Another example of anthropologists in product development: As a consequence of anthropological research, Xerox is developing a new kind of paper where the printed information simply disappears within about 16 hours, allowing the paper to be reused.
Why this? Xerox-anthropologist Brinda Dalal, an anthropologist at Xerox, found out that 21 percent of copier documents ed up in the recycling bin on the same day they are produced. In most offices, paper is used as a medium of display rather than storage. Paper is only only printed out or copied when needed for meetings, editing and annotating, or reading away from a computer. The result is, of course, an enormous quantity of waste paper and environmental problems.
Actually, the New York Times wrote about this self-erasable paper one year ago. They called anthropologist Brinda Dalal for “garbologist”. She told, she was surprised by the results: “Nobody looks at the ephemeral information going through people’s waste baskets.”
>> Publications by Brinda Dalal (several papers to download)