Color e-ink on the way

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Will the next Kindle have a color display? Gamma Dynamics has announced a new electrofluidic reflective display (devloped at the Novel Devices Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati) that uses colored pigments.

Voltage is used to electromechanically pull the pigment out of the reservoir and spread it as a film directly behind the viewing substrate. As a result, the display takes on color and brightness similar to that of conventional pigments printed on paper. When voltage is removed liquid surface tension causes the pigment dispersion to rapidly recoil into the reservoir.
The lennas above compare electrofluidic and electrophoretic displays used in ebooks.

Gamma Dynamics' electrofluidic color display technology

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  1. “When voltage is removed liquid surface tension causes the pigment dispersion to rapidly recoil into the reservoir.”

    i thought the whole idea of e-ink is that it persists when voltage is absent.

    *confused*

  2. This will certainly reduce battery life. The other advantage of e-ink, namely a high contrast reflective display is being retained, so it’s not all bad.

  3. I’m going to hold out for the Kindle 5, what with its fancy multi-touch interface and video capability.

    Also, the text-to-speech function can read any book in the voice of Morgan Freeman.

  4. I too am confused about its behavior in the absence of voltage, since the Gamma Dynamics home page describes their tech as bistable.

  5. Holding a static field on each pixel won’t drain any power, as long as the leakage current is suitably controlled.

  6. I’m going to hold out for the Kindle 5, what with its fancy multi-touch interface and video capability.

    Are you more excited about it’s video playback or video recording and professional production features? I really can’t choose.

  7. The LINUX For Kindle Firmware overwrite will read you pr0n in Marlene Dietrich’s voice, and moan at the appropriate moments.

    The Microsoft version? Well, Blue Screen Of Death, meet Blue Balls Of Death.

  8. Not necessarily. A constant voltage does not mean constant current/power draw. The ink reservoirs may behave capacitively: the application/removal of voltage requires power (moving current on or off the capacitor) but in ‘steady state’ very little or no current is used.
    Reading the site, they claim it is ‘bi-stable’ which would imply the same.

  9. Stable only has to be stable enough to read an single static page. Even refreshing the screen every second is a 60x improvement on traditional ‘active’ displays.

  10. Yes, great. I love my words in color. I’d prefer them to concentrate on making b&w cheaper.

    A very good Dutch newspaper (NRC) is working together with the iLiad manufacturer, and has been successfully offering an ePaper edition of the newspaper, something I’d love to be able to afford.

  11. “Yes, great. I love my words in color. I’d prefer them to concentrate on making b&w cheaper.”

    Errr.. comic books? Don’t you know that punks read nothing but comic books?!

    1. Don’t you know that punks read nothing but comic books?!

      What about anarchist manuals?

  12. Are you saying …color? On some sort of portable computer display? Sweet Mario! (Throws analog monocle in trash.)

    I mean, I’m all for it, just sayin’.

    Um, electrofluidity rules!

  13. The technology sounds suspiciously like a really fancy Etch-a-Sketch… ok, those are magnetic, but this is still a real question: does the image disappear or turn into brown goo when you shake it?

  14. From one of the inventors: you can make it bistable. We just have not published that yet!

    Alot of the latest generation stuff is simply not publicly available yet…

  15. #20:

    The technology sounds suspiciously like a really fancy Etch-a-Sketch…

    That’s basically the idea behind e-ink, yes. They’re mechanically stable, however, because the static field keeps things in place. The “pixels” are a heck of a lot smaller than the etch-a-sketch, and of course it doesn’t use a single stylus to paint the entire screen one pixel at a time, unlike the etch-a-sketch. And now we might get colour, too!

    A conceptual comparison would be the CRT, with it’s single electron gun as the stylus, vs an LCD, where the pixels shift more or less en-masse (AFAIK, I am not an engineer).

  16. More like E-Ink is already here and has already passed its field test and is now available in the consumer market
    http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/18/fujitsu-melts-faces-and-wallets-with-flepia-the-first-color-e-b/ in the form of the much-awaited Fujitsu Flepia.

    But alas, this continues the cycle of our pundit-ry always being behind the times by only paying attention to the self-congratulatory echo chamber of the US instead of looking outside and figuring out that the world has already passed us by because we have this giant millstone around our necks trying to drag us back to the stone ages. Much like the case of the robotic exo-skeleton.

    You coo and stand in awe of some half-baked, nearly unworkable POS from an American maker as the “first” and “near completion” when across the ocean someone has already succeeded in shipping a consumer model to the market.

  17. #25 — read the article you reference, it clearly states that FLEPia uses an XGA display, meaning that it is bright and will cause eyestrain, unlike E-Ink. The news here is color E-Ink, not color display. Gads, my moto-Q has a color XGA display and runs Windows Mobile 6.1, has 40-hour battery life and reads ebooks too! But it is NOT E-Ink and reading e-books on bright screens equals headaches for me…

  18. #26 — Actually, if I’m not mistaken, XGA refers solely to a resolution of 1024×768, not the medium by which those pixels are displayed. It also says in that article that the display is e-paper. #25 might be a little over-reactionary in his description of the situation, but he does seem to make a good point.

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