On April 22 the world celebrated Earth Day, and on April 23, many of us participated in World Book Night. A great way to continue the spirit of these events is by eReading. In support of that effort, E Ink has introduced a new ongoing campaign “Free eBook Fridays“.
What is arguably the biggest innovation in Smartphones since the introduction of the iPhone will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week. The YotaPhone, by Yota Devices, was a Best of CES 2013 award winner. The YotaPhone abandons the classic single LCD Smartphone design. At MWC, Yota will be introducing a revolutionary new smartphone with an E Ink ePaper display on the back of the phone. The extremely low power E Ink display enables the YotaPhone to deliver new functionality and extended battery life at the same time.
If you’ve read about E Ink, you’ve probably heard about the attributes which make our technology unique – paper-like screen, low power, thin form factor… but what does this really mean?
First – let’s get some preliminaries out of the way, for those of you unfamiliar with our technology and how it works.
Our technology is not LCD – and it’s not trying to be. While there are several different types of LCDs, the basic premise behind them is the same. To use a very simplified explanation – in Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs), crystals are suspended between layers of glass – a top plane glass, a TFT glass layer and a polarizer layer. When a charge is applied by the electronics, the crystals twist. However, this alone doesn’t allow a viewer to see an image; for that, light is needed. Most LCDs use a backlight; this light sits behind the TFT and, depending on the crystal’s alignment against the polarizer, will either allow the light to flow through the display, or block the light, thereby making an image visible to you.
In contrast, E Ink displays are made up of literal electronic ink – ink capsules containing black and white pigments that are charged positive and negative, which are then laminated in a single layer onto a film. That film is then laminated onto a TFT. When the electronics calls for an image to be displayed, the ink particles move up or down within their capsules, displaying the image for you to see.
By Joe Jacobson, Co-Founder of E Ink, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Molecular Machines Group, MIT & Felix Ho, Chairman, E Ink Corporation
“As a young graduate student I had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the globe and meet many people. On one memorable trip to a remote town in Peru I met an amazing young student who had never been more than a few miles from home. He had notebooks and notebooks of extraordinary aeronautical designs. Everything he had learned came from the one book on aeronautical engineering that his very modest town library had. His sole request to us was to please send him more books on aeronautical design. There are many examples like this, such as the famous Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who, starting at the age of 17, compiled some nearly 3900 highly original theorems in number theory starting with a single book that he had access to entitled A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics by George S. Carr.
What if each kid on the planet had had access to the world’s library of books? That was the basic goal behind E Ink. Could we develop a new display and manufacturing technology that could produce eReaders that had the look and feel of real paper, consumed almost no power and could be manufactured at sufficient cost and volume to put a library of congress into the hands of each kid on the planet? The enabling concept behind E Ink was to create a new paradigm in manufacturing – manufacturing by printing or ‘printed electronics’ to meet those goals.