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Fujitsu Debuts Bendable Electronic Paper 304

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the hot-sheet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Fujitsu today announced their joint development of the world's first film substrate-based bendable color electronic paper with an image memory function. The new electronic paper features vivid color images that are unaffected even when the screen is bent, and features an image memory function that enables continuous display of the same image without the need for electricity. The thin and flexible electronic paper uses very low power to change screen images, thereby making it ideal for displaying information or advertisements in public areas as a type of new electronic media that can be handled as easily as paper. The jointly developed electronic paper will be showcased at Fujitsu Forum 2005, to be held July 14 and 15 at Tokyo International Forum."
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Fujitsu Debuts Bendable Electronic Paper

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:12AM (#13070671)
    the first one of you that says "minority report" gets a punch in the mouth. you can't have anything new anymore without some schmuck saying "omg minority report!" bleh.
  • Amazing! (Score:3, Funny)

    by hapoo (607664) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:12AM (#13070672)
    I thought it couldn't be done, but they've managed to create digital paper... TWICE, in a matter of days. What an age we live in.
  • Paperless office? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by line-bundle (235965) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:12AM (#13070674) Homepage Journal
    So maybe the paperless office will appear before the paperless toilet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:17AM (#13070689)
    If Microsoft start buying add space on toliet rolls, at least I have the option of wiping my arse with it.....
  • by Horus1664 (692411) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:18AM (#13070691)

    This looks great but can some people please think of better applications than advertising...

    Surely Fujitsu have more exotic plans for this technology than curved posters ?

    • by aarku (151823) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:33AM (#13070753) Journal
      Pornography, of course. What else drives the innovation of media more?
    • by SeaFox (739806) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:39AM (#13070776)
      Take those expressway billboards and put up Amber Alerts on them. Instead of the dot matrix text message we have on highway overpass displays, we can do full color pictures with the child's stats. The technology allows us to easily change and remove the image when the child is found (via Wi-Fi or cellular connection to Police headquarters).
      • by Vengeance (46019) on Friday July 15, 2005 @06:26AM (#13071249)
        And then comes the inevitable: Crackers break into the system and we get a series of 'All your base are belong to us' billboards.
      • Take those expressway billboards and put up Amber Alerts on them. Instead of the dot matrix text message we have on highway overpass displays, we can do full color pictures with the child's stats. The technology allows us to easily change and remove the image when the child is found (via Wi-Fi or cellular connection to Police headquarters).

        More likely: high-way ads start looking like doubleclick ads, until accidents result in a class-action suit.

        The one interesting application is in cheap portable com

        • Not sure where you live but many roadside billboards around Cleveland are already going to animated and/or changing rotations. Aparantly someone has come up with a Jumbotron like technology with fairly low glare and auto-adjustment for lighting conditions which is cheap enough to use for billboards. I personally find it really annoying, but now that I know where they are I just ignore them when I see the flash of animation out of the corner of my eye.

        • the oligopy in place knows very well that serving the low-end market would be suicide for the high-end.


          That isn't really true these days. For starters, I don't know that Fujitsu has its hands in LCD production. There is so much competition in the PC / Laptop market, Fujitsu will find many companies eager to deploy this technology at as cheap a price as is possible with Fujitsu's licensing.

          The oligopy you're referring to used to be real. Look at DVD players for example. When the devices were first releas
      • ...But in Massachusetts that just means that the freeway signs will say "TESTING 1234567890" in full color. Oh, and theyll cost EVEN more.
    • That really cool, but not real yet, OLED keyboard thingy [slashdot.org].
    • I'm thinking wallpaper...
    • Well, how about a roll up display you can take with you. A single newspaper, that updates every day. A single book that allows you to simply download new books to it to read, instead of having to waste money (and trees) printing them. Screw having to print multiple new copies of things, just upload the new copy to the piece of paper. Embed an RFID in the paper to store the data, and use an RFID writer to replace the data. :-D
      • I can see it now ....... publishing companines suing illegal book sharers. eBooks on a PC arent very convenient, but once this thechnology is widely available, the paper companies' business model will be under threat, unless they offer legal book downloads.
        • Electronic paper is actually *huge*.

