PORTLAND, Ore. -- E Ink Corp. is branching out into a wide variety of reflective displays which it is showcased this week at the 2012 Society for Information Display (SID) conference.
"Dollar-wise, the eReader is still our biggest market," said Sri Peruvemba, E Ink's marketing vice president. "But volume-wise, we are now shipping more units into new applications of our displays."
E Ink's Vizplex electrophoretic displays uses microcapsules containing white and black pigments that are attracted to the surface with electrical potentials to form paper-like white, black or grayscale pixels. Color versions use filters for red, green and blue. Most of E Ink's new displays, however, are monochrome models. The big advantage is that E Ink's displays require no power once information has been written.
At SID, E Ink is highlighting a small display on the back of a smart card. Users can enter a personal identification number which the small display will show along with anti-theft authentication codes and other information. The smart card is identical in size to a standard credit card including a battery with a three-year lifetime.
E Ink also is showing an auxilliary display for smartphones to show status information without waking up the main LCD display. The auxilliary display is built into an iPhone case and shows time, battery power status and the number of pending messages and emails. It works when the phone is turned off.
The company also is showing a bike computer display that shows speed and but senses heart rate through the hand grips.
E Ink also has developed a traffic light that combines its reflective technology with conventional LEDs to create an ultra-low power signal that can be read under all lighting conditions.
Once the darling of the eReader community, E Ink has had to scramble to find new markets in a post-iPad world where everybody wants backlit color on their eReader even if it means recharging their battery everyday. Luckily, for E Ink, there are many applications for small displays where zero-standby-power is still an advantage. One I am surprised is not on their list yet is shelf labels, where stock and pricing changes can be made without there being any need for wiring or a battery to maintain the display.