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Old 04-07-2007, 09:55 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Bend It like Paper with Plastic Logic's e-reader prototype

A reporter of the Times just got a sneak peek at the prototype of a still unnamed, bendable e-reader from Cambridge spin-out Plastic Logic, sounding quite thrilled:

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One of the trial designs seen by The Times comprises a screen backed by soft, white leather, which is folded over and buttoned in the manner of a wallet. The fact that it looks more like something one might buy in Gucci than in Maplin will no doubt add to its appeal.
There are some hints in the article of what we may expect from Plastic Logic's first e-readers:
  • "dimensions of a magazine", three available sizes ("A4, handbag and pocket")
  • "black and white" initially (2 colors)
  • matt display
  • no backlit
  • "upload content from a source"
  • in talks with "a number of leading newspapers"
  • "display the text in a publicly available format"
  • color and video maybe in later models
  • price of first model: £100 ~ $200
Rumor also has it that the reader is due on the US market for the 2008 holiday season.
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:00 PM   #2
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I wonder how difficult it would be to add some kind of touch-sensitivity to a flexible display? Not full Wacom-style pressure sensitivity, but just the ability to have some kind of navigation and markup. I think this would be very useful even without stylus interaction (especially the A4 version), but I really use the stylus a lot on my iLiad.
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:14 PM   #3
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Cool stuff!
Hope more and more e-reader come out, then we can get those reader at more cheaper price.
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Old 04-10-2007, 01:45 PM   #4
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It sounds almost perfect. I will definitely be getting one of these. If anyone from Plasticlogic is reading this I would be more than happy to try out an early prototype if you want.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:32 PM   #5
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I'd like to have more information about the user interface. It seems that you can turn the page by bending one of the corners of the device, but I wonder how we'll be able to select books etc...
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:29 AM   #6
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nekokami I agree, if this flexible, thin, epaper can become writeable somehow, it would be ideal.

Could it be possible, given its plastic nature, that the underlying matrix might itself directly react to a stylus? Could micro-pressure sensors be laid into the matrix itself?

Direct writing would be really something. Zero calibration issues, direct from screen to processor recording. Ah just dreaming I suppose - still how many ways are their to record writing movements, perhaps the pen could pick up signals from the epaper's underlying matrix, or the pen like in the iliad, sends positional information.

Perhaps the lag between the epaper's response would be too great.

I must admit a flexible page, also suggests docking, perhaps two sided pages into a binder, and having a number of things opened at once. Gets exciting just thinking about it.

Writablity is needed, for that would make it perfect.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:05 AM   #7
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Could not help myself. A binder could keep the library, the epages could load the reading material and be taken out of the binder, the bulk of processing and storage in the binder, the epages being lightweight in every respect (bluetooth page loading? Processed by the binder and sent for simple display when needed? - interesting when things get this flexible and thin, the possibilities just seem explosive).

How about a binder being an interactive, writable, PDA (even if it had an LCD screen). I could see that working on a whole lot of levels (GPS maps sent to the handheld page from the cover/binder dangling from a belt perhaps).

It is multiple epages, displaying different documents, that gets me especially, I often work with four or five books and articles in front of me. I read a lot of history for pleasure, and a map open as I read, an encyclopaedia (biographies of people mentioned etc.,.), perhaps a dictionary, using the tablet/binder for interaction (searches, lookups, notes, and scribbling on pages being read even if I read them on the epaper, but mark them on the LCD).

Sorry about all the wild speculation, but for some reason this has really hit me, I think it may have been the pictures of the epaper being used and the controls being a "stick" on one side, so simple it would seem a shame to overburden the thing, but rather keep it as the simplest type of page flipper doing the minimal amount of processing, and holding enough memory to hold a really really big book but not a library.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:16 AM   #8
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I'll stop posting, I promise. even if this is a slow page turner, two overlapping pages "hinged" on opposite sides, would allow the epaper to anticipate the next page.

One epage covers the other completely, but the next page (covered) has already loaded the next epage. Lift the top one, pull the bottom one up, the page is literally turned, for the previous top page now falls behind and begins loading the next page.

The use of plastics, is bound to be a much cheaper production cycle than anything involving glass, or indeed any rigid material. Manufacturing might well be more like printing (because of the flexibility of the substrates) allowing for a very cheap product, and with cheapness the possiblity of making a gigantic impact.
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:04 AM   #9
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GregS, have you read Neil Stephenson's The Diamond Age? I think you'd like the technology he describes, whether or not you liked the story.
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregS View Post
I'll stop posting, I promise. even if this is a slow page turner, two overlapping pages "hinged" on opposite sides, would allow the epaper to anticipate the next page.

One epage covers the other completely, but the next page (covered) has already loaded the next epage. Lift the top one, pull the bottom one up, the page is literally turned, for the previous top page now falls behind and begins loading the next page.

The use of plastics, is bound to be a much cheaper production cycle than anything involving glass, or indeed any rigid material. Manufacturing might well be more like printing (because of the flexibility of the substrates) allowing for a very cheap product, and with cheapness the possiblity of making a gigantic impact.
Hey don't stop!
Those are good ideas. You never know, maybe the powers that be have ears around here to pick up on such functions or ways to implement them.
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Old 11-13-2007, 11:47 AM   #11
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Wow! This sound squite phenominal, if it actually makes it to distro in the time period mentioned. I would be all over this like white on rice! One problem I might forsee with it will be, as GregS mentioned, the durability factor. Any who has ever been a kid knows what happens to plastic, metal, etc., that gets repeatedly folded and opened; over time it simply becomes two pieces. Now if it's somehow linked/adhered to the leather in some way... I'm not sure how, but it would be interesting to see in action.

When this device comes out (provided it has PDF support), I'll be dumping my Sony Reader, Words Gear, and TabletPC!
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:35 PM   #12
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How about transparent rubber that's been plasticized? 5mm thick.
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Old 11-13-2007, 05:11 PM   #13
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How about transparent rubber that's been plasticized? 5mm thick.
Oh, let's be facetious Though 5mm seems a little thick to be folding in half. Interesting take though.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:13 PM   #14
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GregS, have you read Neil Stephenson's The Diamond Age? I think you'd like the technology he describes, whether or not you liked the story.
That's an incredible story. It set me to thinking about the possibilities of electronic books.

Andy
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:35 PM   #15
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I absolutely love this book. I have both a Palm eReader version and an Audible audiobook version. I've both read and listened to the book numerous times. I want an "Illustrated Primer" of my own. Forget this Star Trek data-pad nonsense.
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