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Displays Portables Hardware

UK Company Demos Color Video Animation On Electronic Paper 61

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ooo-shiny dept.
sweetpea86 writes with an update on color e-ink screens. From the article: "Plastic electronics company Plastic Logic has demonstrated color video animation on a flexible plastic display, which it claims is the first example of an organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) driving electronic paper at video rate. The demonstration proves that the potential uses of electronic paper extend far beyond monochrome text-based e-readers to more sophisticated tablet-style devices that can run color video, while still keeping power consumption low." SlashGear also took a look at it and has a short video of the animated e-ink display.
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UK Company Demos Color Video Animation On Electronic Paper

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 30, 2012 @03:17AM (#40502743)

    It'd be cool if the video link had... Ehm... A link, tho.

  • Smart Move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @03:22AM (#40502763)

    "Last month, Plastic Logic announced it was abandoning plans to manufacture its own e-readers, deciding instead to to license its flexible display technology and software to OEMs, system integrators, and device manufacturers."

    Good, there is nothing worse than a company who makes something interesting, then tries to beat the market in a game they dont understand. Just make the shit and sell it to all the other people who have design and marketing departments larger than your entire company, and let them deal with Q public.

    They could win if everyone wants it, and if a reader fails they might have plenty of others to sell it to, instead of all of the eggs in one basket, and raffled off to the richest patent troll.

    • Re:Smart Move (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @06:18AM (#40503351) Journal
      Of course, they still need to find partners willing to use their technology. Pixel Qi, for example, has been pursuing this course, and it's still really hard to find devices that use their screens and often the devices you do find are let down in other areas. If you make a great screen and the first product that a licensee ships has an anaemic CPU and GPU then the poor perception of the device will reflect badly on your screen and may harm future sales ('I got a thing with one of those screens, and it was crap'). That's why it's often a good strategy to put together a reference platform that can show off the functionality for showing to journalists and potential customers, even if you don't sell it as a consumer product.
    • I'd be happier if they improved the contrast on existing pearl technology. In anything but bright sunlight, paper is still easier to read.

    • Good, there is nothing worse than a company who makes something interesting, then tries to beat the market in a game they dont understand.

      Yes there is. DeVry MBAs who succumb to variations of the "if you don't get your hands dirty it's not work"/"architects must dig their own foundations or patent they're trolls" fallacy.

      Just make the shit and sell it to all the other people

      I love the word "just". It usually precedes a verb whose subject is someone other than the speaker. I guess they should "just"

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @03:25AM (#40502771)
    Finally, flashing advertisements can now be done on paper. This will be so 1995.
    • Re:HTML FLash tag (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @05:05AM (#40503075)
      I eagerly await the time when this tech is down to less than a dollar a page including controls and a week of battery. Because when that happens, you'll start seeing them used as magazine advertisments. Which hackers should be able to disassemble with some effort. Thus giving hobbiests access to vast areas of color e-paper subsidised by advertisers and so cheap that people can (and will) use it as wallpaper.
      • Re:HTML FLash tag (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Saturday June 30, 2012 @07:33AM (#40503611) Homepage

        I remember years ago when Kindles first came out one US newspaper (New York Times?) calculated that it would be cheaper to buy every subscriber one and deliver the editions electronically than printing and distributing paper copies. I'm somewhat surprised that no newspaper has offered its readers some kind of eReader+subscription offer yet.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Because you only get the cost savings if everyone switches (no printer, no distribution). If half of them switch, you still have huge static costs.

      • I eagerly await the time when this tech is down to less than a dollar a page including controls and a week of battery. Because when that happens, you'll start seeing them used as magazine advertisments. Which hackers should be able to disassemble with some effort. Thus giving hobbiests access to vast areas of color e-paper subsidised by advertisers and so cheap that people can (and will) use it as wallpaper.

        Except that almost every paper magazine I read has ditched the paper and gone electronic. With more on the way and newspapers hot in pusuit.

        So you better hack fast!

