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Old 02-13-2009, 05:49 AM   #1
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Moto demoes Android-powered E Ink display

Over at Engadget you can have a look at the "Android-powered E-Ink display" proof of concept by MOTO Development Group (originally from here).

Quote:
The cats at the MOTO Development Group have written a custom driver to create what they claim is the first instance of Android running on an E-Ink display. Unfortunately, there's plenty of that annoying white / black E-Ink flicker as the display refreshes.
Still a long way to go ...

Related: Znet suggests Kindroid (Android on Kindle)
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:56 AM   #2
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Android is a very promising technology. I'd love to see it used in a commercially available e-ink gadget.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:15 AM   #3
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See also Android on E-Ink, which is Android running directly on the AM300 prototyping kit. This gives direct access to the Epson controler, but the kit does not come with much memory or with a powerful processor.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:45 AM   #4
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Hi there. I saw the Moto labs video on vimeo day before yesterday and tried contacting them to see if they were interested in collaborating. I tried leaving a comment on their blog site but it looks like they've deleted the link to my video and my article when I checked just now. No idea why. Their architecture is odd in the sense that you've got an OMAP cpu on the beagle running android but then the xscale cpu with 64MB of ram on the E-Ink kit doing nothing! but receiving image files over USB? Odd implementation that may not really be viable methinks. I think the broadsheetfb architecture which I've been pushing is much simpler. Just a typical framebuffer driver. No USB, no external host needed. Just run it on the kit itself. So you don't need 2 CPUs to run Android. One cpu, one display, one touchscreen is enough! Yeah, the xscale is a wee slugish but as you can see from the video of android on e-ink and fennec on e-ink that Wallcraft linked to (thx btw), it does the job fine for most circumstances. A bit more time and optimization work (which I'm doing on my weekends) and we should be good to go. :-)
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:51 AM   #5
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i forgot to mention, it is odd that the Moto guy in the video blames the flashing on the E-Ink display itself. That's a driver issue and not a hardware issue. You'll notice in my videos, I've got flashing down to quite a minimum, for example, this one where I draw on the kit, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_mLKQXcsgY , there is little to no flashing at all.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
it is odd that the Moto guy in the video blames the flashing on the E-Ink display itself. That's a driver issue and not a hardware issue.
Yes, that's what I thought. (But what do I know - not being a developer myself )

Really fine job you did there, jayakumar.
Looking forward to hear more from you
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayakumar View Post
i forgot to mention, it is odd that the Moto guy in the video blames the flashing on the E-Ink display itself. That's a driver issue and not a hardware issue. You'll notice in my videos, I've got flashing down to quite a minimum, for example, this one where I draw on the kit, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_mLKQXcsgY , there is little to no flashing at all.
Impressive demo. I've seen the SONY 700 updated without having to flash the screen. What I like about your deom is the fact that you've got a touchscreen that repaints fairly well.

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Old 02-13-2009, 05:40 PM   #8
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jayakumar View Post
I tried leaving a comment on their blog site but it looks like they've deleted the link to my video and my article when I checked just now. No idea why.
Hey Jaya ... please don't think we've deleted your post, honestly! We actually just had a few logistical issues - turns out our CMS required someone to approve the comment before it get's posted. Anyhow, now that we know we have to approve comments, we are!

You're absolutely right in most of your comments, it's just a proof of concept. In fact, we considered porting Android to Gumstix (we're glad we didn't since you are already there with it!) but we chose the BeagleBoard path simply because it's a more up-to-date development environment and is more capable than the PXA device on the Gumstix. One of our interests here is exposing E-Ink to creative developers - people that are more apt to programming in Java rather than C.

The driver is definitely not optimized by any means. But just to clarify, the flashing is needed in every scenario that I've seen in which quality grayscale is required - otherwise you'll get ghosting (many of you have probably seen this before). Going black-to-white can be more responsive, as you've shown.

BTW I really like the eyes in your last video there ;-)
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mikea View Post
Hey Jaya ... please don't think we've deleted your post, honestly! We actually just had a few logistical issues - turns out our CMS required someone to approve the comment before it get's posted. Anyhow, now that we know we have to approve comments, we are!
Ah, whew! Ok, that is good to hear. I was feeling a bit hurt about that. But I'm okay now. Glad to hear from you and nice to meet you. :-)


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But just to clarify, the flashing is needed in every scenario that I've seen in which quality grayscale is required - otherwise you'll get ghosting (many of you have probably seen this before). Going black-to-white can be more responsive, as you've shown.
BTW I really like the eyes in your last video there ;-)
Thanks. Yes, I agree but only partially. Flashing is required to get rid of buildup, fully agreed. But I believe quality grayscale is achievable without flashing as I show in this Fennec on E-Ink video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4WBdagDgSg ) The driver and/or the frontend application can both make a runtime determination whether to use a full flashing update mode or a non-flashing mode. In the demos that I've been doing, I've found that buildup is minimal, so a full flash after every 200 iterations of activity (would be better if I was doing flash based on every 200 iterations of significant content change) is sufficient to achieve good 16-level grayscale.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:15 PM   #11
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Question: Is it possible to only flash only the parts of the display that have actually changed?
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:16 PM   #12
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These trends go in circles, much like haggis. You'll be hip again soon
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:18 PM   #13
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Question: Is it possible to only flash only the parts of the display that have actually changed?
Certainly. Partial update with and without flashing is supported by the hardware and the broadsheetfb driver as well.
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