Flexible eInk screens – the possibilities

For all the talk of flexible eInk screens there’s not really been much discussion of what their actual impact would be. Let’s explore if there’s more to flexible eInk than we realize.

What are the Obvious Benefits of flexible eInk screens? 

The first few benefits that spring to mind are pretty significant -

  1. Unbreakable or difficult to break screens.  
  2. The option to make eReaders foldable and/or rollable and thus more convenient and portable.
  3. A similar, but not identical, benefit is the possibility to give small form factor devices screens that are double or triple in size.
  4. The ability to expand use of eInk screens to a variety of non-flat products i.e. watches, clothing, etc.

Take a look at this video (00:25 onwards; sort of not safe for work; some people could be offended by intro/outro/a few of the designs) for what eInk based, infinitely redesignable T-Shirts could be like.

What are some of the other possible benefits of flexible eInk screens?

With a little thought we get into some really interesting uses –  

  1. Using rolling screens or double screens to eliminate eInk reload delays.

    You could refresh the part that is not currently shown while the reader is reading the part that is shown.

    This could be in the form of a back screen that refreshes while the front screen is being read and then replaces the front screen.
    Or it could literally be a rolling display that scrolls around and refreshes lines of eInk before they are visible.

  2. Switching between concave and convex modes to better adjust to conditions i.e.

    When you want more privacy or want less reflections and less outside light you switch to concave mode.

    When you want to be able to catch more light or read while lying in bed and at obtuse angles, you switch to convex mode. Convex mode would also be useful when adding freehand notes.

  3. Rigid Screen Versus Flexible Screen mode of the eReader where users can choose what works better for them. 

How could use of flexible eInk screens in other areas help eReaders?

Making eInk screens flexible adds the possibilityof using them in lots of other areas i.e.

  1. In defence (the Arizona State project with the US Army is focused on flexible wearable displays for soldiers).
  2. On clothing and in watches. 
  3. In retail displays. 
  4. For cellphones.

This leads to innovations that can be brought back to eReaders. For example, solar powered eInk (which Neolux is already working on).

Even more importantly it leads to advances in eInk technology and price drops that are crucial for eReaders to become more popular.

One Response

  1. flex displays really need flexible electronics to shine in truly flexible products, otherwise you’ll always have a least some part of the product that is rigid to house the support electronics. Anyone got a lead on flexible memory chips or batteries?

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