Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dialog Semiconductor Launches Integrated Display Drivers For E Ink Segmented Displays

Long Beach, CA - Dialog Semiconductor Plc has launched a new range of display drivers and evaluation kits to support electronic paper segmented displays from E Ink Corporation. The DA852x drivers are highly integrated solutions capable of driving 20-, 64-, 96-, 192- and 256-segment paper-thin electronic displays which can be integrated into several applications such as mobile phones, capacity meters (e.g. memory cards), electronic shelf labels, watches and clocks, games, medical devices, smart cards and other consumer devices. Each display driver device is available in both LGA package and bumped die format and only requires two external capacitors to complete a small form factor system solution.

The segmented display panels for which the DA852x driver ICs are designed provide electronic paper displays (EPD) with the capability to display both alpha-numeric characters and graphical icons. These displays are based on E Ink's Vizplex( Imaging Film, which has a number of benefits over existing display technologies, including being reflective and easily read both in bright sunlight or dimly lit environments, plus being able to be seen at virtually any angle - just like paper. The bi-stable display technology also requires zero power when in static image mode, making this technology ideal for ultra-low powered operation.

The DA852x devices integrate all of the important functions required for successful functioning of an E Ink segmented display panel. The input supply can be driven directly from a battery in the range of 1.8V to 3.3V and a fully integrated charge pump is used to generate the regulated high voltage outputs required for the display. Control via a serial SPI interface allows the devices to be integrated with a wide range of microcontrollers. The system architecture can be further enhanced as several devices can be cascaded together to expand the drive capabilities and provide further solutions for different applications.

To shorten the design and development cycle, Dialog has also developed a range of evaluation kits to support each display driver IC. The evaluation kit enables system development using a Windows based graphical user interface. This allows designers to import their own display design and generate all the necessary sequences to successfully operate the E Ink segmented display from a PC environment. With full access to the control and display interface, the evaluation kit can be used to integrate both software and hardware in a production system solution.

Samples of the DA852x E Ink segmented display driver ICs will be available in June with mass-production expected from October.

SOURCE: Dialog Semiconductor Plc

E-paper products shown at SID

"LONG BEACH, Calif. — Electronic paper seems to be coming of age. E Ink Corp. exhibited a slew of recently launched products at the Society for Information Display conference here this week. The Cambridge, Mass., company also showed flexible-display prototypes from half a dozen E Ink customers, signaling a rapid advancement in flexible displays across the industry in the past year.

Meanwhile, Nemoptic, another e-paper contender, talked about its first-generation product for electronic shelf labels for grocery stores, a $10 billion market. Also at SID, Nemoptic is launching its A4 e-paper display for application in business and government offices and point-of-sale displays. The company has already shipped samples to major office equipment suppliers.

Notable "world firsts" using E Ink technologies included a flexible, color 14-inch electronic-paper panel from LG.Philips LCD on steel foil and the biggest-ever glass monochrome electronic-paper panel — 40 inches on the diagonal — from Samsung Electronics.

E Ink also announced that a research breakthrough in its ink chemistry has achieved video-switching speeds for the first time. "Our research team is demonstrating here an ultrabright ink that is approaching 50 percent reflectance of ambient light, compared to 35 percent in shipping monochrome products," said Michael McCreary, vice president of research and advanced development at E Ink.

Samsung Electronics demonstrated a 40-inch display using E Ink's Vizplex technology, which consumes 300 milliwatts at one frame per minute, or 1/500 the power consumption of a conventional LCD. Such a display using electronic ink would be appropriate for digital signage and office information applications, according to E Ink.

One of he most popular e-books incorporating E Ink displays is Arinc's eFlyBook, the General Aviation eReader used by commercial pilots to look up airport takeoff-and-landing approaches.

Six segments
Jacques Noels, CEO and president of the management board of Nemoptic, has defined six strategic segments with differentiated features and display sizes for his company's BiNem technology. They range from 1 x 3-inch electronic shelf labels to e-books, newspapers, albums and larger (10- to 14-inch) displays for the education and professional markets.

Nemoptic, headquartered near Paris with a production unit in Sweden, is applying its bistable nematic technology to LCDs. Display content remains on view without using any power thanks to the technology's internal-memory effect.

Nemoptic has signed on with Seiko Instruments Inc. for high-volume manufacturing of its bistable LCDs at Seiko's Microtechno plant in Akita, Japan. The first units are expected to roll out at the end of the second quarter. The Seiko plant has a worldwide reputation as one of the most modern sites for high-volume production of color supertwisted-nematic liquid-crystal displays."


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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ricavision eReader

Eink devices are beggining to pop up among different applications and vendors.

RicaVision introduces the Home E-Reader for Windows Vista

The Home E-Reader is a small handheld portable Windows SideShow device that connects wirelessly to a Windows Vista PC. It combines the convenience of electronic documents with wireless access to Windows Vista. It has a reflective eInk type display that is optimized for reading documents so that reading with the Home E-Reader is as comfortable as it is on paper. It can cache a large number of pages on the device so that it can also be used offline. It also includes stylus capability.

As small and lightweight as a single book, the Home E-Reader allows users to download and take along newspapers, books, and documents, or upload them to share with family, friends, or co-workers. In addition, the stylus capability enables the user to make notes that can be easily transferred to a PC. As electronics become more integrated into our contemporary lifestyle, a device like the Home E-Reader may become essential to access the computers with the ease of ordinary pen and paper. For personal or professional use, the Home E-Reader can add significant value to Windows Vista experience.

The Home E-Reader uses the SideShow as the primary GUI and Windows Vista as the means by which pages are actually rendered for display on the device.

