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Looking For E-Ink Applications Beyond Ebook Readers

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-satisfied-until-it's-the-whole-table dept.

Displays 161

An anonymous reader writes "When MIT's Media Lab originally came up with E-Ink back in 1997, we doubt they expected the technology to be this widely popular. Today, we see E-Ink's applications take a step further than just E-book readers. From streaming videos onto your wardrobe to camouflaging tanks, various companies have been experimenting with the technology to discover its next big adoption."

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e-ink tattoos (1, Insightful)

Snotman (767894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704120)

Then you could send messages to people via your tattoo like "Screw off!"

Re:e-ink tattoos (1, Funny)

NeuroKoan (12458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704172)

Or POOR IMPULSE CONTROL

Re:e-ink tattoos (0)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704396)

Or POOR IMPULSE CONTROL

Heh, first I was thinking of getting an e-ink bumper sticker, but now you really have me wanting to put that on my 1701-D Federation Starship.

Re:e-ink tattoos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704328)

You do know that E-Ink is just a name and it's not actually ink, right?

Re:e-ink tattoos (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704386)

Why couldn't you put a transparent e-ink display as part of a tattoo on your skin that runs from the electricity in your skin? There is no confusion as to it being real ink. Maybe new adhesives are created for the bond between skin and the display so that it looks like it is part of your skin. That doesn't seem to be to far-fetched, now does it?

Re:e-ink tattoos (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704794)

Why try and figure out "electricity in your skin"? The whole point of e-Ink is that it only needs electricity to change the image, so your tattoo-updater provides the electricity when it provides the new image.

Re:e-ink tattoos (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704860)

E-ink tattoos already exist [thinkgeek.com] . They sell you a hand-scanner type wand that will reprogram the e-ink that gets tattood into your skin. So you can change the matrix of pixels into clear or black and change the tattoo any time you want. They show someone with a shopping list on their arm in one picture, or a girl that does not want to show her tramp stamp off when going to visit her folks. I think it sounds like a really cool idea. If your wand breaks and you can't get a new one though, then you have a permanant tattoo. You better hope it is one you like then.

Re:e-ink tattoos (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705996)

Just in case you missed it, that was an April fool's joke, but it would still be pretty awesome to have that as a real technology.

Re:e-ink tattoos (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706406)

That's funny! I did miss that it was an April fool's joke. I guess I was the fool on that one. I saw no reason that it would not work. If you gave the charge to switch the e-ink from an external source it should change them to the new image and it doesn't take power to keep the image. I guess there is a difference in that the regular displays have electrodes on both sides of the e-ink dots and the wand would only be on one side.

Re:e-ink tattoos (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704654)

Or get a full-face E-ink tattoo that generates a new facial-recognition-breaking pattern every time you turn it on.

Re:e-ink tattoos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37705520)

Yea, my thought was "a really good Rorschach (from The Watchmen) costume"

Re:e-ink tattoos (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706230)

Why so negative, e-ink tattoos would be great when you have to change the name of your ex to your new girlfriend!

Widely popular? (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704176)

I've seen exactly one use of e-ink in the wild: ebooks.

We were hearing about color versions, video-speed versions, and wrappable versions five years ago. What can I buy? A monochrome Kindle with refresh so slow it make a man want to buy you another refresh.

Re:Widely popular? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704256)

You can already buy color e-ink books, the prolem is that they aren't very good. They're color, but they're color sort of the same way that the Gameboy Color was, as in you do get colors, but they're somewhat faint and quite limited in the colors that can be displayed.

In the future though, I could totally see the technology being used for boardgames and billboards, almost certainly for bus schedules. I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we ended up with something similar to the Hitchhikers guide.

Re:Widely popular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704370)

I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we ended up with something similar to the Hitchhikers guide.

Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com] .

Re:Widely popular? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704726)

The only problem with the GBC's screen was that unless you had really good lighting (like a flourescent lamp or an addon LED light) the screen looked dark, but there are many good high-color games that look about on par with a 256-color PC game. You might be thinking of the "additional color support" games that worked on the old monochrome Game Boy and also offered a limited palette of colors on the GBC.

Re:Widely popular? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704830)

Game boards is actually a very good idea. You could have a complete board made out of e-Ink that changes the game display based on which game you want to display. Couple that with a touch interface and you instantly have an electronic customizable board for playing Risk, Monopoly, Scabble, etc. You could either play games electronically or just use it display the board and have physical playing pieces. Not only that, but when a new game came out you would just have to buy the pieces and download the board layout.

Of course, peer-to-peer tablet games will be the next big gaming environment. Imagine having 4 or 5 friends with tablets connected together in a large game of Risk or Battleship.... OMG, U SNK MY BShip.... (grin)

Re:Widely popular? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704288)

I've seen exactly one use of e-ink in the wild: ebooks.

