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Old 06-20-2008, 04:28 PM   #1
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e-ink and backlighting - a solution

To start this thread off, this is my first post. I used to be an avid book reader, but with todays' hectic life, time is limiting. I am awaiting for the prices of these e-ink readers to drop first before I commit a few bills to attain one.

Now to my main point. I have scoured websites like engadget, gizmodo, mobileread, searched through google, and have come up with not one example. I would personally love to see an e-ink reader with a backlight. I have personally come up with a way to do this, which has been overlooked by the major companies.

Electroluminescent lighting. Look at THIS image. This nightlight is very inexpensive to power, using only 2 cents of electricity per year when constantly plugged in.

By placing this luminous panel behind the e-ink display, when you turn on the light, it will glow softly, allowing you to read the text in front of it. This will allow a much more pleasant reading experience than the glare from even a small book lamp. Plus, you won't have a light that will hinder your parner from his or her precious sleep.

Perhaps this has been tried already, or perhaps the e-ink technology will not allow a backlight of any kind. I am unsure. But I do know this. If this idea IS possible, then turning the glowlight on will have virtually NO effect on the power consumption of the battery.

Does anyone here have any more information or comments regarding this idea of backlights with e-ink?
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:43 PM   #2
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Scoured, huh? Sounds like you need to scour a bit more.

Battery life is not the (only) reason you do not see backlights on eInk readers. As many have pointed out on this site, eInk panels are opaque -- light does not pass through. Backlighting does not work.

Several people have suggested various solutions for lighting a reader from the front (besides a good old-fashioned, well-lit room), most are variations on either a standard, clip-on book lamp or something similar to the LightWedge. There is also speculation that a later version of the ePaper diplay might be able to use a back-mounted light, but I think that is still just speculation.

For now, there is nothing integrated, and eInk remains BYOLight.

Jack

P.S. I almost forgot. Astak has suggested a book light much like the clip-ons, but it would be attached, and could be turned on or off as needed. Have to wait and see what they release. See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...870#post199870

Last edited by Jack B Nimble; 06-20-2008 at 04:53 PM. Reason: Added the P.S.
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:49 PM   #3
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The issue is that unlike an LCD, the display in the Kindle, Sony Reader, Irex, etc, is opaque. Lighting from the back at best will do nothing for you, and at worst will shine through gaps in the coating and wash things out since non of those photons will interact with the particles in the display.

So, an E Ink display needs to be front lit, not back lit. So, aside from the power concerns which you address, there are challenges in getting uniform lighting from a source integrated with the display.
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Aye. Ya put me in my place. Perhaps it was the way I was searching. Looking only for keywords instead of reading cognitavely. Thanks for the reply.

I suppose, then, the only way backlighting would be possible is if E-Ink integrated luminous material in the display itself, somehow.

And here I thought I had something... *shrug*


unless...

bugger. that wouldnt work either. Thanks again.

Last edited by griffonwing; 06-20-2008 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffonwing View Post
Aye. Ya put me in my place. Perhaps it was the way I was searching. Looking only for keywords instead of reading cognitavely. Thanks for the reply.

I suppose, then, the only way backlighting would be possible is if E-Ink integrated luminous material in the display itself, somehow.

And here I thought I had something... *shrug*


unless...

bugger. that wouldnt work either. Thanks again.
Actually, you have an idea, but you'd be better off working on something similar to a LightWedge.

IOW, Opaque is *OPAQUE*! The base layer of the e-ink material contains lots of circuitry and really *can't* be replaced with an electroluminescent panel. Sorry, but you'll just have to live with the bug light or the LightWedge along with the rest of us.

Derek
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:06 PM   #6
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If you want something with a backlight--ever consider an Asus EEE PC? The price tag is still sort of heavy ($300 for the cheapest model), but you get a very portable computer and a backlit (is that the right word?) screen.

I don't think I'd like to read a book on the screen--but then again, I'm not a fan of the backlighting.