          It would basically put large swathes of the printer manufacturers, printers, the book publishers, the ink makers, paper mills etc etc out of business. It'd have quite an effect on forestry as well.

          BTW, anyone know of anything similar to the Gutenberg project but storing the scanned images of the pages?

          • BTW, anyone know of anything similar to the Gutenberg project but storing the scanned images of the pages?

            I'm looking for that too. I have a photocopy of a 16th century manuscript that I got in college for a class that I'd hate to just recycle but I have no use for it. Each photocopy takes something out of the original pigments so it's best to not photocopy given the choice. I can scan them and put them up but effectively noone's going to find it.
    • by ear1grey (697747) on Friday July 15, 2005 @05:40AM (#13071093) Homepage
      ...can some people please think of better applications than advertising...
      Instant Home Redecoration with Electronic Paper [boakes.org]
      • "Computer, today I'd like a soothing wall colour that matches these freshly cut flowers." or,
      • "Computer, it's party time, give me some garish birthday balloons and streamers." or most likely,
      • "Computer, break out the pr0n."
      • wish I had mod points as this was the direction I was thinking.

        Other areas would depend on the hardiness of the material, could it survive outdoors with simple physical protection? If so then traffic control signs could be made colorful (throw up lots of RED when something really bad is ahead). Of course billboards would use it too.

        Besides the home it could be used to post current informational messages in public areas like airports, malls, and the like. Take it a step further, a public area with many
      • You could also have "virtual posters" that you could put anywhere and change any time!
    • We WANT this to be used in advertising!!! We want many and huge signs made of this. That way the technology becomes cheaper then the average Joe can get it and come up with usefull implementations.

      How about Cell Phone display. If it such a power saver, imagine how this could lengthen the life of any small device that requires a display. When the refresh rate gets high enough imagine potential for wearable computing. Flexibility is only one of the things this tech brings. The fact that it is so thin (a
    • I'm amazed nobody's said this yet. Use this as a dashboard display in your office. I've had dozens of different displays that are "always on" at one time or another, but putting them in the computer background is useless, generally, 'cause they're always covered up by windows where I'm doing real surfi---er, work.

      So make an 11x17" poster, hang it on the wall next to your desk and monitor, and you can put your weather bug, webcam, stock and sports highlights, network load graph, google headlines, and what
    • How about downloading a bunch of news stories int oit, like your own personal newspaper, without the need to print each one on a piece of paper that will only be thrown away. You can use a PDA but it takes up space (they could probably make this new "paper" smaller and more portable), has a small, low res screen, etc.

      Personally, I've been waiting for something like this for a long while.
    • FP-RPG + PORN = $$$$$

      Fujitsu undoubtedly has a winner here.
    • by Durrik (80651) <(pwright) (at) (ryksyll.com)> on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:42AM (#13072921) Homepage
      If they can get a large format for the paper it would be useful for design verification meetings. Where you can put a nice big piece of paper on the table and have people go through it, and update it as you like.

      A screen isn't as useful for that. Because really only one or two people can go up to it and point things out, whereas large digital paper can get 8+ people around it. A screen, a projector, or an electronic white board, aren't as portable and if they aren't in the facility where you are meeting then you're out of luck.

      Also digital paper will probably have a much, much higher resolution then a projection screen. We're talking DPI here of at least 75 (hopefully 600x600 at least in the future), where as a projection screen capable of 1024 pixels over 10 feet wide you have 10. So you can get much more detail to where more people can get close to it.

