December 14, 2007 12:10 pm

One way to make Time magazine’s list of Inventions of the Year is to make your invention disappear. It sounds strange, but two of Time’s choices this year do just that.

The first disappearing act was invented to cut down on paper waste. If your office is like my office, there is a lot of printing going on all the time. Many documents that we print are needed only for a single viewing. Xerox estimates that as many as two out of every five pages printed in the office are for what it calls “daily” use, like e-mails or meeting notes.

For documents that are needed only for a short time, scientist Paul Smith at Xerox Research Centre of Canada has invented Erasable Paper.Erasable Paper contains a chemical that changes color when it is exposed to light. The image lasts about 16-24 hours, and then returns to a blank slate. Xerox is working with an industrial printing company to develop a device to write the images on the specialized paper. The paper is still in the prototyping stage.

Not only is this a great idea, but Invention Girl thinks this can save millions of trees! Good Job Xerox!

Our next disappearing act could be construed as office-related – if you’ve ever been rejected by a company for having too many tattoos. Statistics say that every one out of five people who got a tattoo regrets it, leading one company to develop an easier way to get rid of them.

Freedom-2 ink is produced from biodegradable dyes coated in plastic, unlike the heavy metal dyes used most commonly for tattoos. The Freedom-2 ink tattoos can be removed in a single treatment because the capsules burst upon contact with a laser, and your body can absorb the dye safely.

Unfortunately for those who already have a Mickey Mouse tattoo or “HATE” across the knuckles, this invention only works if you’re tattooed with the Freedom-2 ink in the first place. The dye won’t be available until December, so you may want to hold off on inking that hip tribal design onto your arm for a little while.

Hundreds of new innovations in technology are invented every year, but only a few make Time magazine’s cut. You never know – with persistence, hard work and a little luck, maybe your invention could make the list someday.

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