Edit: Also--if you're looking for both a backlight and a low price tag: http://www.ebookwise.com/

Last edited by Duodora; 06-20-2008 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffonwing View Post
Aye. Ya put me in my place. Perhaps it was the way I was searching. Looking only for keywords instead of reading cognitavely. Thanks for the reply.

I suppose, then, the only way backlighting would be possible is if E-Ink integrated luminous material in the display itself, somehow.

And here I thought I had something... *shrug*


unless...

bugger. that wouldnt work either. Thanks again.
Well, we hope your place is here. Welcome aboard. It's a problem a lot of us have been mulling over for awhile. It's an unfilled need in the market. I think it's great that you're thinking of the possibilities of what could be.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:43 PM   #8
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i think a lot of us who buy e-ink readers do so because we get eyestrain easily. that is certainly true in my case. i have an eee pc but can't read on it for extended periods any more than i could read on my computer - i get very bad eyestrain. so for me, having my cybook not lit is the reason i can use it.

you can, btw, get a very small clip-on light for your ebook reader if you need light. i believe some even have their own batteries.
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by delphidb96 View Post
Actually, you have an idea, but you'd be better off working on something similar to a LightWedge.

IOW, Opaque is *OPAQUE*! The base layer of the e-ink material contains lots of circuitry and really *can't* be replaced with an electroluminescent panel.
Ahh, but what if the little white bits in e-Ink themselves were luminescent? Huh?

I'm not listening to any counterarguments for a while - I'm too busy imagining that I'm Aquaman, reading from my marine bioluminescent ebook device, on my couch in an octopus's garden in the shade.

Cheers,
Aquaman
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack B Nimble View Post
eInk panels are opaque -- light does not pass through. Backlighting does not work.
You just haven't tried powerful enough backlighting.

Seriously. Put your hand over a floodlight sometime, you'll be surprised at how much you can see of the internal structure (you may also experience a certain amount of warming... your hand does soak up most of the light). I suspect the same would happen with an eInk display. The problem might be loss of contrast and the fluids boiling off. But it would probably work.
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:08 AM   #11
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You just haven't tried powerful enough backlighting.

Seriously. Put your hand over a floodlight sometime, you'll be surprised at how much you can see of the internal structure (you may also experience a certain amount of warming... your hand does soak up most of the light). I suspect the same would happen with an eInk display. The problem might be loss of contrast and the fluids boiling off. But it would probably work.
Cybook Gen4 : backlit ! Super Deluxe pack includes power generator and trailer for transport.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:47 PM   #12
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Cybook Gen4 : backlit ! Super Deluxe pack includes power generator and trailer for transport.
Cold fusion powered laser perhaps...might save on weight
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:03 PM   #13
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I know this has been mentioned on the forum before, but I couldn't find it in a search...

One option would be side lighting, using white LEDs at the side of the screen. I used to have a Sonly Clie PDA with an LCD screen that was side-lit rather than backlit. It was in colour and with pretty good dot pitch too.

The first Nintendo Gameboy Advances had similar screens (non-backlit, colour LCDs) and people were able to retrofit some white LEDs to the side the screen and light them that way.

Not quite as bright as backlit, and colours a bit washed out but very usable.

Size of screen might be an issue though since you are lighting from the perimeters
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:12 PM   #14
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The trouble with light diffusers (ie "side lighting") is that, by their very nature, they somewhat "blur" the image, and you get that "down-side" whether or not you're using the lighting. I'm not sure that's a "sacrifice" I'm willing to make.
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by radius View Post
One option would be side lighting, using white LEDs at the side of the screen. I used to have a Sonly Clie PDA with an LCD screen that was side-lit rather than backlit. It was in colour and with pretty good dot pitch too.

...

Size of screen might be an issue though since you are lighting from the perimeters
I actually mentioned this idea in my earlier post, but maybe it was not clear that the LightWedge is a sidelight. The size of the screen is a problem, as you said. When they cover a small area, they can be thin causing only a little distortion, as is the case with a PDA. As the coverage area gets larger, you need something more substantial to diffuse the light, which is why the lightwedge is not very thin, leading to problems Harry mentioned above.

Jack
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