      But what I would really like it for is for my gaming table. If it takes 2 seconds to update the entire page that covers the table (E sized would be perfect), that would make my just as a DM much better. When I set up a fight I have to get out there with the spray bottle to clean off the battle map, then spend a few minutes to draw the map. Compare it to what you have before, find that you screwed up something specifically needed that the entire scenario is about and redraw that section, find you have over spray on the water bottle, and redraw that section. It often takes about 10 minutes of game time.

      Heck if it takes a minute to update a page that size I still wouldn't mind. It saves me a great deal of time, all I have to do is scan the maps into the laptop, and then have it display things. It especially gets rid of the smart ass player syndrom who gets handed the pen to draw the parts of the map that you can't reach easily.
  • cartridges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rickler (894262)
    Yay, no more dealing with expensive printer cartridges!
    • Since this circumvents print cartridges and is a threat to the printer's business model, have they got enough to sue for loss of business? Its a tenuous link but hey, it works for the music industry!
      • Nah, the print/paper industries will just do what the auto industries have done to all those miracle engines that get 100mpg. They'll steal all proof that the technology existed and kill the inventor(s). Or buy the patents and let no one use them.
  • by ari_j (90255) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:18AM (#13070697)
    Paper that changes what's written on it to suit what the reader wants? We've had that for over 200 years in the US. We call it the Constitution.

    This must just be news because it's color.

    (This satire brought to you by Daniels, Walker, and Beam, LLP.)
  • am I the first one to think of this?

    EPIC 2014 [robinsloan.com]
  • Screenshot (Score:5, Informative)

    by sinner0423 (687266) <sinner0423NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:19AM (#13070700)
    http://www.fujitsu.com/img/PR/2005/20050713-01.jpg [fujitsu.com]

    At 2:19am, I just want to look at pictures.
    • I tried viewing the screenshot and then unplugging my computer, but the image didn't stay there as claimed in the summary. I want a refund!
  • by Infinityis (807294)
    This will bring new meaning to a funny image I saw that had the hand-written message "I kant tipe so i rite on the screen wit a krayon"

    Seriously though, I've seen enough professors accidentally write on a projector screen (instead of the whiteboard behind it) and leave a relatively permanent mark. I can only imagine how many people will accidentally jot down a quick note to later realize they just ruined a VERY expensive piece of paper...
    • There was a professor in our CS department, from whom I fortunately never took a class. Besides being both incompetent and insane, she was downright stupid about markers. She would start circling something on the white board while she lectured, and just keep circling it over and over again. There is still a mark on the white board from the time she used a permanent marker instead of dry-erase for that purpose.

      Of course, a friend of mine once showed up for her class, and he was the only one there. She
    • I can only imagine how many people will accidentally jot down a quick note to later realize they just ruined a VERY expensive piece of paper...

      Then design the surface to be usable with dry-erase markers and double its effectiveness as a presentation mechanism.
  • that "Red Planet" wasn't so far off after all.
  • Ouch (Score:5, Funny)

    by Infinityis (807294) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:21AM (#13070710) Homepage
    If this paper is able to give the user a papercut, I'd say this definitely classifies as bleeding-edge technology.
  • I would love to have an e-ink display for my computer, so that I could use it to read long texts. Even if e-ink is not fast enough for GUI stuff (I guess), it might make a good secondary display on the desktop.

    Where are the end-user products? The only thing I've heard of so far is the mystical ebook-reader from Sony, available in Japan only.

    • by JanneM (7445) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:54AM (#13070819) Homepage
      The only thing I've heard of so far is the mystical ebook-reader from Sony, available in Japan only.

      Nothing mystical about it. I've played with one, and it's neat. The screen is wonderful. In a store it looks really good but a little washed out, since the white isn't really white and the black isn't tuly black. When you bring it out into daylight, it's amazing. Where a normal screen would be hard to read, this one just gets better instead. It really has the general feel of reading on paper, not on a screen.

