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Displays Power

Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards? 242

Posted by timothy
from the it's-called-chalkboard-learn-it dept.
fsck! writes "My office recently installed a pair of huge plasma TVs to display some metrics and graphs. They only update every 15 minutes or so, and I couldn't help but wonder, why can't this be E-Ink? I searched all over the place but couldn't find anything bigger than 9.5" (Amazon's Kindle DX). I want a >30" E-Ink picture frame with USB or WiFi. Can the Slashdot community find anything greener than these energy sucking plasma TVs that seem to be everywhere?"
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Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards?

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  • DIY (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:31PM (#42703661)

    Use a white board and erasable marker plotter, computer controlled.
    Bonus, it would put you on slashdot and earn you nerd cred. Maybe.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Plasmas can easily be replaced by LED LCD TVs that use a lot less energy.

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      Plasmas can easily be replaced by LED LCD TVs that use a lot less energy.

      Less but still a lot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I just replaced a 42" LCD TV that consumed 200W with a 39" LED LCD TV that consumes 50W. Even if you leave that 39" TV on 24/7, it probably still won't cost more than about $50/year. I think that's why there isn't a market for big eink displays.

      And the Kindle DX is practically the only 9.7" eink reader (there's one other one). Other than that, the next size is 6".

      A better Ask Slashdot is why some Chinese company hasn't tried to marry an eink 9.7" screen to dual core Arm A9 to make a $100-150 android ein

  • by martin (1336) <{maxsec} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:39PM (#42703707) Journal

    Another vote for LED
    You can get v big 60" jobs quite easily and theres no burn-in esp if theres alot of static content as you imply

    • You havent needed to burn in your Plasma for half a decade now
      • by PhotoJim (813785)

        Plasmas take work to create burn-in now, but they will if you make them. Updating content once every 15 minutes will definitely make them get persistent images.

        CRTs had the same problem. They were fine for regular viewing, but persistent content burned in badly, even on good ones. Plasmas are at least as bad, even modern ones. Use them for normal content and they're fine (mine's two years old and doing great) but persistent content is not good use of a plasma.

        • by mrbester (200927)

          My decade old plasma has a anti burnin feature to prevent this. It's basically set all pixels on (so bright white) for a few minutes a month.

      • by icebike (68054)

        He meant there will be no burned in images on the LCD due to long exposure of static content.

    • Image persistence on LCD is a real thing. I've only seen it on panels that have been in use for a long time but it's still real.

      Of course, it's not a big deal if the displays are only used for fairly static displays. It'll only be a problem when the display format is updated to a new layout. Then you'll have outlines of boxes, dark patches where the text was, etc. Fortunately, the damage can usually be reversed by "exercising" the pixels. I have a 37" 1080p panel that I rehab'd by using it to display v

      • Re:Led (Score:5, Informative)

        by Endo13 (1000782) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @08:42PM (#42704537)

        Usually just setting an LCD to all-white for overnight will get rid of any persistent images. That's from what I've read online and my own personal experience.

        • Tried that for several days with no change. Also tried the "turn it off" method for several days with no change. So I moved it to video playback duty and now the shadows are gone.

        • by swalve (1980968)
          There is an app from (somewhere) that plays visual white noise for fixing LCDs. Might be from grc.com?
        • by toddestan (632714)

          My experience is that while persistent images aren't permanent on an LCD, a panel that has had burn-in once will get it again if you leave a static image on for too long.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      The problem, however, is that there's no 30-foot LED/LCD screens (then again, neither are there any Plasma screens that large). This guy needs one of those outdoor displays like they use in Times Square or on highway billboards.

  • Black white or grey (Score:2, Interesting)

    by peragrin (659227)

    E-ink is only black white or grey. So there is very little need for large sized versions. As most things that big you want color for.

    a 30" eink display could be built though. make it from panels of smaller units like they do jumbo tron's.

    • by EETech1 (1179269)

      Agreed. The purpose of these large screens is to provide status updates, and give notice to things requiring special attention. Something that color was born for. It's very difficult to draw attention to something on a monochrome display.

      Having the majority of the content grey and saving the black for important items, or trying to make something flash on E-Ink would make an unreadable mess of it all.

      • by jouassou (1854178) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:22PM (#42704023) Homepage
        I still think there is a market for large e-ink displays.

        For instance, there is a large LCD screen outside every lecture hall at my university. Each screen displays a blue-on-white list of scheduled lectures and events for that hall, which is updated every second hour or so. Replacing those screens with e-ink displays would presumably save a lot of power, without any loss of functionality.
        • by hawguy (1600213)

          I still think there is a market for large e-ink displays.

