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E Ink announces a full color electrophoretic ePaper display (businesswire.com)
763 points by jameshart on May 24, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 257 comments

This will be perfect for electronic picture frames. I've given such devices to family before, but their significant drawback is that they are backlit, so they are much more distracting than normal print photographs and can't be put in a bedroom or anywhere else that needs to be dark. But a electronic picture frame with color e-ink would be an ideal use: Low power, no illumination, and no need for fast updating.

I have always wanted a large one (24" or more) to display whatever painting I find interesting on that day. I went looking several months ago without any luck. These look like they would be perfect for my use case.

I find the idea of having whatever art piece I want on the wall very appealing.

I've wanted to do this but have the art undergo a very subtle or slow animation. Like have the clock on the wall in the painting tell real time, or leaves very slowly flutter in the breeze.

Or, with the aid of a bit of gaze tracking, have the eyes subtly follow you around. Or an element of the picture that's always where you aren't looking, and flits from place to place while your eye saccades...

Use gaze tracking to have it change when nobody's looking at it. It's a different picture now and then but you'll never catch it changing no matter how long you watch.

Here is an amazing blog post where someone did exactly this!


Obviously they took a pretty expensive and power intensive route, but the end result is absolutely phenomenal

I think all these ideas will be best realized when we can have entire walls made of programmable, maybe electro-organic with properties like chameleon skin, material that can be set to display anything we want.

Go one step further and it can be even better; have them also emit air with different temperatures and smells, so that I can have one wall displaying an open field, for example, complete with the feeling of a fresh scented breeze coming from that direction.

Ray Bradbury anticipated such a total immersive experience in his book Fahrenheit 451.

He was not so sanguine about it, as he saw it as a potential pitfall which could lead people to lose their humanity in a cloud of vague emotions and indistinct narratives. It would be more pernicious than a sensory deprivation chamber because the total immersion would lull its users into a state of unfocused, passive complacency. By contrast, wrestling with a worthwhile book would sharpen the mind and will by making the reader aspire to meet the standards of the text.

More interesting is the moment when this future is more evenly distributed and the technology is so cheap that we have animated decorations on toilet paper.

IoT Toilet paper that can match your stains into something like images from a search engine and turn it in to a picture....... With gaze tracking

And then make it display statues of weeping angels.

Don't blink!

I'm pretty sure this comment chain is going to end up making someone a lot of money.

Honestly, I love the idea of a van Goph with a massive, subtly moving image.

The new movie of Van Gogh is just that.

http://bengrosser.com/projects/protocols-of-looking/ -- artwork w gaze tracking, looks away when you look at it

And this is how schizophrenia gets triggered.

Silicon Dawn generation 2? ;-P

Wait until this can be embedded in cards powered by what light they can absorb and, I dunno, the kinetic energy of shuffling them. "Hey wait last time I looked at this card her eyes were closed..."

I was fed-up with the poor quality of display frames available commercially, so I built my own. Asus display (stripped), custom distressed-look vintage frame from Etsy, AppleTV, custom matte and mount and this is the result https://www.dropbox.com/s/n0kmwfd00kot6mu/File%20May%2024%2C... I am quite happy with the result and plan on making a larger one for high-res art display.

Nice. Of course, with E-Ink you could run the whole thing off batteries instead of having that cable.

For now, instead of plastering the cable in, you could put up a picture rail and hide the cable inside that.

Hah, I got you all beat. I want an entire wall to be a display. I can set it to have wallpaper (!) of any sort. People can hike the continental divide with a gopro on their head, and I can have the wall display be the resulting video. It would be quite awesome!

Can you imagine? If you had your wall papered in e-ink panels you could have localised control too, cast something to one in particular or put up all your holiday photos, one after the other.

Would not be pleasant when your whole room is flashing though.

I'm actually a bit surprised that there aren't gopro videos of spectacular hikes that go real time step-by-step from start to finish, that one could use as wallpaper. Wouldn't you want to get one from, let's say, climbing Everest? Or mount one on the nose of a locomotive and film a coast-to-coast train journey?

Not GoPro, but Norwegian broadcaster NRK have filmed several train journeys as part of their "slow tv" offering. Original HD video files (200++ GB) are available [0], and there are multiple versions on Youtube, like a 10 hour trip with Nordlandsbanen from Trondheim to Bodø [1] and a 7 hour trip from Bergen to Oslo [2], including a 10 minute stretch from Finse where the scenes from Hoth in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back were filmed [3].

[0] https://nrkbeta.no/2009/12/18/bergensbanen-eng/

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=831Drz4YQdQ

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR15x_ujuPA

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql2qXpNVTjw

You can find more videos via searching for the phrase "minutt for minutt" on YouTube.

Those are awesome, and just what I'm talking about. If only there was a wall display!

The video that actually inspired me to go find and hike El Caminito del Rey (back before they renovated it and reopened it)


A friend of mine has brought this to spin class: Scenic cycle - http://sceniccycle.com/

He drove and recorded all the footage himself then opened his studio!

Experienced the projection version of this in an art gallery[1], speaking of flashing.

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/BEoV6w_C4XK/

Weren't whole-wall displays a plot point in Farenheit 451?