      • Much of the battery advantage comes from the fact that e-ink doesn't draw power unless its changing the picture. I guess if its showing video, that advantage will disappear.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          No backlight eating power, plus it depends how much video, costs per refresh etc.
          I want one just to have something I can type on that doesn't have the sort of lag of a terminal at the end of a slow line in the 1980s (which is what you get with stuff like the pocketbook eink readers and a bluetooth keyboard, which is why nobody else has even tried to add features like that).
          • Plastic Logic's website also describes work to allow them to incorporate a sensor layer along with the display. Heck with typing -- I'm willing to pay well for an electronic piece of paper that I can use to take math notes, sketch graphs, and so forth, at something approaching the size and resolution of paper and pen.
            • Good luck with that. Apple have patented anything that's thin, think they own touchscreens and if the corners aren't sharper than weasel's ears there'll be holy hell to pay.

              Heck, the background is probably white - Apple think they own that too, the bunch of foppish nonces.

    • by Teresita (982888)
      The Wizarding World better get off their ass. The Muggles are catching up to them.
    • by azalin (67640)
      Finally the blink tag shall return and will feel it's wrath!
  • by Zemran (3101)

    Great, so now we really can have newspapers like the ones in Harry Potter... I think I can live without that...

    • Re:Magic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:04AM (#40502921)

      Whats a newspaper?

      Being 33 years old, every time I pick something up that I am told is a newpaper, all I get is 1 paragraph of a day old story and 4/5th of a page full of ad's for old lady underwear and flat out scams for gold, homes and used cars... I have given up on finding these fabled papers of news.

      • Re:Magic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vigour (846429) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @06:37AM (#40503421)

        Whats a newspaper?

        Being 33 years old, every time I pick something up that I am told is a newpaper, all I get is 1 paragraph of a day old story and 4/5th of a page full of ad's for old lady underwear and flat out scams for gold, homes and used cars... I have given up on finding these fabled papers of news.

        You need to read better newspapers. Find yourself a quality broadsheet.

        • by peragrin (659227)

          they really don't make them like that any more.

          the only reason I read the paper is for local news, however even then it is seldom more than 4-6 pages a section and each section is round 4/5 ads.

          • by vigour (846429)

            they really don't make them like that any more.

            the only reason I read the paper is for local news, however even then it is seldom more than 4-6 pages a section and each section is round 4/5 ads.

            I don't know where in the world you are, but in some countries there are still some very good newspapers. Germany has some great daily and weekly newspapers/magazines if you can read German such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine (famous for its highbrow nature), Süddeutsche Zeitung, Der Spiegel, and Stern. The Guardian or Telegraph in England are worthwhile reading, and then for me the Irish Times when I'm at home. Ads are not so intrusive in these publications, and normally have reasonable articles and in

          • New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both have quality articles every day. The Washington Post isn't bad either, although it's hard to find on the West Coast.

            If the only reason you read the paper is for local news, then I think there's a different reason you can't find a quality newspaper.
            • by Osgeld (1900440)

              I personally find every one of those a thinly veiled political tabloid

              • It's not my fault you lack discerning taste.

                More likely you aren't interested in current events. You'd rather dig deeply into a subject months later, when all the details are known and better understood.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        The "news" part is a misnomer, they are actually opinionpapers. One or two sentences of fact are merely a jumping off point for paragraphs of heavily biased "analysis" and outright ranting. Many UK newspapers have soft porn too. This combination of being told what to think so the mind doesn't have to strain while the cock gets hard seems to be very popular.

      • Try the Guardian Weekly [guardian.co.uk] - 3 bucks a copy and about 95% news. Real News.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Combine this with the spray-on batteries, flexible electronics, and you can have changeable wallpaper.

  • by lgftsa (617184) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:45AM (#40503023)

    A maximum of 12fps is not video speed.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @06:10AM (#40503325) Journal

      No, but it's getting close. I have a first generation eInk device, and it takes about 0.9 seconds to do a refresh, so it's managing 1.1fps (and in 16 shades of grey, not colour). The jump from that to 12fps is a lot bigger than the jump from 12fps to 24fps (cinema speed). More importantly, they can have the pixels switch from one colour to another directly, while the earlier ones needed to go via white, which would have made video flickery at any speed.

