E-paper is a thin, flexible polymer sheet with the look of paper. But e-paper is a bit thicker than regular paper and weighs more because it contains microscopic electronic ink particles sandwiched between two polymer sheets that display as either white or black in response to an electrical charge.
E-paper is reflective, like real paper, so it can be read in any light. E-paper is also bi-stable, which means that the display uses power only to change the content.
Those two main characteristics are what give a paperlike display its good qualities—it's comfortable to read because it's reflective, and the bi-stable aspect allows you to have low power and lightweight batteries so the whole device could be extremely thin and lightweight.
EInk and Gyricon both offer e-paper products. The basic technology the vendors use is the same, but each takes a slightly different approach.
EInk's e-ink consists of millions of microcapsules about the diameter of a human hair. These clear capsules contain a clear fluid, as well as tiny black and white particles. The two colors each carry opposite charges. When an electrical field is applied, the particles move up and down within the capsules. A negative electric field makes the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule, where they are visible to the user. A positive charge pulls the black particles to the bottom of the microcapsules, hiding them. The technology is used for e-paper and can be embedded in electronic displays.
SmartPaper, an e-paper technology from Gyricon LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox Corp, consists of two sheets of thin plastic with millions of tiny beads embedded between them. Each bead, smaller than a grain of sand, has a different color on each side. The hemispheres also carry opposite charges. Each bead resides in its own oil-filled cavity within the flexible sheet, and under the influence of a voltage applied to the surface, it rotates to present one side or the other to the viewer. The image stays in place until a new voltage pattern is applied, which erases the previous image and generates a new one.
Several companies are developing commercial applications of e-paper technology. SmartPaper is used in an e-paper pricing-sign system for retail stores. The sign is controlled by software that links it wirelessly to in-store pricing databases. So the price on the sign can be updated instantly. And it's always the same as the price in the point-of-sale database.
Gyricon also offers SmartPaper in a line of dynamic message boards, which it sells to hotels, conference centers and large campuses. The message boards sell for $1,295 each.
In April, E Ink Corp., Royal Philips Electronics and Sony Corp. together launched their first-generation e-ink display in Sony's e-book reader, the Librie, in Japan. The e-book incorporates the e-ink technology used in e-paper into a traditional display.
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. is developing a paperlike display that it says could be used with a terminal for reading business documents downloaded from a PC. The paper should be in production by 2006, and Fujitsu is bullish on its prospects. This invention may pave the way to a paperless office and reduce paper consumption.
Although e-paper technology is progressing, there are some downsides. One is that e-paper lacks color. And while e-ink has been incorporated into displays, the bi-stable e-paper technology can't support full-motion video because updating or rewriting a page takes too long.
Today, e-paper is still looking for a killer application. While a few retailers are experimenting with e-paper pricing labels, the technology has yet to catch on. But that could change.
In three to five years, we'll see second-generation technologies will probably have better characteristics, reduce costs and add flexibility to the mix.
|网站首页 关于希赛 工作机会 服务协议 免责声明 联系希赛
希赛网 版权所有 © 2001-2017 湘ICP备10203241号-9