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Dasung Paperlike Pro: E-Ink Monitor with HDMI connector [video] (youtube.com)
143 points by abledon on June 7, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments

A purpose-built laptop that just runs emacs at init and uses one of these as the display. I would buy one so hard.

Hoping the ReMarkable will be simple enough hack that I could hook it up to my own cloud and use it as a terminal device. Would be nice to sketch lemmas in my handwriting and have a gesture recognition system pick it up and run it past a theorem prover, get back results. etc.

I'm awaiting the arrival of e-ink displays on laptops.

You speak my language. Another thing I want is an e-ink only phone. I think for sure there is a market for that type of device.

I loved my Motofone[0], it was dirt cheap (paid £10 for it without contract or SIM) and lasted ages (~2 weeks) on battery.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_Fone

Silly question, but why not use a e-ink tablet like the nook? With a bluetooth keyboard and termux/jupyter working on android it should still work fine as a terminal device. Though I have no experience with them and I might be wrong

I was an early backer of their last USB based monitor, it is truly useless - very poor refresh rate, highly overpriced, poorly written drivers, clunky construction and the list goes on and on.... it ended up as quite a large waste of money.

However, I do hope that the new version will succeed, I love reading on eink screens and I truly wish I had a decent, high resolution / DPI, fast refreshing eink display that would take DisplayPort and 'just work'.

Hey a sibling backer!

I agree, it quickly became a gimmick, and such has been face down on a counter top since I got it.

It is slow, it seems to use more CPU, and the stand that came with it is a joke. At least they had VESA mounts on it, that kept me interested another week.

One problem is that it gets this greasy look after an hour or so and you have to manually interact with it to clear it up with the buttons.

It would be nice to use an existing display cable, HDMI, DP, whatever, and plug it in without a further thought. Let the GPU shuffle the bits around the wire.

Obviously the refresh rate is the most painful part of these screens. Is there much hope they can improve that?

Is this for real? "1233% funded on July 2, 2016", and they're not shipping 11 months later. They're not making e-ink panels; they just add a bezel and controller. The actual display may be an E-Ink Mobius.[1] That's 1600x1200 pixels on a 13.3" panel. The prototype they're showing may come from the dev kit for E-Ink. They'd just need to add an HDMI interface and repurpose a case from some other display.

E-Ink is a neat technology, but it still costs far too much per unit area compared to competing technologies. That's why big E-Ink displays are so rare.

[1] http://www.eink.com/display_products_mobius.html

I think they have more problems to solve. I'm not sure how well eInk will survive the relatively extreme refresh rates that a PC interface would require even if you cap it at 30hz/fps it would still be orders of magnitude more than what any eInk display currently on the market will experience.

Early LCDs had similar problems with pixels getting stuck and dying, from the data sheets which are available (they are quite old) for eInk displays their life span simply cannot coexist with a PC UI interface.

Even if the life span improved I'm guessing these guys had to optimize a lot of things including adding a scaled and a composer that would only refresh the pixels that absolutely must be refreshed in order to get any reasonable lifespan from these.

And I'm still not sure these would last anywhere near the time frame one would expect from a 1000$+ monitor with daily use.

I wonder why Pixel Qi didn't become popular enough to fit this niche and not die as a company - seems to have many benefits over e-ink, including refresh rate and some colors:


I tried to follow pixel qi closely, my guess is that they were focused more on the portables market and not getting enough traction in that area. Outside of being sold in the OLPC, they were sold at small volumes on sparkfun as diy panels to install into netbooks and in the nearly failed notion ink tablet, they were also in some ruggedized windows tablets made for industrial/military use.

I'd have to find the old videos with Mary-Lou Jepsen, but before they went out of business it was around when the iPad retina came out and they were focusing on retina screens. As far as the screen itself, while it seemingly had some trans reflective properties it was also doing it on a TN, not IPS, panel, so it had that problem where holding it vertically would introduce that odd gradient across the screen.

Today I'm more curious about clearink which showed up out of nowhere at the society for information display conference this year with a new outdoor readable technology: https://youtu.be/9aEYT79-vuo

As someone who jumped at the chance to have the best of all possible worlds and snagged up a NI Adam on release day, I can tell you that the display was harder to get used to than I'd expected. View angle was a bit odd, and all of the qualities you'd want from a color display suffered a little.

