One page closer to electronic paper
Last Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2003 | 5:32 PM ET
Researchers are one step closer to developing the flexible computer screen, also known as electronic paper.The screen is so flexible it can be rolled into a cylinder without losing its image quality and so thin it can fit under a door.
“I think it’s a major step forward. We have cleared a big obstacle in electronic paper development,” said Yu Chen, a research scientist with E Ink Corp.
Electronic text image shown on the bent displayCourtesy: Joanna Au and Yu Chen
Massachusetts-based E Ink is one of several companies working to develop electronic paper.In order to make the display screen flexible, the E Ink research team developed a stainless steel foil topped with a thin layer of circuits that control an overlying film of “electronic ink.”
That “ink” was developed by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist.
The ink contains millions of tiny capsules that are full of an oily substance. Negatively charged chips float in the capsules and when signalled, form the text or image.
Currently, information and power is fed to the screen through a wired hook-up. But Chen’s team is working on a self-contained system that could receive data through a wireless connection.
Although e-paper is being touted for the next generation of e-books and e-newspapers, futurists and industry experts speculate e-paper could be sewn into garments for users to use on the run or could be used for a credit card that could display the balance or recent purchases.
“It’s very hard to predict where this thing may go,” said Aris Silzars, former president of California-based Society for Information Display.