Source: Ricavision


Monday, May 14, 2007

Great story on ebooks and the Illiad

For me, the most important moment came reading a Sherlock Holmes story when I suddenly realised I'd been following the tale for several minutes having completely forgotten about the Iliad itself. This, of course, is essential: how many of us could get anything out of a book if we were constantly saying, in a small voice, "Hey, look at me - I'm reading this thing"?

read the full story at The Guardian


First 14.1 Inch Color ePaper Display

LG Philips LCD has announced developing the world's first 14.1-inch flexible color electronic paper or e-paper display, according to reports.

The company claims that this product, which showcases the next generation in display technology, is equivalent in size to an A4 sheet of paper, and can be rolled up as well.

The innovation uses electronic ink to produce a maximum of 4,096 colors. It can be viewed from a full 180 degrees. Thus, the company says, images when viewed on this 14.1-inch flexible color e-paper always appear to be crisp, even when the display is bent.

Like the Black and White e-paper that LG Philips introduced last year, the color version too uses a substrate that arranges TFT on metal foil rather than glass, which allows it to regain original shape upon bending.

The color e-paper also uses a color filter (CF) that is coated into the plastic substrate, allowing it to display color images.

Besides, according to LG Philips, the newly developed e-paper displays are energy efficient, and only use power when the image changes. They are really thin, measuring less than 300 micrometers.

In a statement, Chung In-Jae, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President, LG Philips, expressed the view that these color e-paper displays represent the next generation in display technology.

via techtree

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More on the new E Ink technology

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. --(Business Wire)-- E Ink Corporation, the leading provider of electronic paper display (EPD) technology, today announced the launch of its next-generation electronic ink technology, offering significant improvements in performance and shipping under the new trade name Vizplex(TM) Imaging Film.

"E Ink continues to be at the forefront of the electronic paper revolution. This is a major improvement because the electronic ink in the imaging film switches twice as fast and the image is 20 percent brighter," said Russ Wilcox, president and CEO of E Ink. "We gave it the distinctive Vizplex name so that everyone can easily recognize the next generation. Simultaneously, we are enhancing our whole solution with more screen sizes, improved electronics, support for more gray levels, and developer kits for prototyping."

New Sizes to Support More Applications

E Ink and PrimeView International (PVI), the pioneer and currently the world's sole active matrix EPD maker, jointly announced TFT modules built with Vizplex, in an expanded size range that includes 1.9", 5", 6", 8" and 9.7" diagonal displays. The new modules will be available this summer. The new sizes are targeted at monochrome device applications including mobile phones, MP3 players, PC accessories, smart handheld devices, signage, electronic dictionaries, e-books, and tablets. The previous display generation was only available in a 6" size and was targeted at e-books.

"We are pleased to offer our advanced technologies, proven streamlined manufacturing process and volume capacity to our electronic paper customers," said Dr. Scott Liu, chairman and CEO of PVI. "We have already begun using E Ink's Vizplex Imaging Film in a range of sizes and are confident the market will welcome this new technology."

New Display Controller

E Ink also announced the sampling availability of the Metronome(TM) Display Controller, which adds new functions at a lower cost. The Metronome 8T125100A is a simple, low-power chip that can drive a range of display sizes and resolutions and supports added grayscale depth and lower-level control over the display. The Metronome architecture is designed to integrate with the host processor and memory. This enables a lower cost bill of materials for the total device. The part can be purchased from E Ink or in volume from PrimeView International. E Ink will also continue to support the Apollo controller architecture that emulates a parallel printer port and offers ease of integration for rapid prototyping.

Active Matrix Prototype Kits

To accelerate customers' evaluation and product development, E Ink will offer EPD prototyping kits in more sizes and with both Metronome and Apollo display controller options. The new kits can be pre-ordered now at www.eink.com/kits.

"Using the previous AM-100 prototyping kit, our company was able to quickly explore our design ideas for a revolutionary medical tablet," said Bob Caspe CEO, Emano Tec. "With the new larger size kits, we will be able to design exactly what we need for our next generation product."

More About the New Vizplex(TM) Imaging Film

In addition to dramatically faster update speed, the Vizplex generation of active matrix products offers improved image quality.

The following table highlights the improvements with Vizplex:

--------------------------------Previous Generation Vizplex
--------------------------------Imaging Film----------Imaging Film
------------------------------------------------------- --------------
Typical Switch Speed------------1200ms----------------740ms
------------------------------------------------------- --------------
Peak Switch Speed (monochrome)--500ms----------------260ms
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Brightness (typical reflectance)-32-35%---------------40%
------------------------------------------------------- --------------
Supported Grayscale Levels-------4 levels (2-bit)----8 levels (3-bit)
------------------------------------------------------- --------------

E Ink also announced today the expansion of its team with three new executives. "E Ink Corporation Expands Team with New Board Director, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Product Development" is available on the company's Web site: www.eink.com.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

E-Ink Upgrades Panels

Vizplex_imaging_film You have to see e-ink to "get" the easy-on-the-eyes effect, intended to reflect light (like a proper book) more than generate it (like a screen.) Looking at the specs — four levels of grey, refresh rate from hell — doesn't do it justice. Their new version of the ingenious display film, however, named "Vizplex," gives those numbers a bump.

Refresh rates are nearly doubled, from 1.2 seconds to 740ms, with the contrast ratio (reflectivity, to be precise) increased from 32-35 percent to 40 percent. There will also be eight levels of grey. The newer model will also allow allow for a wider range of panel sizes, meaning we could see paperback- and magazine-sized models for the fall (they're also touting 2-inch cellphone/DAP screens).

via wirednews