Friday, January 06, 2006

ePaper weather forecast


Cambridge, January 5, 2006 - Two innovative MIT offshoots have joined forces to make a simple household device that reliably forecasts the local weather. Ambient Devices and E Ink today announced the Weather Wizard, which uses electronic paper to continuously display 5-day weather forecasts, broadcast in real time over Ambient’s nationwide wireless network.

The Weather Wizard is the size of a postcard and can easily stand on a dresser or hang on a refrigerator door. The customer simply enters a zip code and the product then shows the latest local weather forecast at all times. By combining Ambient’s energy-efficient wireless technology with E Ink’s low-power display technology, the Weather Wizard can operate continuously for two years on just two AAA batteries, so it is always accurate and does not require any cords or cables.

“As consumer products have become increasingly complex, the Weather Wizard signals a shift to simplicity,” says David Rose, Ambient’s president, “The E Ink displays are perfect for any low-power application and moreover they are beautiful. The contrast is like paper from any viewing angle and the image is crisp and clear.”

Russ Wilcox, E Ink president said “We are delighted to support Ambient because their network coverage is ubiquitous, and they continuously broadcast weather, stock, traffic, and other real-time information that people care about. With a reliable wireless technology that runs on a small battery, they can add intelligence to common objects in a magical way.”

Ambient’s nationwide wireless network and low-cost chipset technology provides the leading solution for embedding online information in weather stations, clock radios, car dashboards — and now pieces of paper. Compared to Microsoft’s MSN Direct technology, Ambient’s network coverage is broader, at a lower cost and 120 times longer battery life.

E Ink segmented display cell for the Weather Wizard is based on its novel electronic ink technology that uses 99% less energy than a liquid crystal display of the same size. Electronic ink works by using electricity to rearrange black and white particles similar to bits of ink and paper and it achieves the same clarity as printed text. The cell is made of flexible plastic, so it is paper-thin and lightweight.

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