Whole wall displays do appear in scifi movies, it's not remotely a new idea. But the long form travelogues may be relatively new. People take tons of photos and videos of Everest, but as far as I know nobody has done a step-by-step video, or has even occurred to anyone to do so.

That has been already described in 1953: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451

Bah, a wall? VR with 360 camera playback speed tied to treadmill or stationary bike I'm on.

I like the cut of your jib.

Couldn't you do this now with a projector?

I have a projector (and I love it) that displays on most of a wall in the basement. It's perfect for watching a movie. For wallpaper, not so much. The room has to be completely dark, the projector makes noise, consumes lots of power, and has a short lamp life.

Funny that this is what you guys wanted it for.

I swear, I have been wanting this SO BAD for so long for my monitor. LCDs are bright and make my eyes hurt. I want this for my monitor.

The latency would make it tough for anything other than word processing (and even that would be a bit annoying).

The Kindle display can do latencies of <100ms if they're set to plain black and white --- the really slow refreshes are due to hacking it to make it do greyscale. I think that's comparable to the old greenscreen monitors, but I can't find any hard figures. Would certainly be worth a try.

What I would really like, however, is a monitor-sized Sharp Memory LCD display, as made famous by the Pebble. The colour displays are things of beauty. The colour gamut's not brilliant, but they refresh instantly, consume practically no power, and look great. With the backlight turned off, you get an interesting metallic sheen that looks like no other display on earth.

Even the monochrome ones are really cool. I have a development kit where the display can show white and silver --- like, metallic, reflective silver, which you can (just about) see your face in.

Alas, they don't make them much bigger than watch sized.

I've seen demonstrations of eink displays showing 60fps video without any noticeable latency. I think the latency is purely dependent on the voltages used to drive the display.

Edit: This was with a black and white display. Depending on how the colour displays work, avoiding latency might not be possible as easily.

Can you give links where?

We wanted to make eink displays with touchscreen controls for videoconferencing but the latency isnt great.

Qualcomm's Mirasol displays might have fit the bill, they weren't responding to my company's request for samples and they eventually closed everything down without shipping many (any?) in production. They are working on a MEMS-IGZO product w Sharp that was similar and supposed to come out last year but I haven't heard a peep recently. Liquavista was working on a color epaper solution as well (acquired by Samsung in 2010, then Amazon in 2013, nothing announced.)

Qualcomm shutdown Mirasol in 2012 after buying it back in 2004 and laid off all the engineers. http://gizmodo.com/5928315/say-goodbye-to-qualcomms-magic-mi...

Recently, Apple bought the Taiwan fab plant where the old mirasol displays were made, which had been transferred to AU Optronics. But a fab is a fab is a fab so it doesn't mean they're making mirasol displays there.

Liquavista is another crapshoot, spun off in 2006, made huge pronouncements at shows, told us they would be production ready in 8-12 months back in 2010 and then shuttered in Dec 2010. Then layoffs, then Samsung, now Amazon. No clue what their real status is now.

In other words, doing demos is doing demos. Commercially available production ready product is a different story completely.

Mirasol made it into the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch, but in ‘limited quantities’: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualcomm_Toq

Mirasol also made it to an e-reader, but I believe it was only released in South Korea.


I've heard with 60fps refresh, the power efficiency goes away.

That's more than enough for me. I get home from coding and I want to work on my novel, but LCDs are killing my eyes.

Try a pen and paper. Worked for so many for so long. This pen with broad italic Masuyama nibs, some fine ink. Watch out, fountain pens are like cats. You cannot stop at one.


Ha, I have a problem with stationery. I'll buy beautiful pens and notebooks, but I never end up writing with them. Or I'll just get carried away with how pretty the ink looks on the page, and copy out poetry or my own signature. For actual writing I need to type.

Starting is hard. Do a diary and see where that takes you. Don't buy expensive stuff first. A simple lined notebook and a cheap fountain pen. I found myself buying things for hobbies, spending money but not time and effort. Nowadays, if anything, I buy books and study. When I have the habits in place, i'll learn how to paint.

If you're afraid of making that first entry in your beautiful new notebook, turn it upside down, flip it around and make a few trivial entries or notes in the back of the notebook. Once it's no longer blank, using the notebook for its intended purpose will be a lot easier.

Not speaking for parent, but I have terrible handwriting :(

Then try calligraphy. All it takes is practice. Like playing the piano, or coding.

Apparently this can be done. Not too surprising.


Yep that's true.

But I will put up with that -- the "good" of it being easy on the eyes trumps the "bad" of latency issues.

Though, let's hope the technology matures and this problem is solved to some extent.

Having tried the Kindle expiremental browser, I can confirm. Granted their tech may be more primitive than this!

By the way, Dasung Paperlike, the monochrome e-ink display is now on Indiegogo. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/paperlike-world-s-first-e...

Dasung is very cool for a text terminal. But last time I asked they required weird drivers, not available for Linux of course.

to be honest I am awaiting the day I can just cover an entire wall in them so I can be outdoors all the time

Absolutely! I would put up with a fair amount of latency just to have this. I'm picturing late-night work with a lamp in front of my monitor (not kidding). And it would probably do wonders for a laptop's battery, right?

