updated 09:03 pm EDT, Wed June 6, 2012
E Ink technology bound for other applications
E Ink, maker of the monochrome displays featured in many of the most popular e-reader devices, is looking to apply its technology in a variety of other sectors. EE Times reports that, at the 2012 Society for Information Display conference, the company has been showing off novel applications of its e-paper displays in products ranging from smart cards to bicycles.
E Ink's Vizplex electrophoretic displays are capable of displaying information in a paper-like black and white format or in color through the use of filters. The displays consume little power, making them well-suited for smaller devices. The company has been showing off displays integrated into smart cards, where the e-paper can display a personal identification number, anti-theft authentication code, or other information.
E Ink has also proposed using its technology as an auxiliary display for a smartphone, capable of showing information such as time, pending messages, and power levels without waking the main LCD display and consuming battery power. Other applications include a bike computer screen showing bike speed and the vital signs of a rider, as well as an ultra-low power traffic light using E Ink's reflective technology.
While E Ink has seen great success due to the popularity of devices such as Amazon's Kindle e-reader, excess manufacturing capacity was cited as the reason behind a $27 million loss last quarter. That excess capacity and the operating loss, its first following 10 quarters of consecutive profit, are said to be significant factors driving the company to branch out into new areas.