August 13, 2006 6:00am CST
What is an EPD? An Electronic Paper Display is a display that possess a paper-like high contrast appearance, ultra-low power consumption, and a thin, light form. It gives the viewer the experience of reading from paper, while having the power of updatable information. EPDs are a technology enabled by electronic ink - ink that carries a charge enabling it to be updated through electronics. Electronic ink is ideally suited for EPDs as it is a reflective technology which requires no front or backlight, is viewable under a wide range of lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, and requires no power to maintain an image. E Ink Corporation is the leading developer of electronic ink and of EPD technologies. E Ink manufactures a electronic ink which is in makes into a film used as an optical component to make EPDs. Why Use One? EPDs are ideal for many consumer and industrial applications where the reading experience and range of lighting and viewing angles are of the utmost importance. Transportation signage can be utilized in a myriad of locations previously impossible due to sunlight or viewing angle. eBooks that strained the eye with their emissive light can now give the reader the true book-like experience. Cell phone screens that had to be shaded and turned continuously for a glimpse of the numbers now have high contrast and brightness in the widest of lighting conditions. EPDs give power to product designers to use their imagination in ways never before possible. Who Is Using EPDs Now? The first commercial product using an EPD is the SONY LIBRIé. This product, launched in April 2004 in Japan, is an electronic reader utilizing an E Ink® Imaging Film EPD. VIT is manufacturing transportation signage in Europe using E Ink's revolutionary EPD and Neolux and Midori Mark use it for retail signage applications. Various watch and clock companies have developed new product concepts with EPDs. Read more about our partners. How Can I Use An EPD? View our products section to see how EPDs can be integrated into your application. Contact our sales department if you have an application that could use an EPD. The Future Of EPDs Beyond today's generation of technology which offers the visual look of paper (in terms of contrast, brightness and viewing angle), future versions will integrate E Ink's flex-ready products with plastic electronics [link to flexible displays page] being developed by several companies including a Philips spin-off called Polymer Vision, Epson, and UK-based Plastic Logic. The integration of these two technologies will allow something that not only has the look of paper, but is also much closer to its form - thin, light, flexible, rollable. The vision of E Ink is to combine these attributes to create RadioPaperTM, a lightweight, flexible display with the readability of ink on paper but with the added benefit of digital technology to download newspaper headlines or a best-selling novel at the user's command - providing information to anyone, anywhere. In the future, clothing, buildings, household objects and information appliances all will have the ability to communicate. Ultimately electronic ink will permit most any surface to become a display, bringing information out of the confines of traditional devices and into the world around us.