Thursday, April 30, 2009

Electrofluidic e-Paper

Gamma Dynamics new display tech, electrofluidic paper, is exciting because it appears to be the closest approximation yet to "real" printing. The current crop of electrophoretic displays - as used in most eBook readers - work pretty well and have low power consumption, but have just 40% reflectance of ambient light--not at all as high as the light scattered back from a real sheet of paper. GD's new electrofluidic works with 55% reflectance, and the company is confident it can raise that to 85%, meaning it'll be the closest to resembling ink on paper ever made.

It works by having a minuscule reservoir of pigment hidden in the center of a hollow display pixel: when a voltage is applied, the pigment splurges out to fill the pixel in a controlled manner, turning the pixel from transparent to opaque. It's simple, and the optically active layer is just 15 microns deep, meaning its also possible to make the display very flexible. Better yet, the technology can reproduce thousands of colors, and has a pixel response time of just 1 milli-second: fast enough to shame the average LCD monitor, and light years ahead of the display tech used to power the Kindle.

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