      Unfortunately the drawbacks are numerous as well. First, the unavoidable one: the update frequency is sedentary at best. I mean, you really wait slightly for the screen to change when you flip the "page". Not a problem for a text reader to be sure, but forget anything about animations or a normal GUI. And unfortunately, Sony's implementation of the device is screaming-defiance-at-an-uncaring-world frustrating. The case, buttons and so on feel cheap and unreliable, and the whole thing is DRM:ed to h*ll and back. Forget about easily moving your own texts to it - no, you're supposed to rent books. And the memory is paltry; about 10Mb if I remember correctly.

      It's an absolutely great reader, that I will never in a million years actually buy since the execution just isn't there. If it was slightly smaller, DRM free, could display all normal formats (html, Unicode text and PDF at the least), USB2 connection, had good amount of memory and/or an CF card slot, and preferably could also work as an mp3 player and radio (there's a definite limit on the amount of gadgets I'm willing to carry) I'd get one today.

      • As you can read on the Librie pages around the web (mostly a wiki and a yahoogroup) you can in fact put whatever you want on the Sony Librie: after the market launch they realized that people really don't want to rent books that autodestroy after 60 days and introduced a new format.

        There are tools in Windows and Linux to convert texts to Librie format.

        As for the storage, well... it accepts Sony's Memory Sticks, so where is the problem?

        You complain also about connection speed :true, but you can expect the
      • You want WAY too much. I'd settle for easy conversion from html and txt (screw pdf, with a passion! Although due to the volume of 'em out there, a pdf converter would be nice), but native support is not an issue for me.
        Also required, as you say, is normal memory; no memorystick, just SD or CF. A proprietary connector wouldn't bother me much either...USB2 just isn't necessary for txt. And I realy don't care to add an mp3 player etc to an ebook reader; I'd rather have a thin device than a slightly bulkier one
    • Ahh, there in lies the difference between neat technology available in the lab and actual mass production. If it were infinitely cheap to make e-ink displays we'd be printing on them right now, even if all it ment was that we could delete the page and print on it a second time.
  • by iignotus (877104)
    I wonder if this technology will ever be realized as a whole new way to distribute information. It can potentially cut down on the cost of paper and ink, not to mention reduce the amount of trees being cut down for paper. I hope this idea gets heavily pursued by anyone who has the knowhow to further it.
    • Electronic paper has been a subject of research for more than a decade. Reflective displays are much better for reading than emitting displays.

      Despite all efforts we're still waiting for the real products, at least ones we could use at home.
  • nifty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by utexaspunk (527541) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:24AM (#13070720)
    it looks like it needs a little work in the area of color and resolution, but that's sure to come.

    One thing that I think will really benefit from these reflective display technologies is classrooms and conference rooms. What I would really like to see would be a chalkboard-sized reflective display with a digitizer pen. Without dimming the lights like one would have to do with a projector (and thus lulling students to sleep), a teacher could write directly on it as well as have problems already in the computer to put up on it quickly. How much time in math classes is spent writing out problems? Word problems from all these standardized tests could be quickly thrown up on the board and the teacher could directly model how to solve them. It could really increase a teacher's efficacy as well as make their life a lot easier.

    Later on, similar technologies could be built into desks (or the students could have tablets) so that the student can solve them at their desks and then the teacher could push a button and display the students' work on the board.
  • Cleaning? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Infinityis (807294) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:25AM (#13070721) Homepage
    How easy is it to clean these things? I mean, if the porn industry really provides the push for new technology, they gotta be extra easy to clean.
  • OY! (Score:5, Funny)

    by nsample (261457) <<nsample> <at> <stanford.edu>> on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:26AM (#13070727) Homepage
    Sweet jesus! Now I'm going to need tiny hydrogen-based fuel cells to power my beowulf cluster of electronic papers. I think I shall call such a collection a "notepad."
  • I prefer printed documents because I can take quick notes, underline parts, highlight interesting/important sentences, etc. I can't study on a PDF displayed on the computer because I can't do all these things.

