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Old 05-24-2007, 12:21 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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E Ink reveals e-paper with video-switching speeds / iRex wins award

Until now e-paper technology has been as slow as a tortoise when it comes to updating the content of a screen. No good, thought the guys at E Ink Corp., and they came up with a plan to accelerate e-paper to video-switching speeds. The first results are being presented at the SID 2007 exhibit:

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"Our research team is demonstrating here an ultra-bright ink that is approaching 50 percent reflectance of ambient light compared to 35 percent in shipping monochrome products," said Dr. Michael McCreary, vice president of Research and Advanced Development at E Ink. "Moreover, the advanced ink is capable of high switching speeds. We have put it all together and today we are unveiling our first-ever color research prototype that can play smooth color video."
Before you get too excited, keep in mind that the press (and that includes us) loves to write about new e-paper technologies as if they'll become available next month. Alas, according to E Ink, it may still require several years for e-paper with video switching capability to reach the market.

PS: E Ink also gave iRex Founder Dr. Alex Henzen an award "in recognition of his contributions to the development of electrophoretic displays and the integration of these displays into an innovative electronic-book product" for his work on the iLiad e-book reader.
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:03 AM   #2
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I can wait several years. The tech I have now works ok. But it would be very cool to see something like this down the road -- say, on a Linux-based UMPC kind of format.

Where did that picture come from? I didn't see it in the article.
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:16 AM   #3
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Picture is from an official iRex presentation (the girls are holding an iLiad in their hands).
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:58 AM   #4
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The screen is pretty white, if only it was true!
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:23 PM   #5
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Great news! Really, it's too bad that the consumers will have to wait years to get their hands on the new device. But i guess that by that time, ebooks will be (almost) fully adopted.
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:56 PM   #6
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I'm curious as to what effect video-refresh speeds will have on battery life (one of the big sellling points of e-ink).

If most of the battery savings over, say a 60Hz LCD come from the bistable nature of e-ink, what effect will updating the e-ink at 60Hz have?

The crispness of the display might still be a benefit, but it sort of seems like this defeats the purpose of e-ink.

(BTW, what's the correct way to write about the e-ink technology vs. E Ink, Inc?)
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:09 PM   #7
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Video is 30fps, what refresh rate would that entail?

I'd think the power drain would be similar to the Iliad's. Drawing on it is displayed as you go, it must have some kind of 'video performance'.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bingle
(BTW, what's the correct way to write about the e-ink technology vs. E Ink, Inc?)
I couldn't say with any authority, but I'd think bi-stable, or electrophoretic if you want to be fancy, would suffuce for a generic technology descriptor.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:29 PM   #9
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E Ink is the correct way of spelling the company name. I tend to use the same spelling to describe the technology, but there others who use "e-ink" instead.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:37 PM   #10
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The way I write it 'eink' is quicker to type but it always looked like 'oink' at first.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:06 PM   #11
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Bingle, LCDs and electrophoretic displays both use electric potential to manipulate their media so they don't inherently use a lot of power. What consumes power is most LCDs are light valves that screen out ~95% of the light pumped through. That's where the real power consumption is. Electrophoretic, cholesteric several other display types are reflective so the use of photons is inherently more efficient.

With that said, if an E-Ink display were updated at 60Hz and compared to an LCD's power consumption (without counting the backlight), the LCD would probably win because data signals run about 1/2 to 1/3 the potential of electrophoretic displays. A digital wrist watch is an LCD but comparing the technologies gets complicated.
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:00 AM   #12
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I would also think there's a difference between being able to display video and actually displaying video. Hopefully, if what you are doing is reading and perhaps some occasional annotation or sketching, the power usage would still be pretty low, but watching a video probably would drain the battery a lot more quickly.
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Old 06-02-2007, 08:40 PM   #13
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Exactly, SpiritCat. But do remember advertising video sets people's expectations on usage and, subsequently, their habits.
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