Did you see the video link posted here [1]? "Latency" seems to be in the 5-10s range with a huge amount of jarring flickering. Definitely not bad as an art display but way way way far from being remotely useable as a screen. Considering how long this step took, still easily 3-5yrs or more from a commercially viable monitor.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11767090

Still wondering why Pixel Qi failed. It's the one piece of tech in the past decade I keep going back to. The founders went off to Google X and the patents were snatched up by the EFF co-founder and openly licensed in the past year.

It was not e-ink but a reflective panel viewable in bright daylight that also had a backlight for indoor/night use. They had a 10" netbook panel commercially available.

It makes me wonder if reading about another exciting screen tech such as this will suffer the same fate. Maybe someone else knows why.

Pixel Qi struck me as overhyped. It was just a regular transflective LCD panel that the founder of OLPC, Nick Negroponte wanted to exploit to get massive funding (from big orgs like the UN, the easily confused ministers of education in developing countries) for his pet project that flew him around the world giving talks and hanging out with popstars who all claim they're doing it to save children in the developing world. If you google Nick Negroponte now, he seems to now claim that he invented or was a key factor in the tablet computing revolution, touchscreens, and VR. http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1329725&print=yes

Interesting. I knew about transflective screens and miss them from my early cellphones. I guess I need to read what the patents pertain to. A list is here: http://www.toad.com/20141209-dpl-patents.pdf

People want this. Anyone who wants the ability to take a small laptop outside on a nice day and be able to read the screen wants this. I don't particularly care about Negroponte's goals with OLPC but it did bring some technology into discussion that isn't typically used on mobile devices (lithium iron phosphate batteries being another thing to use for rugged outdoors devices...)

Digging up a bit more research it seems Toshiba was the last to use transflective in an ultraportable size. Here's one in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXO7u6bzVGQ

I've wondered that myself. It seemed promising.

Have you tried lowering the brightness? Modern monitors can be crazy bright, which is good for watching movies, but not for staring at them for 10 hours a day.

Unfortunately, on many even the lowest brightness is too much for a low light or no light environment.

Also, at low brightnesses, the PWM frequency of the LED backlights drops, and depending on how low it drops to that can cause a bunch of eyestrain as well.

Did you come across this?

A Canvas Made of Pixels (claybavor.com) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10900439

I used a 30'' Apple HD Cinema monitor to shuffle around the Hermitage painting collection. Setting it at 5 minutes per slide, it's like walking in a museum: fast enough to always be interesting and fresh, but slow enough to enjoy it. Also, used Image Magick to overlay the title of the painting. It makes a lot of difference to know the title. Also, if keep it up for years, it's like art training for the eyes.

I tried something similar and while it definitely works I found such displays even at their lowest brightness setting way too distracting. I continuously notice it's there because it doesn't blend into the rest of the interior, unlike a painting or so. And if you're close enough you feel the heat from it. Very much unlike a painting.

The self-retracting charger on the first one is very cool, and a very good solution to a common problem.

try http://electricobjects.com/ , matte (non glossy) displays built for displaying art in the home

Thank you. Came here to post this in the thread. I love my EO, but I can imagine it being even better with this display technology. They should be an early adopter talking to Eink about is.

I do this with an LCD projector. Works great. (Dungeon required.) Having a massive picture archive on slideshow mode is a fantastic time-keeping mechanism.

So yeah, I'm with you.. it'll be fun to move up to the tower and still get requisite background art.

I never did... until now :)

I nave ben wanting exactly this for years. Allow me to push my daughter's pics to her grandma's always on epaper frame and I'm ordering one right now.

How are you ordering one? They just announced it

I was referring to a potential product based on this screen, as a figure of speech.

Oh! Haha, I was wanting to order one too!

It looks like the DPI is only half of standard print DPI, so it might not look as good as traditional print photos, but it's a good start.

That's a shame. I switched to an 8" AMOLED for reading technical Kindle books (Galaxy Tab S2), as my Paperwhite couldn't keep up anymore. Love this display, especially for night time reading ... yet can't wait for the day I can get a high DPI color e-ink reader.

Yea, although I'm more concerned about the total number of pixels. I'd be fine with a 4K display at 150 DPI.

distance in this instance, is your friend. (have you ever looked at a bus stop ad or billboard up close?)

The biggest drawback I have is that I have to manually keep updating photos to the frame using USB or SD card. Also, I want only the good photos to show up, so I have to sort by hand too.

Slashgear posted a video of the actual color e-ink panels in operation.


The flashing bit looks annoying, but I think that electronic picture frames that don't suck are finally here! A poster that changes during the night(so you don't see the flicker) and you wake up to see something new every day. I am really excited for this tech!

It's unfortunate that it seems like the eInk flashing problem seems so much worse than on monochrome displays.

Once the image fully appears it looks great.

I wonder if it's fast enough that they could do it line by line. It would be slower, but it might look better having the picture cut over fully, instead of flashing the entire screen over and over.

Or just have a layer over it that goes opaque for a moment until the pic below develops. Would be weird, but way less annoying.

