Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Digital billboards premiered at Cannes

Global outdoor advertising company JCDecaux appropriately premiered the new generation of high resolution magink-based digital billboards at the 59th Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. The magink digital ink billboards are installed at multiple highly trafficked venues in Cannes, including one located adjacent to the Palais des Festivals, the official home of the Cannes Film Festival. The new displays will feature an array of full-motion video advertisements and information on the City of Cannes. The digital ink technology offers full-color, full-motion, high resolution and high contrast images that use ambient light to enhance image quality and visibility -- just like ink on paper. Beyond the world of billboard advertising, magink will also be used with other display applications such as consumer electronic products, in-store point-of-purchase, and promotional displays. (via gizmag.co.uk)

While this billboards cost far less than large-scale video screens, they are not inexpensive, Mr. McConnell said. One sign he is testing, measuring about 10 feet by 20 feet, cost $80,000. A standard billboard of about equal size would cost about $10,000, but would also require costly installation crews to change displays. More significantly, advertising companies could sell space on the billboards by the hour.

Ran Poliakine, chief executive of Magink, the technology maker behind the signs, said the idea was to create visually compelling ads that could be replaced frequently - perhaps hourly, based on consumer response - and could be controlled remotely, all with far less energy and at a far lower cost than a video billboard.

Mr. Poliakine said Magink, which has research operations in England and Israel, was the first company to bring full-color digital ink displays to the marketplace. And soon, he said, its creation will begin competing more directly with traditional billboards in the $19 billion worldwide outdoor-advertising market. Nomad Worldwide, at its Jersey City plant, is among those evaluating the technology's potential.

"The last revolution was computer printing, and we believe the next revolution is digital ink on billboards," Mr. Poliakine said, comparing his company's advances to the first digital printing of billboard images more than a decade ago. Now, he added, his three-year-old company is also studying ways to expand the application of its core technology to personal electronics, including cellular telephones, cameras, hand-held computers and general video displays for laptops and televisions.

Magink prototype screens are capable of displaying video images at more than 70 frames a second, twice the speed needed to produce smooth, cinematic motion. But the digital images share so many of the characteristics of paper, its makers say, that they are easily viewed in bright sunlight but must be lighted much like conventional billboards when there is little light.

MAGINK DISPLAY TECHNOLOGIES LTD. (formerly E-Magin Ltd.) is an
R&D subsidiary of California based company.
MAGINK develops proprietary, full-color, commercially-viable
digital ink technologies. The company's mission is to
continuously develop revolutionary digital ink core technology
and provide highly efficient, variable resolution, full-color,
high contrast, low energy and cost effective digital display
applications and solutions to a broad array of global industries.

MAGINK's core technology enables to create affordable "paper
like" lightweight low power indoor and outdoor displays, which
can perfectly fit into numerous applications. Its underlying
properties fundamentally change the economics of digital content

The company is currently commercializing its digital ink
technology for the outdoor advertising market, Transportation
market, consumer electronic products, in-store point-of-purchase,
and promotional displays.

Portable Hard Drive with Always-on Display

Fort Myers, Fla., May 15, 2006 -- SmartDisk Corporation today introduced FireLite XPress, the portable, palm-sized hard drive that includes a unique cholesteric liquid crystal display. The award-winning, always-on display is readable without power, identifies the drive by a user-designated name, indicates the last date that information was recorded and provides a table of contents for the drive. The display provides excellent readability even in direct sunlight, allows for wide-angle viewing and exhibits high brightness and contrast.

“Content explosion is sending the personal storage market to new highs,” states Charles Klinker, Vice President-Marketing for SmartDisk. “Whether it’s your music collection, pictures of the kids or your favorite videos, the need for portable hard drive storage is climbing sharply. Until now, determining information about the portable drive has required an arduous connecting and technical-viewing process.”

“Our new, patent-pending FireLite XPress USB portable hard drive incorporates a viewing window for determining capacity, available space and content without connecting the drive to the personal computer or powering the drive up,” says Michael Battaglia, President and CEO for SmartDisk. “You can verify what files, music, videos and photos you have stored without plugging it into your PC. This is the most innovative, customer-oriented advance in portable hard drives in years.”

SmartDisk FireLite drives are designed for users who require convenient, portable storage to backup critical data, transport and synchronize data between multiple computers, and want to free up valuable hard disk space on existing computers. FireLite drives are ideal for transferring large files between home and office, for storing hours of superior quality video or warehousing huge graphics files. Featuring sleek, metal casings for durability, FireLite drives are palm-sized and weigh about six ounces. All FireLite drives are “Mass Storage Class” peripherals, requiring no driver installation when used with operating systems like Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, Windows XP and Windows Me. All FireLite drives, including the new XPress, feature BounceBack Express backup software.

Pricing and Availability
Available in June, FireLite XPress can be purchased through retailers and distributors, as well as through the company’s Web site at http://www.smartdisk.com. Suggested retail prices are: $199.99, 60GB; $299.99, 120GB.

About SmartDisk Corporation
SmartDisk is a leading provider of portable, network and multimedia storage products and technologies that enable people to enjoy, share and preserve digital content and information. Headquartered in the U.S., with operations in Europe and Asia, SmartDisk sells and supports its products worldwide. For more information, go to http://www.smartdisk.com.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hitachi entering the e paper market

Hitachi is entering teh epaper market with the a A4 size electronic paper tablet, as reported by engadget: "The black-and-white e-ink model, supposedly called the "Albirey" and developed with technology from Bridgestone, seems to sport a WiFi connection with "the possibility to modify making use of radio communication,".
The technical specs, according to mobileread, would be as follow:

Measurement: 222.6×289.2×3.7mm
CPU: H8S/2215 (16bit/16MHz)
Memory: Flash 8MB
Power: Lithium polymer (3.7V)
Display size: 13.1", 2-scale monochrome
Resolution: XGA (1024×768 dot)
Contrast: 1:7
WiFi: IEEE802.11b

Hitachi press release regarding deal with Bridgstone, date back to march 15:

Basic Agreement with Bridgestone towards Hitachi's Commercial Application of Electronic Paper Displays

TOKYO, Japan, March 15, 2006 --- Hitachi, Ltd. and Bridgestone Corporation have reached a basic agreement to mutually cultivate the market for electronic paper display solutions and to strive towards the commercial application of the displays. The agreement pertains to such elements as joint marketing efforts and the stable supply of display modules.

