Going electric

Electronic paper? Sounds oxymoronic, but this phenomenon a-borning could make the thought of e-books and e-newspapers more bearable.

A description of E Ink’s new electronic ink display describes it as “somewhat like a miniaturized Etch-a-Sketch based on electricity, instead of magnetism.” Once the high-contrast, thin, flexible surface is “printed,” it needs no further power to maintain the image — thereby requiring 99% less energy than LCDs.

E Ink electronic ink display scheme

E Ink isn’t alone; Fujitsu has also developed “film-substrate-based bendable color electronic paper with an image memory,” the company announced last summer. Their product should come to market in 2007.

And what would we use electronic paper for? Portable displays, of course – but also for menus, manuals, retail price displays — any kind of posted, quickly-changing information. Like, for instance, the definition of paper.

E Ink demo of electronic paper sign

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