          For instance, there is a large LCD screen outside every lecture hall at my university. Each screen displays a blue-on-white list of scheduled lectures and events for that hall, which is updated every second hour or so. Replacing those screens with e-ink displays would presumably save a lot of power, without any loss of functionality.

          There may be a market for large e-ink displays (thousands? tens of thousands?), but it's a tiny fraction of the market for 50 inch LCD/Plasma screens (millions), so the economies of scale mean that it would be prohibitively expensive.

          The black-and-white nature of the displays and limited refresh rate mean they aren't a drop-in replacement for every large format display, which limits their usefulness.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Sure there is. Back when e-ink was a novelty, there were some big advertising banners made with it. I'm sure if you wanted one you could ask the manufacturer and they'd do a custom job for you.

          Saving a little on energy just isn't worth the cost of buying something made in the tens of thousands when you can just pick up something made in the tens of millions.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      A Japanese company called Soken demoed an e-ink display covering an entire wall a few years ago, but it used a different technology to the type used in the Kindle and similar devices. I have a feeling those won't scale, or someone would have demonstrated a larger display by now.

      Also the OP is wrong, his company didn't buy plasma screens. Plasma suffers from burn-in and would be ruined by a static image being displayed for 15 minutes, so chances are they are LCD.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        You're absolutely right: plasma would suffer from burn-in pretty quickly in that application. But what makes you think the OP is wrong? Companies make bone-headed purchasing decisions all the time. You think the average manager knows about plasma burn-in?

    • by Incadenza (560402) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:20PM (#42704005)

      E-ink is only black white or grey.

      Definitively not. Color E-ink does exist, and what's more: it exists in large sizes. This stuff was developed for digital signage projects.

      Check out Magink [magink.com].

      Unfortunately in most real world situations it is easier to either use a billboard, or a LED screen.

      • My favorite part of the practical applications they present is the security camera pointed at the billboard. Presumably the tech is expensive enough that someone might just scale the tower and steal it.

    • by locopuyo (1433631)
      Mirasol makes color e-ink displays that can do video. They are small e-readers though.
    • by sjames (1099)

      It comes in color now.

    • by guttentag (313541)
      So much for my plan to pitch Eco-friendly, glare-resistant e-ink traffic lights!

      Maybe I can just use an e-ink billboard that says "STOP," "GO," or "GET OUT OF THE INTERSECTION."
    • by Lluc (703772) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:59PM (#42704263)

      E-ink is only black white or grey. So there is very little need for large sized versions. As most things that big you want color for.

      a 30" eink display could be built though. make it from panels of smaller units like they do jumbo tron's.

      You are completely incorrect. Prototype color eInk screens have been around for years, and they are now commercially available. Of course, they are not used in a Kindle or Nook, so perhaps you are not familar with them. Google "color e-ink" or just look at this ECTACO jetBook Color with color E Ink screen [newegg.com] for an example.

      The trick with color e-ink is that, just like black and white e-ink, the screen looks more like newsprint rather than a bright plasma or LCD. If a billboard or advertisement used color e-ink, it would require some kind of bright lighting to make the screen look vibrant. Once you add a bright LED lamp to illuminate your e-ink board, will it save much energy vs. an LCD tv?

      • by houghi (78078)

        A bright light, or just the light that is already available in most situations?
        e-ink readers do not always need an extra light, because you already have enough light from around you. Like with real paper.

        Yes, I could see a market for this if prices are low enough. If prices for a large e-paper would be 100USD for 50", I would use them instead of paintings. (Not all of them) New images each day.

        As I am willing to pay 100USD, I am sure there will be people to pay 1000USD and even more. Also others will have o

    • E-ink is only black white or gre

      That's not true [mobileread.com] and hasn't been true for a number of years. You can get colour e-ink readers [mobileread.com], just not in the US which is, as has become depressingly common for many consumer portable electronics gadgets, running several years behind Asia for newest tech.

    • What is it with so many people here confidently asserting stuff as if they have a clue and getting it wrong? Have we been infested with people that have done an MBA in shouting?
      E-ink is one colour on a background, but the foreground colour can be cyan, magenta, blue, black or whatever. Combine a few and you can have an e-ink device such a the "Jetbook Color" (I purchased one of those for a relative due to the educational software on it + long battery life). Since there's no backlight you don't have the g
    • by gmueckl (950314)

      PlasticLogic (http://plasticlogic.com) is working on a 20" display made out of 4 10" tiles that are (almost) rimless on two sides. I've contacted them about these panels and they promised availability around this January. Unfortunately I haven't had time to ask for an update yet... but this is definitely something to look out for. I'll be getting one of those if it is possible at all. However, PlasticLogic will almost certainly not sell finished displays, but panels and development kits for controlling them

  • by Aranykai (1053846) <slgonserNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:46PM (#42703753)

    Seriously dude?

