Guest Author - Kathryn K Free
I am reading more on my eBook Reader. Why? My eyes do not become tired nor blurry. When I work on my computer for hours at a time, I find that my eyes take nearly an hour to readjust for seeing clearly. What I have begun doing is reading what I can on my eBook Reader. My eye strain has lessened, and headaches are non existent. I have come to love this E Ink. So I wanted to understand what it really is and what I could expect for the future. I was pleasantly surprised by future applications!
So I went directly to the source to read about this technology. E Ink Corporation was founded in 1997 based on research started at the MIT Media Lab. E Ink Corporation has become the leading supplier of electronic paper display (EPD) technologies over the past 12 years.
E Ink combined with ‘Electronic Paper Display' is what makes this process revolutionary. Together they possess a paper-like contrast appearance giving you the ‘experience' of reading from paper. The technology is relatively simple. Electronic Paper Display is enabled by electronic ink. The electronic ink carries a charge enabling it to be viewable through the electronic paper display. There is no backlight, as with computer screens, so your are able to view the screen under a broad range of lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. E Ink's electronic ink uses ultra-low power with its reflective display.
E Ink and EPD's gave eBook Readers a boost forward. Previous eBook Readers strained the eyes while today they provide a pleasurable reading experience. However, eBook Readers are not the only application for E Ink and EPD's. Applications where light and viewing angles are important can utilize the technology. Transportation signage and cell phone screens are just two.
The Future Of EPDs is bright. The most intriguing for me is the ‘flexible' EPD. E Ink Vizplex® Imaging Film is currently being placed on displays. Flexible displays applicatins are thin making this imaging film ideal. The E Ink Vizplex® Imaging Film allows for viewing angles withou distortation when touched or flexed. This flexible technology is already enabled and fully functional but is not high-resolution or active.
Once the high-resolution and active matrixes are developed E Ink will not only have the appearance of paper, but will be thin, light, flexible and rollable! The vision of E Ink was to combine these attributes into a product called RadioPaper®. RadioPaper® is a lightweight flexible display. Ultimately, RadioPaper® will permit most surfaces to become a display. You will be able to print on glass, plastic, fabric and even paper. This technology will bring information out of the traditional devices into surfaces all around us today.
So exactly what is E Ink? Electronic ink is a proprietary material. This material is processed into a film for integration into EPD's. The theory is straightforward as well as revolutionary. Chemistry, physics and electronics are combined to develop this concept. Microcapsules are the principal components that are either positively or negatively charged. When the microcapsules are charged the E Ink is printed onto a sheet of plastic film through a laminated layer of circuitry being controlled by a display driver. The microcapsules are suspended in a liquid allowing them to be printed onto the screen.
While reading and understanding E Ink the one feature I never heard anything about was color. I am confident that this is in development, but just not mentioned as of today. When it becomes color I predict the prospects for this product to be unending. I can envision posters and signs to be like they are in the movie Harry Potter. I can see our appliances having the rollable RadioPaper® be attached so that directions and warranty information is at your fingertips. I can see the digital cameras adapting their LCD screens to this new technology. Imagine being able to view pictures taken in bright sunlight!