That said, it wasn't the thing that killed the Adam - that was the weird approach to PR combined with lack of delivery on device-specific software.

> I wonder why Pixel Qi didn't become popular enough to fit this niche and not die as a company

I dunno, maybe you could hit up Toshiba and ask them why they stopped putting transreflective screens on their laptops as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXO7u6bzVGQ

If you wish to use an e-ink screen to avoid eyes strain, I've recently learned that a video projector does have the avantages of a classic monitor (colors, good refresh rate) without having to watch directly at the source of light, thus avoiding eyes fatigue. I consider it to be a better tradeoff than working with an annoying delay as if you were using a 10 years old computer.

How does backlit of reflected make a difference? Light comes of the screen/projection and hits the eye. I don't see how the light would change with that bounce by projection.

I don't know about eye strain, but my brain can very easily tell from specularity cues whether I'm looking at a passively lit or back-lit screen. This matters because my brain apparently associates back-lit screens with wakeful activities and keeps me from going to sleep. My brain can't really tell the difference between an E-ink screen and a book (when illuminated by ambient light), so I prefer to read on an E-ink screen before bed.

If you don't wish to look at reflected light either, in that case you might as well be blind :). Even from en e-ink screen, you are watching reflected light from another source arriving into your eyes _after_ reflecting from the e-ink screen.

The thing is, unless you're in a blackout room like a theater, there will be other sources of light already reaching the reading surface. In order to overpower the existing light enough that the contrast ratio between text and background is strain-free, you'd often need to crank up the intensity of one or the other to the point that it starts to become as uncomfortable as looking at a traditional display.

It's notre direct light - starring at the sun (extreme example) severly hurt your eyes while watching at shadows is not a problem.

For a non-PWMed high DPI monitor adjusted to match the e-ink's brightness and contrast, the only difference in the light hitting your eye is the spectrum and the polarization. It's not completely impossible for these to matter, because of interactions with optical imperfections of the eye, but I've never seen any evidence that it actually does matter.

You make one good point for e-paper though: paper is always adjusted to the room lights.

What about blue light? I've been hearing about that being a problem lately.

Blue light stimulates intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, which influence sleep. Visually identical white lights can have different spectra and different effect on these cells. Eg. "warm white" made from RGB with the blue channel turned down, eg. as with f.lux, will probably stimulate those cells more than sharply long-pass filtered (eg. with a dichroic filter) broad spectrum light of the same color temperature.

These cells are also responsible for light aversion, at least in animal models, eg: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23078956 , so it could theoretically make a difference to eye strain, especially at high brightness levels.

However, if you read the e-ink under fluorescent or LED based lighting it's probably going to have a similar peaked spectrum to the LCD screen and there will be no difference if the brightness and color temperature is the same.

You can use f.lux https://justgetflux.com to compensate for that.

That's because the sun is really bright. You might just as well just dim your screen. A bit like these sun solace sunglasses :)

it is NOT the same at all. There is a lot to this that you're obviously ignorant of. There is a big difference on your eyes, brain, and sleep cycles between transmitted light and reflected light even when your screen is set to a low brightness.

How can there possibly be a difference between transmitted and reflected light? Once they head for your eye, a photon is a photon. The only distinguishing features they have are direction, polarization, and frequency. Your eyes can't even theoretically distinguish between emitted and reflected light of equal spectrum and brightness.

At least explain "a lot" before calling me ignorant, I'm always curious about scientific explanations. (but don't bother now, I'm hereby out of this discussion)

*not shadows, undirect light

I guess that depends on how strong your projector is, because the light bounces of the wall/screen back in to your eyes.

As does the light when it reflects off of the screen of your e-ink display, right?

Yup, and a projector can provide a huge surface to work with - problem is that they are limited in resolutions available, and 4k ones are extremely expensive.

A projector can be a good option. However be aware that people may also suffer from headache when using DLP projectors.

A review from one year ago


the price tag seems to be $1300

For an older model, which didn't have HDMI. The linked blog actually discusses Dasung's third-generation product at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/02/dasung-paperlike-p... and mentions that the previous gen's product price was $700 on Indiegogo, and says they don't know what this unit's price will be.