Interesting pattern of flashing as the picture changes. That probably provides big hints on how it operates internally.

The pixels have a bit of "memory" to them, and if they don't do a full on-off cycle they tend to get muddied over time. It's a bit more psychedelic on a color panel, but the same thing happens with Kindle e-readers every handful of page turns.

I had to optimize our product's driver for a monochrome display; you can optimize quite a bit if you know the application and test how muddied it gets and how fast. I think that driver optimizing will be able to make the flashing on the color screen less annoying too.

Hell, the earliest models did a full inversion for every single page turn.

You got used to it after a day or two anyway.

I love that I couldn't even tell the far left panel was e-ink until it changed later in the video.

They were showing some kind of multi window demo. The 3 panels would show independent images and then synchronize and show a single large image split across the 3 panels. Cool stuff but I couldn't find video of that online.

...I actually think it was done on purpose, as an aesthetic choice.

God, I hope I'm right. If that's how it really looks, it's terrible.

It just seems like the full image ARRIVES very early in the flashing process, and there are only minor details still arriving during all of the flashing.

The refreshing seems way worse...

This is a neat trick: "The richness of the colors is achieved by having all the colored pigments in every picture element (pixel) rather than the side-by-side pixel colors achieved with a CFA. This eliminates the light attenuation, which can be quite significant." I believe this is why non-backlit colour LCDs don't work so well - too much light attenuation from the fact that the colours are side-by-side and so only let a third of the light through the colour filters.

Any idea how they manage to control which pigments are shown?

In traditional B&W E-Ink, black pigments are negatively charged, while white pigments are positively charged, so it's fairly straightforward to control which ones to show. I wonder how they do it for color, since they would need presumably 3 or 4 primary colors

It's easy, in our digital world, to forget: electric charge is not binary. A gamut of pigments that responded to a range of charges would serve.

That doesn't answer his question though. Let's say they have 4 types of particles: CMYK. If the charges are as follows: C > M > Y > K, you will always have C arrive to the front first. How do you make only Y go the front to display pure yellow?

If it's like the video linked above (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2V9iuTW3sA) it doesn't go straight from Y to C; the "pixel" has to cycle through all the other colours in between.

Maybe some kind of prism that flips one face at a time when it gets a pulse?

The other thought that came to mind would be some sort of resonance system... send the right frequency, and the cyan (e.g.) particles bob up and down hard enough to reach the surface, where they'd stick. Each particle would have its own resonance frequency.

This looks like it may be the patent in question:


So in summary, there are two layers. Top has white and magenta, bottom has cyan and yellow.

The magenta particles let light through, the others do not.

The top layer can put white on top to make white.

The top layer can pull all the particles to the side to be completely clear. This allows yellow/cyan/green depending on the state of the bottom layer.

The top layer can put magenta on top and white on bottom to make magenta.

The top layer can put magenta on top and pull white to the side to be clear magenta. This allows red/blue/black respectively, when the bottom layer is yellow/cyan/green.

Edit: But the initial article specifically says "The display utilizes a single layer of electrophoretic fluid" so it sounds like it's using a different tech.

Hmm, the press release mentions that only " a single layer of electrophoretic fluid" (and also only a single backplane) is employed. Therefore, the mechanism must be a little bit different than the one described in the patent.

I was wondering the same thing. Just speculating about possible mechanisms: if the different colors have different particle sizes, then they'll move at different speeds. So if you modulate the strength and duration of the charge that you apply, I think you'd have some control over which colors end up at the front of your pixel.

I don't know how you'd do different shades of 3/4 colors though.

That's interesting. Perhaps the colors respond to different frequencies. They did say they use all 8 primaries which would include black and white. So it's a question of how they proportion them at the front of the pixel.

> They did say they use all 8 primaries

No, they say they can display all 8 primaries.

White background and CMYK pigments ?

> too much light attenuation from the fact that the colours are side-by-side and so only let a third of the light through the colour filters

If you mix the pigments, isn't the effect really the same, but on a microscopic level rather than a macroscopic level?

> If you mix the pigments, isn't the effect really the same, but on a microscopic level rather than a macroscopic level?

No. It's the difference between colour addition and colour subtraction.

In a colour-addition (ie LCD) model, the maximum possible light transmission - what you get by displaying 'white' - is 33%, since it involves R, G, B side by side, all on. But in a colour-subtraction model (ie e-ink) you just remove all pigment and get 100% light transmission.

Another example: pure yellow. Addition: R, G on full, B off; total light transmission: (33% * 2/3 =) 22%. Subtraction: all yellow pigment, total light transmission: 66%.

Another example: pure red. Addition: R on full, G, B off; total light transmission: (33% * 1/3 =) 11%. Subtraction: yellow and magenta pigment mixed, total light transmission: 33%.

(to be clear, the numbers are waay over-simplified naive colour theory, not actual measurements or anything)

No, because it lets you toggle each pigment between colored and (nearly) transparent. An LCD needs to be colored or opaque.

Does anyone have a link to a good behind the scenes history of E Ink?

I've loved following them over the years. They were one of the first "startups" I read about (in the Boston Globe) as a kid growing up outside Boston in the 90's.

