A leaf of paper was about a hundred thousand nanometers thick; a third of a million atoms could fit into this span. Smart paper consisted of a network of infinitesimal computers sandwiched between mediatrons. A mediation was a thing that could change its color from place to place; two of them accounted for about two-thirds of the paper's thickness, leaving an internal gap wide enough to contain structures a hundred thousand atoms wide.
Light and air could easily penetrate to this point, so the works were contained within vacuoles— airless buckminsterfullerene shells overlaid with a reflective aluminum layer so that they would not implode en masse whenever the page was exposed to sunlight. The interiors of the buckyballs, then, constituted something close to a eutactic environment.
Here resided the rod logic that made the paper smart. Each of these spherical computers was linked to its four neighbors, north-east-southwest, by a bundle of flexible pushrods running down a flexible, evacuated buckytube, so that the page as a whole constituted a parallel computer made up of about a billion separate processors. The individual processors weren't especially smart or fast and were so susceptible to the elements that typically only a small fraction of them were working, but even with those limitations the smart paper still constituted, among other things, a powerful graphical computer.
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