E Ink demos first active matrix electronic ink display

Engineers at the company have demonstrated what E Ink claims is the first active-matrix electronic-ink display that is capable of producing high-resolution illustrations and text, E Ink said in a statement. The display prototype is 12.1 inches (30.73 centimetres) diagonally with the resolution of a traditional laptop computer, the company said.

The new technology is expected to be available by mid-2003, the company said.

In developing the active-matrix screen, E Ink researchers created a new version of electronic ink that changes 10 times faster than the company's current version. The company is currently not disclosing how it made the ink change faster, according to a spokeswoman for E Ink.

Electronic ink is similar to regular ink, but it contains millions of microcapsules. Each capsule contains a mixture of dye pigment and pigment chips. The capsules respond to electronic charges.

IBM Research provided some of the electronics used in the company's laptop displays for E Ink's research prototype. E Ink engineers, starting with the active matrix from the IBM laptop, added electronic ink and modified the circuitry to develop a working display. IBM and E Ink will deliver a paper describing the display prototype at the Society for Information Display Conference in San Jose, California, in June.

The new active-matrix electronic-ink display provides greater readability, uses less power and is thinner and lighter and thinner than traditional LCDs (liquid crystal displays), (CRTs) cathode ray tubes, (LEDs) light emitting displays and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), E Ink said. The technology will be 30 per cent thinner and lighter than traditional LCD displays, the company said.

E Ink has partners like IBM, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Philips and Hearst.

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