View Full Version : What happens to an e-ink screen when subjected to a strong EMP


jupstin
04-13-2010, 11:15 AM
Strange question, I realize, but does anyone have an idea of what would happen to the currently displayed screen on an e-ink reader if it was caught in the range of an ElectroMagnetic Pulse (like from a nuclear bomb or some non-nuclear EMP weapon.) I realize that the device would stop working, but would the current page continue to display or would it get all messed up?

Jellby
04-13-2010, 11:40 AM
I tried moving some strong magnets close to the screen... nothing happened :D I haven't tried with an NMR one, though :chinscratch:

Steven Lyle Jordan
04-13-2010, 12:28 PM
Oooh, I can't wait to see how this turns out! :popcorn2:

jupstin
04-13-2010, 12:38 PM
My main reason for asking this is a little project I've been thinking about, but it won't work as well if e-ink screens get all messed up in EMP's

jgray
04-13-2010, 12:42 PM
...As the nuclear blast subsided, his Kindle, shielded from the brunt of the blast by his body, fell to the ground. Although the EMP had fried the circuitry, the display still rendered one final image--a silhouette, showing the look of surprise on his face.

How's that, Steve? :)

jupstin
04-13-2010, 12:45 PM
That rocks

ahammer
04-13-2010, 01:14 PM
I have seen some youtube(I will see if I can find it again) tests in the past where they have microwaved eink screens have been fine. I think the screen would likely still show up.

if the unit was powered off and was not very near to the emp source(near is factored by the size/power of the emp) the unit itself maybe fine. some units would be more likely to brake then others. anything with an (antennas/pluged in) will pick up more power from the emp more then anything that does not. so a sony would be better at pulling thru then kindle. being powered off helps as the system is not already have power push thru it at the rate it was rated for at giving it a buffer for the power serge.

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/eng99/eng99645.htm

that is how I understand it all.. but I'm a programmer(with a passion for science) not a Scientist.

edit: here is an video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiQBEPwEYMc(not the one I saw before but it works) this is a very basic screen but it should seem work about the same on a more complex scale with a full screen.

ahammer
04-13-2010, 01:33 PM
one last point is that even if the hardware is fine.. your software is pry damage with all but the lightest emp without shielding.

HarryT
04-13-2010, 01:46 PM
Given that the way that eInk screens work is by charged particles moving in an electric field, I would think it more than likely that a screen display would be completely scrambled by EMP.

jupstin
04-13-2010, 01:57 PM
Given that the way that eInk screens work is by charged particles moving in an electric field, I would think it more than likely that a screen display would be completely scrambled by EMP.
That's my thought as well, but I was hoping to be wrong. We'll see if anyone knows for sure

mr ploppy
04-13-2010, 02:02 PM
That's my thought as well, but I was hoping to be wrong. We'll see if anyone knows for sure

Let's hope nobody ever finds out for sure.

jupstin
04-13-2010, 02:42 PM
Let's hope nobody ever finds out for sure.

Good point - I'll rephrase - I hope somebody makes me happy by having a strong theoretical reason for thinking the screen would not be messed up

dmaul1114
04-13-2010, 03:27 PM
I'd think even if the screen was fine, other parts of the electronics, the memory (books, the operating system) etc. would be fried/wiped out.

Angst
04-13-2010, 04:23 PM
Considering that light is a weak form of electromagnetic radiation and my eink screen fades in direct sunlight, emp would destroy the image completely.

Jellby
04-14-2010, 06:52 AM
Given that the way that eInk screens work is by charged particles moving in an electric field, I would think it more than likely that a screen display would be completely scrambled by EMP.

However, the particles move in the field created between the top and bottom layers of the screen; I'm not sure that would be affected by a large-scale field.

HarryT
04-14-2010, 06:54 AM
It sounds as if a practical experiment is needed!

ziegl027
04-14-2010, 07:19 AM
Hmmm, I could take the sun-fading unit I'm sending back and put it in my 3T MRI :chinscratch:

Only trick would be figuring out some kind of rig to keep it from flinging across the room and jamming into the far reaches of the donut. I think my bosses would be mad if they had to quench the magnet :rolleyes:

WillAdams
04-14-2010, 08:06 AM
This reflects off a question I'd had previously --- could one make a stylus which would directly manipulate an e-ink screen (say even if it were turned off) --- this would've been useful for hacking the Esquire e-ink cover ad (just re-program the electronics so that when it was turned on it blanked the screen), then one could have used it as an electronic slate.

jupstin
04-14-2010, 11:35 AM
Hmmm, I could take the sun-fading unit I'm sending back and put it in my 3T MRI :chinscratch:

Only trick would be figuring out some kind of rig to keep it from flinging across the room and jamming into the far reaches of the donut. I think my bosses would be mad if they had to quench the magnet :rolleyes:
Forget about the bosses - this is for SCIENCE

ziegl027
04-14-2010, 04:43 PM
Forget about the bosses - this is for SCIENCE


It certainly wouldn't be as bad as a floor cleaner (http://www.simplyphysics.com/flying_objects.html).

edited to add: There's also a great video of some people prying an office chair loose....

mrkarl
04-14-2010, 08:35 PM
well, it's kind of hard to make a decent EMP, but I think that depending on how the pulse hit the reader it would probably go all black or all white, but then I'm not sure what happens to the ink when the unit is shut off, so maybe it would go all black and then white, but maybe not cause when you turn off the reader it sets it to white where it stays until the charges recieve a different set of charges....................well, that's my thinking for the day

Magnesus
04-15-2010, 04:46 AM
I'm not sure what happens to the ink when the unit is shut off

Nothing. The screen that was displayed before shutting the power off is still displayed afterwards.

GeoffC
04-15-2010, 05:14 AM
Let's hope nobody ever finds out for sure.

It sounds as if a practical experiment is needed!



would it really matter at the end, if there is no one left to view the result of the experiment ? :D

jupstin
04-15-2010, 12:14 PM
would it really matter at the end, if there is no one left to view the result of the experiment ? :D

My thought is for the survivors who straggle out of their bunkers and organic farms in the country.

delphidb96
04-15-2010, 02:52 PM
It sounds as if a practical experiment is needed!


Absolutely! I volunteer *all* your e-ink readers as the test devices! :D :D :D

Ain't no one getting any of *mine*, that's for sure. Not *my* preciouses! :D

Derek