It seems like it's been an incredible uphill battle to make the tech work. I love my Kindle screen and do hope that someday passive color screens can rival light emitting ones.

It was way oversold at first. It was going to be really cheap, and flexible, like a sheet of paper. It ended up being a front layer on an LCD-like device. Early versions were dark grey on light grey, like cheap newsprint. The contrast has been improving, but it's still not as good as printed paper.

Other than E-readers, the big application has been retail price signs.[1] With a passive display, they can be battery powered and have a long battery life. They only need to wake up and rewrite when the price changes. (Most of the ads for these displays show something like "30% off!")

[1] http://www.pervasivedisplays.com/

> it's still not as good as printed paper.

Perhaps not as good as a glossy full-color textbook, but a few days ago I bought a paperback and I was surprised how much I wanted to read it on my Kindle instead. Paperbacks often have terrible resolution, and the contrast isn't much better (paperbacks often have ivory-ish colored paper).

Okasaki's Functional Data Structures book, as an example?

Theres nothing like a good hardcover book easy on the eyes. I just ordered 3 hardcovers circa 1940. Cost me a bit but worth the nostalgia and ease of reading

I really wish they would start using it on ATMs. Outside in the sun is a pain. They light the things well at night so it shouldn't be a problem.

The Kindle PaperWhite and Newest Kobo readers both sport 300dpi resolution. My new reader is like reading on a something that came through a printer. Its amazing!

Nice! They finally fixed that.

Yep. The Paperwhite isn't as good as the art-quality print job you'd see on an heirloom book, but it's certainly within range of mass-market paperback quality (or even better, as another poster noted... some of the more cheaply-made paperbacks look like they were rubber-stamped on paper towels).

When I purchased my Paperwhite, it was in small part due to the frustration that came with variable font sizes from different books. Giving up the high quality lettering so that I can read without losing my line has made the act so much more enjoyable. Now if only they supported some form of quick stylus based highlighting (and easy on device access).

Haven't seen those in use a lot but I believe some of the larger stores in Europe and Japan had use for those "Dot Matrix Pricing Labels". One of my first jobs involved run length encoding the 2-bit BMPs to be transferred to these labels. The label itself had code embedded in it to decode them. Fun times...

> The contrast has been improving, but it's still not as good as printed paper.

You're right about contrast. For normal reading this can be compensated with setting the font (a lot) bigger. This makes reading a lot easier on the eye. The only problem is that PDFs and tables or bullet lists get messed up. Speed and CPU power then can become a problem.

They make it really hard to purchase the displays for development or small volume of things _other_ than retail price signs though. Overpriced tiny development kits aren't enough to test lots of interesting applications, and they won't talk to you otherwise unless you're buying very large volumes.

Have you seen this WIRED article? http://www.wired.com/1997/05/ff-digitalink/

I worked on one of the fairly early E Ink use-cases in '96 for a really interesting summer job, as part of a DARPA-funded project. Wrote a graphics driver for it in assembly; learned how to use an oscilloscope to debug.

I think I remember that article (or at least a similar one)! I can't seem to find it on the Globe's site, though.

I'm still waiting for the economically priced A4 black and white e-reader for reading research papers on.

Yes, how is this still 800$. http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/show-digitalpaper/resource.solu...

I wish someone would try to compete.

Your comment just made me realise how much I want such device. An A4, 300-ppi ereader would be godsent.

This 13.3 inch device which is 300ppi and runs on Android is in pre-release, expected to ship in volume within a month or so. http://www.amazon.com/Onyx-13-3-Android-Flexible-Handwriting...

Android 4.0, obsolete and out of any form of support since late 2012.

I hope you don't plan to connect this to the internet.

"Android 4.0, obsolete and out of any form of support since late 2012.

I hope you don't plan to connect this to the internet."

I'll ignore the snarkiness of this comment. There aren't any other 13.3 inch e ink readers out there that run on the latest version of Android. Furthermore, Onyx have announced upgrades are coming for the Boox Max. Also, Android support contrasts this device to say the Kindle DX which you can't use with your favourite reading apps etc.

Why, what would happen? Would it be worse than using, say, an S3? If you're talking about security, you'd be fine if you didn't do any shopping/banking etc. It's an dreaded essentially.

Hopefully this will make your dream come through. I hope for an e-reader that has lots more CPU power, which will process PDF fast and properly.

Have you tried using your E Reader as a VNC client? I did that with my Kobo to use my Laptop in daylight and it worked quite well.

You and me both. Luckily my Kindle DX still has some fight left in it, but I will miss it when it finally kicks.

I'm more interested in "responsive" research papers. Once you write your source in LaTeX, it shouldn't be difficult to compile it in a format that fits on a regular e-book reader.

Pandoc does this reasonably well already in my experience. (Assuming you have access to the source tex files, of course.)

IPad works really well for me for reading pdf papers. Plus, with an app like iAnnotate, it's easy to highlight text and add notes, which is cumbersome on kindle.

Some people (myself included) cannot read long-form content on backlit screens.