Seems like it'd be a good screen for a system that's intended for use outdoors. A lot of surveying hardware hooks up to a conventional laptop, but it's difficult to see laptop screens in full sunlight, and you either have to put a shade over the screen or leave the laptop in the cab of the truck.

How does E-Ink compare to LCD in temperature range?

Here's their real website: http://www.dasung.com/english/

I cannot wait for the day when large e-ink displays are cheap, or as cheap as normal screens, and have faster refresh rates.

I just want an 8.5" x 11" version that is portable, runs Linux, and can open PDFs. For reading papers you wouldn't be able to beat it.

Ask HN: Cheap, hackable e-reader? | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13863046

E Ink announces a full color electrophoretic ePaper display | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11766073

https://GetRemarkable.com $480 pre-order | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13113819

I have the reMarkable on my watchlist, and I'm eager to see it in action and play a little bit with it before I commit to a purchase.

Sony makes one, https://www.sony.com/electronics/digital-paper-notepad for $700 but it's a product being sold to consumers, so tinkering with the underlying OS (reputed to be Linux, in the form of Android) isn't supported.

(There are a number of other 8.5"x11" eink PDF readers out there.)

The Digital Paper Notepad is a discontinued product. What other 8.5"x11" eink readers are there?

They are releasing the successor this month.

Apart from the "Runs Linux" you might be able to find a Kindle DX. And then you might be able to hack it to run Linux.

I bought one used in university and would use it for reading PDFs. Really slow refresh rate, but who cares if you're just reading big pages?

> I cannot wait for the day when large e-ink displays are cheap, or as cheap as normal screens, and have faster refresh rates.

I'd settle for cheap; I'd really like it as a second screen for mostly static documents, even if it can't have the refresh rate to be a primary display.

Anyone interested in e-ink displays may also the PrintLess Plans product of interest:


> "No blue light"

Well no light of any type really. If your room light source has blue light then you get blue light. The difference here is that you normally can't adjust the colour balance of your room light. You usually can dim down the blue light on a light emitting display.

BTW, Phillips Hue lights, which do let you adjust the color balance of your room light, are great. Even if you don't go for obviously colored light, just being able to change the color temperature of white light is nice.

Does anyone know if there's a hack for Kobos or Kindles that allows for similar? Or connect a keyboard.

I'd love to be able to attach a tmux session on my Kobo Glo HD and write with a bluetooth keyboard outside in the summer.

Kobos have proven to be pretty hackable, IIRC someone on the mobileread developers forum got Debian running on one, so ssh/tmux should be possible.

The refresh rate is pretty low though, even for a text based terminal, I suspect interactive use would suffer.

I've heard you can root a Kindle, but the latency on those screens is only appropriate for an e-reader, where flipping a page is the only real change.

This is an ACME's user wet dream.

Gosh. I would buy this in a second if the price was a bit less and I was sure the durability/lifespan was good. The reduced eye strain benefits. I really want this.

What's the mechanism of action behind the reduced eye strain, and why is e-ink needed to achieve it?

Lack of flicker? True of any non-PWMed monitor.

Reduced brightness or contrast? Conventional displays can be turned down to match e-ink.

Lack of subpixels? High DPI displays make subpixels invisible under normal circumstances.

Smoother spectrum white? I doubt this makes a difference, but it's not completely implausible, because the eye does have some chromatic aberration. But greyscale LCDs are available.

Lack of polarization? Polarization is visible (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haidinger's_brush ), but it's a very minor effect. It seems unlikely that something so difficult to see could cause eye strain. OLED displays don't show this effect.

Reduced brightness at maintained contrast.

One place I worked had indirect solar spectrum light that bounced light off the ceiling. That really seemed to keep my eyes from getting tired.

Can you describe that in a bit more detail? Links? I'd love something like that.

This was a very old workspace. About every two cubicles there was a 15"x15"x8" box that sat on top of the cubicle wall and took about a minute to come up to full brightness. The top of the box was open and light reflected off the ceiling tiles down to the work area. I don't know who made them. They generated a fair amount of heat, but not enough to be uncomfortable. Twenty years ago they were probably twenty years old. In the five years I was there I never saw one burn out.

The new Onyx book will get HDMI too at the end of the year. Plus you can use it as an android tablet with pen.

Perfect for an xlib based window manager.

I wished they made bigger versions for digital signage.

DIY Alphasmart clone here I come.

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