Sunday, 26 August 2007

ePaper & other technology

I have great hope of ePaper and similar technology to one day really support "paperless" office. I know how much I like to read from a book instead of a monitor. Among the reasons that reading from book is better are:
1. more comfortable reading. Paper uses reflective light verses monitor's emitting flashing light.
2. no energy is consumed while reading whereas monitors continue to consume energy even when the information on the screen is not changing.
3. form-factor. Books are so much lighter and friendly.
.... [and the list can continue]

Then comes ePaper, a promise of flexible, reflective, non-energy consuming when not changing content technology. There are two basic versions of ePaper, [from wikipedia]

Electronic paper was first developed in the 1970s by Nick Sheridon at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. The first electronic paper, called Gyricon, consisted of polyethylene spheres between 20 and 100 micrometres across. Each sphere is composed of negatively charged black plastic on one side and positively charged white plastic on the other (each bead is thus a dipole[1]). The spheres are embedded in a transparent silicone sheet, with each sphere suspended in a bubble of oil so that they can rotate freely. The polarity of the voltage applied to each pair of electrodes then determines whether the white or black side is face-up, thus giving the pixel a white or black appearance.[2]

In the 1990s another type of electronic paper was invented by Joseph Jacobson, who later co-founded the corporation E Ink which formed a partnership with Philips Components two years later to develop and market the technology. In 2005, Philips sold the electronic paper business as well as its related patents to Prime View International. This used tiny microcapsules filled with electrically charged white particles suspended in a colored oil.[3] In early versions, the underlying circuitry controls whether the white particles were at the top of the capsule (so it looked white to the viewer) or at the bottom of the capsule (so the viewer saw the color of the oil). This was essentially a reintroduction of the well-known electrophoretic display technology, but the use of microcapsules allowed the display to be used on flexible plastic sheets instead of glass.

One of the limitation of ePaper is that it is monochromatic, ie single colour.

This is now changed. According to this website, they have come up with a method to display full spectrum of colour (not by mixing the three primary colours). This is an exciting news.

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