Electronic paper display is ultra-thin and lightweight and combines the conveniences of both paper and digital media by realizing long-life operation via battery, and adopting a display module that has image retention ability and the drive, wireless communications circuit and memory embedded in. As the image display doesn't require electricity to run and the contents can be transmitted wirelessly, it can easily be set up in places where it is difficult to install power supplies and communication equipment. These features make it useful in communicating advertisements and other information, including that needed in times of emergency due to the disaster.

Hitachi recognized the potential of electronic paper displays early on and has been investigating into their commercialization. In December 2005, it conducted a field trial in conjunction with East Japan Marketing & Communications, Inc., the subsidiary company of East Japan Railway Company, in the Tokyo Station underground. Bridgestone, on the other hand, has already been successful in developing one that uses the company's original Electronic Liquid Powder and has been researching into a diverse array of display modules. Bridgestone's display modules were used in the field trial conducted by Hitachi.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bridgestone will supply the display modules to Hitachi and Hitachi will use them in the production of electronic paper displays. Business will be focused primarily in transportation, electricity and urban development engineering. The aim is to provide total solutions by way of integrated display management, contents database management and remote transmission, for instance. Going forward, both companies will work in tandem to cultivate the electronic paper display market.

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 347,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2004 (ended March 31, 2005) consolidated sales totaled 9,027.0 billion yen ($84.4 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at http://www.hitachi.com

About Bridgestone Corporation
Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world's largest manufacturer of tires and other rubber products. Tires account for 80 percent of Bridgestone Group sales worldwide. The company also manufactures industrial rubber and chemical products, sporting goods, and other diversified products. It sells its tires and other products in more than 150 nations.

Plastic Logic ready for large-scale fabrication

Cambridge University spinoff Plastic Logic Ltd. is considering locations for a large-scale fabrication facility for flexible active-matrix display backplanes based on polymer semiconductor materials.

Hermann Hauser, non-executive director of the company and founder and director of venture capital company Amadeus Capital Partners, told the International Semiconductor Executives Forum organized by the Fabless Semiconductor Association and the Institution of Engineering and Technology that plastic electronics for display purposes is "ready for prime time."

The technology would enable the creation of electronic books where the content is downloaded wirelessly and flexible electronic newspapers, he said.

Plastic Logic (Cambridge, England) has a roughly 12-inch diagonal display prototype working that combines an active plastic logic backplane with an electrophoretic display technology from E Ink (Cambridge, Mass.). The company announced a collaboration with E Ink in December 2004.

Hauser told his audience said that Plastic Logic is performing a detailed investigation of the costs of volume manufacturing of such active backplanes and that it seemed likely that the factory would cost between $50 million and $100 million and would be able to turn out millions of displays a year.

“We can build our first fab starting now for completion in about 18 months,” Hauser said. He said that after selection of a location, construction would begin in 2007 with a view to volume manufacturing in 2008.

Although the speed of performance of plastic electronics is limited the manufacturing approach could change the economics and scope of segments of the electronics industry. The processes under development are being optimized to scale to large area, high volume and low cost, Hauser said.

Beyond e-books and e-newspapers the technology would impact mobile phone accessory displays, RFID and sensor technology, Hauser said.

Via EETimes

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The biggest epaper of the world

A brief review of some epaper landmarks:

Via The Financial Express

Though electronic paper was first developed in the 1970s (called Gyricon) it was only in 2004 when Sony announced the LIBRIe that the first commercially available electronic paper device was made available. Here users can download and store 500 books of about 250 pages each to the Librie e-book reader, which is similar in size and design to a paperback. The cost of the device, sold only in Japan, is approximately $370.

In March 2005 at EXPO 2005 Aichi (Tokyo) Toppan Printing Co exhibited a large-scale wall-sized newspaper utilising E Ink Electronic Paper. This large wall-size newspaper is built from 272 individual electronic paper tiles, which is a combination of an E Ink Imaging Film laminated onto a printed circuit board with pixel electrodes. The result is an electronic paper newspaper approximately 2.2 meters high and 2.6 meters wide, the worlds largest of its kind. In May 2005, Fujitsu showcased its jointly developed electronic paper at the Tokyo International Forum. Its the world’s first film substrate-based bendable colour electronic paper with an image memory function. The new e-paper features vivid colour 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 e-paper uses very low power to change screen images, thereby making it ideal for displaying information or advertisements in public areas. Fujitsu’s new technology significantly conserves energy by consuming only one one-hundredth to one ten-thousandth the energy of conventional display technologies. In October 2005, LG Philips LCD using E Ink produced a 10.1” flexible electronic paper display. Less than 300 microns thick, the paper- white display is as thin and flexible as construction paper. With a 10.1” diagonal, the prototype achieves SVGA (600x800) resolution at 100 pixels per inch and has a 10:1 contrast ratio with 4 levels of grayscale.

This year during CES (January 6, 2006), Sony announced the Sony Reader, an ebook reader, a successor to the LIBRIé for the U market. The e-book incorporates the e-ink technology used in e-paper into a traditional display. E Ink is working with Philips’ research department to create thin, flexible, rollable e-paper.