      As they say in the video, it's not 'true video speed', but it does mean that you can have interactive UI widgets on an eInk device. 12fps is enough, for example, to be able to type into a text field without seeing irritating lag. It's enough for buttons to respond as soon as you click on them. It's enough for simple animated effects. I had some pop-up textbooks when I was a child that managed simple animations of things like the inside of a jet engine by having you pull tabs to make parts of a picture move - it's more than enough for that kind of thing, which could be very useful for textbooks.

      • A bit faster at 15 fps would be better, but as you say, that's not a big jump.

        When I was doing research on little video windows on computers 20 years ago, 13-15 fps was a critical speed because it was the rate at which people could determine if the audio and video were synced by watching lip movements. At 10-12 fps, the motion wasn't smooth enough to tell. For some applications, like some virtual classrooms where the video was a secondary medium -- the slides and the audio were the primary ones -- 15 f
      • Pretend to be your grandfather by watching videos on an old eReader, eating bread made mainly from sawdust and being drowned in a coalmining accident or gassed by the krauts before you're 15 years old.

        If that wasn't a Viz top tip, it should have been.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A maximum of 12fps is not video speed.

      Actually it is. Perhaps it's not what we are used to by now but above 10fps and a healthy brain is fully capable to join the still images together into a motion.

      • Perhaps it's not what we are used to by now but above 10fps and a healthy brain is fully capable to join the still images together into a motion.

        But only if it's in black and white with a soundtrack consisting of a honky tonky plinky plonky pye-anner.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      That speed would be nice for text input, web browsing etc though.
  • by Spacejock (727523) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @05:04AM (#40503069) Homepage
    Animated web ads are the pits, but you wait until you're invited to punch the monkey, bid now!, sign up for e-newsletters and hear from nine out of ten dentists whilst browsing shelves at the local deli. I, for one, will be carrying a tiny sharpened screwdriver.
    • by mianne (965568)

      What you describe is already widely used at Big Box stores such as Walmart. It's an LCD display, not E-Ink, but they not only detect your presence, but try to determine your age and sex to deliver a targeted ad to you as you walk by.

      Now when the butcher paper that holds my cold cuts starts advertising products to me as I drive home or when I open the fridge to make a sandwich, Fahrenheit 451 will come true, only it'll be the populace, not the authorities, on patrol with blowtorches.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      There is no reason they couldn't do that already with LCDs, unless you think that eInk will be lower power somehow... Well, it isn't lower power when doing video. eInk uses no power to display a static image but changing the image uses a fair bit.

  • e-paper is nice way of reading. The only reason why i do not own an e-reader is that the time to go from page to page is too long. With these improved speeds (12 fps or 80ms) this last drawback is being solved. That is very good news. Playing video well on these screens will take longer, but already the speed improvement will really help selling e-readers.

    • the time to go from page to page is too long

      What are you, johnny five? :p

      • He's right. It doesn't take much longer to turn a page with an eInk device than a real book, but it feels a lot longer. When you turn a page in a book, you're turning a page. When you turn a page with an eInk device, you're waiting for the page to turn. I saw one UI that worked around this by turning the top and bottom halves of the page independently - when you get past the top half, you flip the page turner and it's replaced by the top half of the next page, when you get to the bottom, the next bit is
        • He's right. It doesn't take much longer to turn a page with an eInk device than a real book, but it feels a lot longer. When you turn a page in a book, you're turning a page. When you turn a page with an eInk device, you're waiting for the page to turn.

          Well, with a normal book, it only takes a few milliseconds to track from the bottom of the left page to the top of the right. So even if the page refresh took the same time as turning an actual page, you're still only reading at half the rate.

        • by JimWise (1804930)

          (I know hardly anyone will read this at this point, but we've been without power here for a few days so trying to catch up.)

          My favorite type of e-reading software uses the "ReadThemAll" scrolling method, which would work extremely well with e-ink devices. Instead of scrolling or flipping pages, it replaces the text line by line, and allows you to dynamically adjust the auto-scrolling speed. It places a marker on the far right of the page for about where you should be reading to keep pace, and a dotted lin

  • I wonder how this stacks up to Mirasol displays.

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