe. 

About the author

John Rivera is a Patrol Officer with the Bremerton Police Department. John’s career BPD started as a Volunteer Reserve Officer and while he volunteered his time as a reserve officer he work as Police Officer at Naval Base Kitsap. He was hired full time in 2006 and attended the Washington State Police Academy. While at the academy, John was selected as the class “Techy” to help with the technologically deficient class instructors. Before John’s law enforcement career, he gained his computer experience through earning a degree in Computer Programming and then working in the computer industry as a Network Administrator and Systems Engineer for several companies.

Contact John Rivera

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