EPSON & E-INK HOOK UP

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EPSON & E-INK HOOK UP

 user 2006-01-02 at 10:12:00 am Views: 39
  • #13823

    SEIKO EPSON & E-INK HOOK UP
    The
    printer subsidiary of Seiko Epson has committed to produce electronic
    paper after Seiko partnered with E Ink to produce the world’s first
    paper watch earlier this year. The link up between Epson’s inkjet
    printing prowess and E Ink’s electronic ink are compelling and with
    Epson’s inkjet printer and LCD businesses in the doldrums and facing a
    50 per cent drop in profit this year, the company is eager to find new
    pastures on which to graze.
    E Ink was born out of the MIT Media Lab
    and commercialised by a series of venture capitalists and technology
    partner/investors. So far only US$65 million has pumped into the
    company and it already has some viable product hitting the market. The
    company just announced it has teamed up with LG.Philips to prototype a
    10.1-inch flexible electronic paper display which is less than 300
    microns thick and as flexible as construction paper. The paper runs at
    SVGA (600×800) resolution at 100 pixels per inch. The contrast ratio
    with 4 levels of greyscale is 10:1.
    The LG.Philips material is
    actually a steel foil, rather than plastic or paper, though the
    technology is still TFT. A pilot run of the material is being
    manufactured at one of LG Philip’s LCD plants, no doubt with the
    assistance of TFT filter specialist and E Ink investor Toppan. The
    other E Ink investors are an interesting bunch including Philips, The
    Hearst Corporation, Universal-Vivendi and Motorola.
    One of the key
    advantages of the E Ink e-paper is that it doesn’t require power to
    maintain its image. Other technologies such as the Siemens chromatic
    prototypes require printed batteries that only last a couple of months
    and so would be more suitable for packaging. Siemens plans to make its
    e-paper widely available by 2007. The displays operate using
    electrochromic materials which absorb different wavelengths of light
    when electrical voltages shift charges in their molecules.
    Fujitsu’s
    e-paper is made form three displaying layers – red, blue, and green so
    has the advantage of not requiring a colour filter or polarising layer.
    The colour is said to be significantly more vivid than conventional
    reflective-type LCDs.
    The E Ink technology looks like a printed page
    and maintains a constant contrast ratio under different lighting
    conditions. The core technology is aimed at handheld devices with the
    image retention capabilities reducing energy consumption 100 times
    lower than a standard LCD. Think – cameras, ATMs, kiosks, GPS,
    smartphones, PDAs, wireless tablets and signage.
    The company points
    out that virtually any surface could be printed with its electronic ink
    - including paper! The smart ink is made up of microcapsules suspended
    in a liquid carrier medium. The ink is printed onto a sheet of plastic
    film that is laminated to a layer of circuitry. The circuitry forms a
    pattern of pixels that can then be controlled by a display driver. The
    little spheres have charged transparent and black particles in them
    which line up as the circuitry dictates. The ink is flexible enough
    that, if printed on a sheet of plastic, can actually be rolled around a
    pencil. To make the image colour, the company has to apply a colour
    filter, which is Toppan’s speciality.
    Tie all this together with
    Epson’s recently developed a flexible TFT-Static Random Access Memory
    (SRAM) and you have a handy set of components for small, light, and
    flexible electronic devices.