Not sure if you count ~$700 as "economically priced" but there are folks working on one as an IndieGogo project: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/13-3-inch-android-e-reade...


hopefully this will come out at some point

Onyx Boox Max 13.3 preorders are shipping now and is up on Amazon.

Only entry I can find says "Currently unavailable" and does not list a price. But looks just like the Sony DP, hopefully it's a lot cheaper?

It's €650 I believe. Specs are much better than Sony DP plus it runs Android so you can get apps from the app store. I thought it was 300dpi but just read a bit more and I think it's actualy 207dpi.

There are people who got devices in the preorder discussing it here: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=267140&pag...

There's also a few videos on Youtube, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glXRWQJOclI

*Edit: €585 before tax, €696 incl tax: http://ereader-store.de/en/28-13-3-display

I saw a few prototypes of Mirasol-based displays [1] over the year. So amazing, however they never got a broad adaption.

I still would love to have a comic reader with Mirasol.

[1] https://www.qualcomm.com/products/mirasol

That's probably because Apple bought up Mirasol. http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/12/15/apple-has-taken-ov...

Huh, I did not know that. But an interesting move, let's see if it pans out.

That's honestly good news, Apple are one of the few companies that might invest enough money in R&D to make these displays viable. I remember that the first versions had terrible failure rates.

I'd love to have an e-ink monitor someday. I wouldn't need video-speed refresh (probably?) or even color, but programming without staring into a flashlight all day sounds really nice.

My monitor's brightness is already set at 4%.

> I wouldn't need video-speed refresh (probably?)

My biggest barrier here would be the mouse. My mouse is an extension of my hand. Imagine how hard it would be to manipulate objects in real life if you had a half a second delay on what you felt and saw your hand do?

Similarly, you'd better be very accurate at typing- you won't notice a typo until half a second later, by which time you've written 5 or 10 more characters. You could go back and fix each one later, but again, with the slow refresh the need for accuracy in knowing where you're typing now would be problematic.

That said, I'm still excited. This tech is so lovely (I joined Amazon in part because I love my Kindle).

> My biggest barrier here would be the mouse. My mouse is an extension of my hand. Imagine how hard it would be to manipulate objects in real life if you had a half a second delay on what you felt and saw your hand do?

To test, connect to a remote site with 1Mbit uplink via RDP or VNC. It tends to drive you stark raving mad after an hour or so.

Good points! It's hard for me to imagine what it would be like as I've not used my Kindle with that in mind—and, of course, the Kindle UI is adapted (at least somewhat) for e-ink limitations.

They do exist, although at high prices and small sizes: http://www.dasung.com.cn/

Also, it would be cool not to have a "power saving" mode engaging and disengaging, taking time.

I can't wait for the refresh rate to catch up with other display technologies. Imagine seeing a movie in subtractive color, it would be like watching a moving painting.

E-ink wall with high refresh rate at home. That would be awesome for daytime movies!

They say low power, but also a fluid, is this tech going to be capable of the /no/ power display b/w eink does? That has always been one of the most interesting aspects of it to me.

These are electrophoretic displays just like you might have in your Amazon Kindle. So yes. Color isn't the interesting thing here. It's that each pixel is capable of all the colors of the device (versus an RGB-type system).

The fluid + microcapsule or microcup structure is fundamentally the same way eInk already worked, so this wouldn't change anything wrt power and display persistence.

The article mentioned the displays being reflective, so that would likely mean that they're making low/no power devices.

Some LCDs are reflective and they still draw power. Being reflective is orthogonal to to the amount of power being used. The question here is whether an active current is necessary to keep the fluid in position, or if it will maintain its image with zero power.

I think the question is whether the image can maintain when the power is off. While it won't require illumination power, it may still require power to keep the material in the configuration that allows for proper imaging.

Magazines and newspapers.

Just in case it wasn't obvious why this will type of tech will be huge.

Also - IoT displays. Hell, in the long term, _all material that is graphically designed and may need to change. Advertising, signs, dashboards, frickin' everything.

Magazines and newspapers are here today... it's called a kindle, or an ipad, or an iphone. This doesn't change that game. It also still has the same limitation of it's black and white brother. While the ink part scales, the electronics behind it don't.

Don't get me wrong, I think color makes this a much better value proposition... but I don't think our world is going to be wrapped in it anytime soon.

The ink part doesn't scale either — try pricing larger sizes. This is the failed promise, that they'd be able to just manufacture sheets of the stuff cheaply.

> it's called a kindle, or an ipad, or an iPhone.

iPads are heavy and backlit. iPhones are tiny. Kindle is B&W.

This is totally different.

Newspapers would already be possible, especially if e-ink displays were made in A4 or maybe even larger sizes. Newspaper companies would have to heavily back them though (free e-reader with a yearly subscription to the digital newspaper for example)

I don't know about Magazines and newspapers, that feels like it might be underestimating the price for quite a bit, for quite a while.

For much longer battery life on tablets / phones / ireaders however, this could be huge.

A car covered in these panels will exist. Probably self driving :)

Wow, I had no idea e-ink had come so far.

Has the latency improved any?

Yes, though I couldn't find good numbers with some quick searching. If anyone finds a good source please share. FWIW, my new Kindle Voyage seems to turn pages about 10x faster than my second generation Kindle.