    Most 60" LED LCD tvs can be run 24/7 for less than $75 a year. That is practically nothing.

    Your office could easily save an order of magnitude more by turning the thermostat up 1 degree.

    • Plasma != LED LCD
  • Call Centres (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jedismj (1751730) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:48PM (#42703765)
    I currently work in a call centre while I'm studying.

    They have 4 large LCD screen in the centre of the rooms, facing outwards. These screens only show how many people are on the phones and how many customers are waiting. This display is updated every 15 seconds.

    A large e-Ink display would be perfect for this. There is no colour needed and should save a fair chunk of power. That is, of course, I'm mistaken about the energy usage of e-ink displays?

    Surely someone has created one if that is the case? Surely there would be a market for it now? And if you needed a bit of colour, I'm sure basic colour e-ink displays can do the job fine.
  • Units (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kotoku (1531373) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:50PM (#42703791) Journal
    It's funny when the editors don't catch unit typos in the summary. Feet instead of inches make me think a 9.5 foot display would be just fine. Only when you see they meant the Kindle display is the typo clear.
    • by lazybeam (162300)

      Probably someone not used to the old-fangled inches and foot and just chucking quotey symbols on the end of a number.

      The only thing I'm thinking of is "Stonehenge!"

  • I love my e-ink reader and I love the idea of a large (color?) e-ink display, but it would require more than just the energy to update the e-ink. For example, in a darkened call center, you'd still need to shine a front light onto it which might not offer much savings over the LED back lighting of an LED LCD.

    -Hovsep

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Someone is making these. http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/06/giant-e-paper-display-spotted-ogled-at-taiwanese-book-show/ This is from three years ago, so you can bet the technology has improved.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @08:01PM (#42704281) Homepage Journal

    perfect use for these.
    With e-ink you would probably be able to read them clearly from across the terminal.

  • Flipdots [flipdots.com] Are pretty close to large-scale e-ink
  • I want a >30' E-Ink picture frame with USB or WiFi

    30 foot is almost Jumbotron size. Does your office really have room for something that large (to say nothing of the budget)?

  • by Tagged_84 (1144281) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @08:53PM (#42704601) Homepage
    If Sharp really do deliver on their promises, IGZO panels are going to dominate in the next few years. Like e-ink they don't require power for a static image and can be transparent, but unlike e-ink IGZO has fast response/refresh rates and supports high resolutions! There's a 32" 4K coming next month rumoured to be $5,500 US launch price. It's the same panels that caused Apple to release Plan B for the iPad 3.

    TLDR; Check out this (cheesy) video where IGZO introduces "himself" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnUUXoFsjoY [youtube.com]
  • Repurposed plasma screens are just that; you're making use of a huge supply chain designed for providing TVs to provide for a special purpose application. It would cost rather a lot to produce 30" eink displays, and there aren't many people to spread the initial costs around.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @10:30PM (#42705049)

    The fabrication costs for 30" are too high.

    The way these things are fabricated results in a sufficien number of pixel failures in a 30" display as to make it uneconomical.

    They are typically fabricated in large sheets, then the sheets are tested for dead pixels, and then the standard display sizes are cut out from between the dead pixels, and the individual units are retested. The smallest display sizes are used for things like watches and digital thermometers, etc..

    The fabrication process has barely improved enough that they can (as of very recently) offer 9.74" displays in quantity sufficient to make them worth manufacturing.

    Unless you can personally improve the process/methods to significantly improve yields for larger areas of the sheets, then what you are asking for will remain uneconomical, probably for several decades, as process improvements in LCD, LED, and OLED continue to outstrip E-Ink, and therefore their power consumption costs drop toward that of E-Ink. Currently, the only practical value for E-Ink is power consumption for infrequently updated displays which tend to be power sensitive only because they run off batteries.

    So the short answer is you haven't personally invented the fabrication processes yet.

    • They are typically fabricated in large sheets, then the sheets are tested for dead pixels, and then the standard display sizes are cut out from between the dead pixels, and the individual units are retested.

      To be fair, though, a 30" display meant to be read at 20' can have a few dead pixels and that won't matter.

  • The problem is the manufacturing process isn't the very good yet, and the big rolls of e-ink they produce have lots of dead pixels in it; the manufactures then have to choose a small shape so they have less wastage (same reason oled tvs have taken so long to get here and are prohibitively expensive).
  • man that LCD with the LED backlight runs 24/7 and it just rotates through a slide show, can we put it on a timer or something?

    who cares, the pc thats running is is sucking 300 watts

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