Pictures on the wall: E Ink shows energy-efficient full-color displays
At first glance, E Ink’s new e-paper displays are indistinguishable from a printed or painted image. This is due to the very fine resolution and above all to the good color mixture. The manufacturer has incorporated four different spheres into the new cells: in addition to white, there are now red, yellow and blue; the latter has been added and now allows (almost) all colors to be displayed.
What is special about the e-paper displays is their low energy requirement: they only need electricity when the image content changes. Otherwise they keep the last state, so they are bistable. This also gives you the impression that it is a printed product.
The basic panels shown at Display Week have a diagonal of 25.3 inches or 64 cm and a resolution of 3200 × 1800 pixels (145 dpi). According to E Ink, the pixel density of the Spectra 6 panels can be increased up to 200 dpi with a different control board.
The Spectra 6 modules can be seamlessly joined together.
The display size is also variable: On the one hand, larger posters can be put together from the basic displays, since the displays fit together seamlessly. In addition, the manufacturer wants to offer other basic sizes; in LA, a variant with 8.14 inches (20.5 cm) diagonal and 1024 × 576 pixels was also shown.
Even the smaller Spectra 6 displays with a diagonal of 8 inches appear as if they were printed.
E Ink names 30:1 as a typical contrast of the purely reflective displays, although this depends on the ambient light. Since the panels should be operated in a temperature range between 0 and 50 degrees Celsius, they are not recommended for outdoor use in the blazing sun. E Ink explained to c’t that the displays also work at higher temperatures, but then possibly no longer produce binding colors.
Color shifts in the image also occur when colored surfaces in the immediate vicinity reflect the light to the e-ink display. This should be taken into account when placing the displays.
In order to increase attention, so-called sparkling can be partially activated on the new Spectra 6 modules. Selected areas of the image then flicker a bit and thus inevitably attract attention.
The picture change as a whole is also remarkable: the colored beads are pushed back and forth in the electric field until they are in the correct order under the display surface and show the desired color tone. Each picture change takes about 15 seconds.
For outdoors and in the reader
E Ink has developed the Kaleido family for outdoor use. She uses black and white beads and has a color filter overlaid on top. The Kaleido 3 basic module with a diagonal of 13.3 inches (just under 34 cm) has a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels and allows operation between minus 15 and plus 65 degrees. These displays should also be protected from the blazing sun.
Since this year, another variety has been used in e-readers, the Gallery 3 family. It uses cyan, magenta, yellow and white sub-pixels and can switch black and white pages in 0.3 seconds; Color changes take a little longer at up to 1.5 s.
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