The page refresh speed has definitely increased on kindles, but the Amazon press releases always seem to attribute that to better processors rather than better panels.

I still find the latency just that bit to much on my Kindle PaperWhite. Love the tones, texture, and battery but the latency is just a killer for me. I guess I'm too impatient.

My Kindle paperwhite can change pages a bit faster than I could turn them, plus it's lit so I can read at night without a light over my shoulder. That said, I'm eagerly awaiting my oasis!

Kindles are still B&W - I'm curious about the colour displays.

I'm excited for what it will do to textbooks

Indeed. A textbook-size color Kindle would be glorious.

The only reason I prefer paper books is because ebooks, in my opinion, are unusable for technical material and documentation. Diagrams, equations, big tables, are a no-go today (that is, unless you buy an iPad Pro and read PDFs, but then you have the screen glare issue).

Serious question: what caused you to purchase a Voyage vs. an Oasis or regular Paperwhite Kindle?

I have almost every model of the Kindle (got rid of the DX, but have the rest still) and definitely like the Voyage over the paperwhite. The responsiveness and the overall crispness is better IMHO. I still really like the Paperwhite, but if you use them side by side you'll see a definite difference IMHO.

A friend's recommendation. The benefits are small but I spend a lot of time reading so the extra cost is tiny amortized.

I read 10x more paper books than eBooks (scanning is impossible on eBooks) but it's really nice to have the Kindle sometimes.

Kindles where you can read comics, this is something I've wanted for a while.

Does anyone know what frame rates and power numbers this can achieve?

It takes a few seconds for the screen to change for the color display. http://the-digital-reader.com/2016/05/24/up-close-with-e-ink... (Watch the video--the flickering are the colors changing.)

From personal experience, black and white epaper can run at ~20-30hz if you turn off the page refresh system. This usually dramatically cuts down on bit depth and dramatically increases ghosting, however. With page refresh on, you can expect ~5hz with some nice strobing inbetween.

Now we need good e-readers which can process PDF properly and fast. An iPad with this screen would be a great alternative if video is not important. But it probably will be Android that's going to drive these screens.

Comics. This is for comics.

Marvel should partner with them.

Or Disney. Would be nice to revisit the classical Carl Barks and Don Rosa stories from my childhood. Though I'm not sure if Disney still owns the stories or is somehow licensing the characters for independent publishers.

Can we have a laptop with transparent LCD in front of a color e-Ink?

So that when stuff happens quickly LCD shows it, but when nothing happens for some time - LCD turns transparent (maybe even just for the region of screen that is static) and ePaper keeps showing it.

I'm thinking mostly static IDE with small debug window scrolling all the time.

Wonder if energy savings are worth it, but it could maybe be done just to make it easier on the eyes.

My dream screen would have an OLED display behind an e-ink screen or something similar. So you can choose whether you want each pixel to be reflexive or lit-up. This would make for amazing experience. Of course both would have to be able to run at at least 60Hz.

They don't say how many bits per pixel they achieve. I suspect it's quite small, maybe as low as 3 - the sample image shows some posterization. With high resolution and dithering it should be sufficient for the intended use case of signage.

Engadget ([1]) tells us:

...developed a display that can show up to 32,000 colors.

[1] http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/24/e-ink-announces-a-color-b...

So since they have 8 pigments, it's 5 bits then.

8^5 = 32768

That explains the posterization.

'Including eight primary colours' probably means 3bpp indeed. However, 1600x2500 at 150 ppi is indeed enough to make it practically seamless with dithering; especially on E Ink displays. I can hardly make the individual pixels on my 1920x1090 phone, so I expect a higher resolution to achieve a good effect regardless of the bpp.

"ACeP achieves a full color gamut, including all eight primary colors, using only colored pigments."


I want one now :-)

Not a correction (given that they posted after you), but if krasin's mention of 32k colours is right then it's 5bpp.

That's actually 5 bits per channel, or 15 bits per pixel altogether. Quite an achievement if true.

Ah, I meant per channel but I wrote per pixel - thanks for the correction.

Doesn't that mean 15 bpp? Since 2^15 = 32K?

Or am I misunderstanding what bpp is?

Current e-ink screens are 16 "colors" (grayscale shades) per pixel. Why do you suspect this has one fewer bit per pixel than that?

Because the only concrete claim they make is that the primary colors are included. At least in this article; I see that someone has responded with another that has more information.

E Ink had already color and support for (small area) motion videos support E Ink displays in 2009. At that time I got a Kindle 3 and there were hopes that the next Kindle would get such an improved screen. Sadly, Amazon ditched the bigger Kindle entirely and introduced Kindle Fire based on IPS display.

One day I would like a non-backlight color e-ink display ebook reader. And large screen (non-backlight/optional-backlight) e-ink displays would be great for various purposes like electronic wall painting that refresh once a day, info screens, third monitor (eg reading ebooks on PC on a special eye-friendly third monitor), etc

This is great news, awesome for textbooks etc... I've been waiting for this for so long as e-ink Triton has been way too expensive and low resolution.

Nothing about this indicates that they've solved the "too expensive" part, unfortunately.

