E ink and what’s the hype about them

By Responsive DAD     |

Brief look at E-INK

E Ink (electronic ink) is a paper-like display technology, characterized by high visibility and contrast, a wide viewing angle and low power requirements. The technology has been commercialized by the E Ink Corporation, which was co-founded in 1997 by MIT undergraduates J.D. Albert & Barrett Comiskey, MIT Media Lab professor Joseph Jacobson, Jerome Rubin and Russ Wilcox.

It is currently available commercially in gray scale and color and is commonly used in mobile devices such as e-readers, and, to a lesser extent, digital signage, mobile phones, smartwatches, electronic shelf labels and architecture panels.

So what makes them happy?? They are the future to portable, flexible and even large screen displays. How do they work?


The initial approach was to create tiny spheres which were half white and half black, and which, depending on the electric charge, would rotate such that the white side or the black side would be visible on the display. This was the first steps to create an electronic analogue to paper.

In the coming years of work by MIT lab undergraduate students who envisioned the idea with help of E-ink corporation made many advancements into the new technology. The displays were sleek, high energy efficient and can be made into any form factor. E Ink was processed into a film for integration into electronic displays and has enabled novel applications in phones, watches, magazines, wearables and e-readers, etc.And through the years of development of this technology it was found that ink that is of different colors could also be integrated into the displays.


What makes this displays good?


E Ink’s technology is commonly referred to as “bi stable”. Bi-stability refers to the fact that an image on an E Ink screen will be retained even when all power sources are removed. This means that the display is consuming power only when something is changing. For example, when reading on an e-Reader, power is only needed when turning to a new page but no power is consumed by the display while reading the page.Bi-stability significantly reduces the power consumption and is a key reason devices using E Ink have such long battery life.

  • Reflective&No backlight required
    This gives us the advantage of the screen being paper like, sunlight Readable, Wide angle view and easy on eyes.
    E Ink displays are referred to as “reflective displays.” In an LCD, or “emissive display”, light from a backlight is projected through the display towards your eyes. In an E Ink display, no backlight is used; rather, ambient light from the environment is reflected from the surface of the display back to your eyes. As with any reflective surface, the more ambient light, the brighter the display looks. This attribute mimics traditional ink and paper, and users of E Ink displays have said that they do not have the same eye fatigue as with LCDs when reading for long periods of time. Therefore, eliminating the need for a backlight significantly increases the battery life versus using a traditional LCD.
  • Rugged
    E Ink displays are comprised of an ink layer laminated to a plastic film substrate. Depending on the application, product designers may use a traditional glass-based TFT, or utilize our E Ink Mobius plastic-based TFTs. This makes the displays light weight,shatter less and flexible.

Usage& realization

  • Mobile & Wearables
    The yota phones and Sony FES watches are the most updated tech we can see of the proof of concept of these designs. The use the same technology to showcase ingenuity in wearables and portables.check them out at: https://yotaphone.com/in-en/ and cnets preview of the sony gear : https://www.cnet.com/products/sony-fes-watch/preview/
  • E-Readers
    They are the best knowledge tool and best company for the biblio phileout there. Some have Android OS integrated into the device making it smart, other may have the company’s custom OS.
    Some have recorded 2 months of battery life with 20mins of daily reading. Special stylus, buttons or touchscreens aid its usage. Top devices include:
  • Electronic Shelf Label
    Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) offer retailers the ability to wirelessly update content on shelving signage quickly and efficiently, without the need to print paper tags or to deploy multiple employees to change them manually.
    In addition to reducing staff needs to support price changes, ESL offers retailers the ability to update pricing as often as they want (dynamic pricing), while at the same time reducing pricing errors to customers. Now retailers can offer promotional pricing that responds to their customer traffic patterns (price optimization).
  • Signage
    Electronic Paper Display (EPD) bus, railway, and transportation signs enable green mobility and smart city infrastructure thanks to their high energy efficiency. EPD signs can run independently from the electric grid. The paper-like, high-contrast display offers excellent readability and provides real-time arrival information, service alerts, and route display, all updatable from a central location. Thanks to ease of installation and reduced need to update signs manually, operation and maintenance costs are kept low.
    other large screen implementations include interactive smart boards that can be connected to other devices wirelessly and clear on click of a button. These will offer the ultra-classrooms cheap medium for creativity and knowledge sharing (no notes to be taken in paper!).

And newer applications and technologies are on their way.As we have seen the e-ink screens are eco friendly and simple in technology. It is a viable and very flexible, physical and technology wise. We are as much fascinated as you are, the future e-ink tech is very bright and eco friendly.

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