    Now, if I had one or two A4-sized electronic paper sheets, with a touch screen on top so I can make annotations with my stylus, then I would be able to stop using dead trees for studying...
    • by -Harlequin- (169395) on Friday July 15, 2005 @04:15AM (#13070889)
      Now, if I had one or two A4-sized electronic paper sheets, with a touch screen on top so I can make annotations with my stylus, then I would be able to stop using dead trees for studying...

      They already exist. They're called Tablet-PCs. I'm writing this with a stylus now on an A4-sized screen :-). I really bought mine for art, and I normally just use the keyboard, but I can scribble all over documents if I want to, and I don't have to use the fingerpad or carry a mouse :)

      (Actually, while I've found that tablet-PCs are way better than normal laptops, they're still not up there with a good pencil and sheet of paper for many tasks. The dead trees will be with us for some time :-)
  • Imagine what something like this could do for laptop screens? Unless you're playing an FPS, a computer screen is fairly static - so updating the screen and then 0 power consumption until you do something... man oh man!

    What's the refresh rate like? Can it be backlit? Having a laptop you can read in the sun might be quite nice...
  • by Underholdning (758194) on Friday July 15, 2005 @04:03AM (#13070846) Homepage Journal
    There are a lot of applications for a technology that can change what is printed. Check out this keyboard [artlebedev.com] for instance
  • what if they started making shirts with this e-paper attached on the front? change your clothes via USB. I'm not sure how durable this stuff is, but if you put it in some sort of protective coating it should be good? hell, I'm sure someone would start an advertising business out of it, "Wear Microsoft ads on your shirt and get paid!"
  • i thought flexible organic LEDs were going to be the great bendable color screens of the future. so is this somehow better than foLED? anyone care to make a quick comparison of pro's and con's?
  • new electronic media that can be handled as easily as paper

    I bet you can't fold it more than 7 times.

  • As an amatuer writer, this can be pretty exciting to finally have the best of paper combined with the best of computers and put together a Tablet PC with decent battery life which isn't available with a conventional LCD screen.

    These days I still print out hundreds of pages just to edit my stories - editting is a pain in the ass in the conventional computer just because erasing a line with a mouse while seated upright doesn't give the same satisfaction and oversight as crossing it out with a pen and adding
  • What's the curve (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pvanes (900014)
    A couple of things about electronic paper. The displays are too slow to be used for anything other than static display of information at this time. The screen needs to refresh in it's entirety whenever anything changes on the page. That takes almost a second and is combined with some flicker. Hence the display cannot keep up with typing speed, and is useless for interactivity.

    The electronic paper would therefore always be a secondary display, for static information. Obvious usage examples are to extend th

  • Ponder.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldwolf13 (321189) on Friday July 15, 2005 @05:55AM (#13071157) Journal
    How many years am I going to be hearing about electronic paper (or printable displays for that matter), before the damn things actually come out and I can buy them?
  • Oh, great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FridayBob (619244) on Friday July 15, 2005 @06:42AM (#13071313) Homepage
    ... thereby making it ideal for displaying information or advertisements in public areas...

    Just what we need: more spam. As if people today didn't suffer enough advertising already.
    • Last night, my wife & I went out for dinner to "East Side Mario's".

      I was SHOCKED to find an advertisment for Tide lanudry detergent INSIDE the menu!!!

      Needless to say, I felt humanity slip another rung down the ladder.

  • This would go perfectly if used with the Optimus keyboard [slashdot.org], instead of OLEDs!
  • So, what is the refresh rate on the paper, how long does it take to completely go from one image to the next? Would it benefit from some kind of algorithm that determined the minimum amount of pixels needed to change it?

    What kind of resolution does it get?

    Lots of questions.
  • So something tells me that while bending these isn't an issue, folding them would most likely break them. Anybody with more info?

    So while this is really great that this is finally picking up some real speed, it doesn't look like its at the point yet where you'll just be able to carry the folded/tightly rolled screen with you, as you'll most likely need a protective case for it.

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