Thursday, June 01, 2006

HDTV resolution paper?

Editor & Publishert has a good story by Jim Rosenberg and Mark Fitzgerald about epaper. Here an excerpt about Quantum Paper:

Not only can these display technologies be embedded in or printed on the substrate, but recent advances may allow antennas and perhaps entire circuits to be printed on paper or other lightweight and flexible materials. The technologies, in combination with a thin stick-on battery, may permit the substrate iteself to become the "device" - able not only to power itself, but also to receive new content and update its display by wire or wireless connection.

In this area of display research, which could allow the printer of content also to be the manufacturer of the device, the most recent challenger to E-Ink's technology is the invention of another scientist out of MIT. Quantum Paper, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., announced its first production quantities of "electronic paper" earlier this year.

"We're only looking to license 34 printers in the U.S. over the next three years, and only 10 over the next year," says Quantum Paper President and CEO Michael J. Feldman. Quantum's technology uses standard lithographic presses to apply "various types of inks and coatings to build a "15-layer device" on a variety of substrates, including newsprint, creating the same sorts of lightweight, bendable printed products foreseen by E-Ink and Gyricon.

Quantum's display, however, is transmissive rather than reflective.
"We're using conductive inks to make the electrical circuit," says Feldman. An entire sheet or elements thereof may then be illuminated to produce either alphanumeric displays or color pictures utilizing prepress separations.

While applications such as in-store signage would rely on AC power, Feldman says battery-powered samples have been show. Quantum can print batteries along with the rest of the components - a technology Feldman says is three or four years old. "We will be integrating printed batteries into the display by the end of the year," he says.

Integration of a battery into a static display makes practical certain publishing applications, such as high-end advertising inserts. Feldman says to look for this in late 2007 or early 2008. Already, however, a low-resolution monochrome version has been demonstrated.

But beyond that is the dynamic display - "basically television on a piece of paper," Feldman says, adding that a prototype will be ready this summer. By wire or wireless connection, dynamic display could allow a newspaper to be updated throughout the day. At this point, updates are possible using a series of 17-segment displays (16 to produce alphanumeric characters, the seventeenth for a decimal).

Feldman says he wants the technology to advance further before the company talks to non-technical people about applications for publishing. Still, he adds that "we expect to start those discussions in early fall."

The fully addressable, dynamic color displays could replace, at lower cost, conventional phone and PDA screens, computer monitors, interactive billboards, electronic wallpaper and high-definition televisions, according to the company.

Though its display performance "meets or exceeds that of competing technologies," principal inventor and Quantum Paper Chief Technology Officer William J. Ray said in a statement, electronic paper can be made at "such a low cost as to be considered disposable."

The company says its Quantum Paper has resolution equal to HDTV, supports animations, can be scaled to billboard size, consumes little power and has a long lifespan, offers a wide viewing angle, and is environmentally and electrically safe.

More: A Conversation with Quantum Paper’s Michael J. Feldman at


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