Very true, here's hoping!

Did anyone see a link to where/how to order a kit?

This is from SID 2016. SID is the equivalent of SIGGRAPH for display technology companies. So it would typically be 12 - 18 months from the time a technology is demonstrated at SID to the point that it becomes available as a development kit. For example, last year E-Ink demoed their 42" panels, and they're now available as development kits, albeit at USD$6k per panel+kit! So not exactly raspberry pi kind of pricing.

Sounds promising. Are there any hackable e-book readers which use E Ink by the way? I.e. where you can install Linux for example?

Nice news, but I doubt this'll be any easier for hobbyists to acquire without harvesting them from devices

So the black and white e-ink screens are not currently being sold separately?

they are, but like, they are usually ultra tiny (smaller than a business card), or prohibitively expensive.

The best way of getting screens is to hop on ebay, and get a replacement screen, then reverse engineer the connecter they use

This is so cool. I had always imagined these to replace my monitors. Looks like its on its way soon.

Refresh will be way too slow... unless you are doing something unusual with your pc.

If you don't mind line-by-line or paginated scrolling, it will be fine for most applications. Not video or gaming, of course, but software development, web browsing, email, word processing, and spreadsheet editing are by no means unusual use cases.

Software development and web browsing seem like they would be a bear (depending on the software you're developing I guess, anything with a GUI would be tough). A touch based OS would be a must, cursors would be way too laggy.

It would make a dandy comic book reader though!

It's fast enough for IRC and manpages. Way more than fast enough, in fact.

For reading either, perhaps. But the refresh rate is waaaay too slow for it to be comfortable for you to type on for interacting with IRC. Just invoking man would be painful enough.

It's plenty comfortable on my kindle touch - it doesnt do fullscreen redraws, so generally if youre comfortable with a tiny bit of typing lag it's fine.

What are the practical applications of this in the near term though?

Can't really think of any. Signboards would be good but I doubt the scale/price/size works out well (for now). ereaders don't really need colour IMO though it would obviously be a benefit.

I know I would love an ereader or outdoor-usable screen with color for schematics, drawings, syntax highlighting. Literally anything that doesn't involve animation and requires a battery-powered display could be better with this.

Same here, been waiting for this for years.

E-Readers don't NEED color, but neither does your phone. Color is fun.

Color also conveys information more efficiently per pixel than black and white.

Have you ever read a photography book? How about a cookbook? Or anything else with color photos? There are more books in the world than those with just black text. :)

I've always wanted an e-reader that could do comics in full color. Kinda niche I guess.

Smartwatches? The Pebble has been using e-paper from day one and Pebble Time introduced color support. I'm not sure whether the Pebble 2 & Pebble Time 2 currently on Kickstarter have improved on that further but the Pebble Time's 64 color display can be a bit meh depending on the lighting conditions (at least to me the backlight always seems a bit too blue outside of daylight, tinting the colours too much).

E-paper != E-Ink. Pebble's "e-paper" display upset more than few people who assumed it was have the contrast, clarity, and zero power consumption abilities of true E-Ink. I stead it turned out to be a marketing term for an ordinary LCD.

That explains it, I guess. They still managed to provide ridiculous battery life and an always-on display (unlike OLED smart watches like the Apple Watch.

I wonder if e-ink wouldn't be possible for a future Pebble and whether it would give it any noticeable advantage compared to the current LCD display.

On the plus side, you can still read it outside in daylight. I have both a Pebble Time and an Android watch, and the Android watch is almost impossible to read outside in daylight.

It would be fabulous for kids picture books. I've read chapter ebooks to my kids a few times but for younger kids you want big colour pictures.

Educational books ? There was some research that reading from a screen is less effective for studying. Maybe this is better ?

Comics! I've been wanting one of these dedicated for comics for a long time!

This allows magazines and other color-image-heavy content to work a lot better on e-readers (currently they're pretty bad)

It seems an additional color-e-ink display for relatively-static text would be useful for reducing eyestrain. From personal experience I can vouch that my old Nook Simple Touch is far easier to read for long periods than my wife's backlit reader app.

full-colour magazines, textbooks, cookbooks, atlases ... pretty much everything involving illustrations would be nicer in colour

One that springs to mind is a proper wireless, i.e. battery powered, electronic picture frame. Notwithstanding that I can't understand why these haven't become a thing in black and white anyway.

Programming in colorForth¹ outside?


Depending on the sizes available, any device where you'd normally have an LCD, if it's outside, could have a color e-paper display that can be easily read in sunlight.

Depends on what you're reading. If you're reading books with maps or photos (I read a lot of travelogues for example), it would make quite a difference.

It'd at least give Amazon a more compelling reason to charge 300 dollars for their top Kindle.

> ACeP achieves a full color gamut

Which gamut?

I can't wait to see this in Kindles and Innovative ideas like popSLATE http://popslate.com

But, I just want a black and white Eink monitor.

With good latency combined with pressure sensitive display this would be exceptional for artists and just for everyday taking notes.

This will be huge in adverts on the streets, if UV does not degrade the display. Electricity costs cut thousandfold.

its always refreshing to see incremental improvements in technology unfolding before me.


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