We were hearing about color versions, video-speed versions, and wrappable versions five years ago. What can I buy? A monochrome Kindle with refresh so slow it make a man want to buy you another refresh.

To be fair, the last two generations of Kindle have decent refresh speeds - and very nice displays overall... for book reading. But your overall point is spot-on.

We need Avery Brooks to make a new commercial - "Where are my color e-ink displays? I was promised color e-ink displays!"

Hey, no need to badmouth the Kindle (3, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704492)

Hey, I like the Kindle. It's dirt cheap. The display doesn't give me a headache. And it's small, light, and simple.

Yeah, I'm disappointed that we haven't seen more of the promises delivered on too. But there is no need to run down the Kindle. It delivers on exactly what it promises and does it cheaply and well.

Re:Hey, no need to badmouth the Kindle (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705466)

It wasn't my intent to "run down the Kindle", nor do I think it was the grandparent's intent. I believe he was lamenting the sad lack of progress towards the promises that had been made regarding this technology.

FWIW I own a Kindle 3 and think it's great.

Re:Hey, no need to badmouth the Kindle (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705470)

I don't know what economy you're living in, but I wouldn't say it's dirt cheap. Even $100 (much less than it started at) isn't dirt cheap.

Re:Hey, no need to badmouth the Kindle (2)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706562)

I don't know what economy you're living in, but I wouldn't say it's dirt cheap. Even $100 (much less than it started at) isn't dirt cheap.

For the kind of tech and convenience you get, I'd say it is dirty cheap. FWIW by convenience, I mean:
- the price of bookshelves, and the house space that is not occupied by bookshelves,
- I read a lot and my eyes are not 'eagle sharp'. Having adjustable fonts in something which is not a bright monitor is positively awesome and (for me) worth paying a lot more than $100.
- carrying loads of books while on vacation without the weight...
- etc
  Perhaps the $100 is still a lot compared to that for some, but for many I can assure you it is peanuts.

Re:Widely popular? with musicians (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705462)

I convert guitar tab to PDF using tuxguitar output to lilypond, and it looks great. Usually I start with stuff I found online, and fix it as I learn the song.

I can't think of a better, easier way to put piles of music in a single place. Between things like Mutopia and the PDF export of most music programs, any musician would be silly not to get one.

Warning: Dont rely on one during an audition - I've seen more than 1 piano player not able to reach the 'next page' button in time!

But I generally agree, e-ink is useful for portable books and the updating newspapers we were promised when it came out. I see no advantage because LED is more suitable in just about every other case.

Re:Widely popular? (3, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704358)

I've seen exactly one use of e-ink in the wild: ebooks.

Actually, a pretty cool use I've seen is a little capacity meter on USB thumb drives:
http://www.lexar.com/products/lexar-echo-mx-backup-drive?category=207 [lexar.com]

My wife (of all people) has one of these things, I thought it was pretty neat.

Re:Widely popular? (2)

Forbman (794277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704452)

There have been a few quasi-smart phones with keypad buttons that had eInk in them - the icon in the key (letter, symbol, whatnot) could change depending on the context... It seemed kind of cool, actually.

Re:Widely popular? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705002)

I have several copies of the issue of Esquire with the e-ink cover and Ford Flex ad. They were simple, segmented displays but very durable and bendy. I left one in the trunk of my car where it got smashed by groceries and luggage, baked/frozen by weather, etc. and it worked perfectly until the batteries ran out. Refresh speeds are getting better but, honestly, aren't particularly relevant to "reader" type applications. I'm not a speed reader so it takes me a minute or two to finish a page and I can live with a half-second delay between pages. What I really want to see in readers is higher resolution. Right now, the pixel density is insufficient to clearly render the full page of even a paperback book.

Billboards! Blimps! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704184)

Car dashboards!

MIT did NOT come up with e-ink, PARC did (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704198)

E-Ink was actually invented in the 1970's by Nick Sheridon at Xerox PARC. MIT Media Labs simply tried to recreate it (and later altered how it was originally done).

Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704208)

Low Power E-Ink heads up displays on windows, especially in cars.

Re:Windows (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704504)

The problem with that is that E-Ink relies on physical opaque particles that have different colors on each side and their orientation changes with an electromagnetic charge. So you wouldn't be able to look through the window.

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704786)

That's how the old tech worked, but they have new ways. There are capsules of dark and light ink (which have opposite charges) suspended in a fluid. Depending on the input signal to the pixel, the dark or light ink can be floated to the top, to set the pixel. There is electrowetting as well. Wikipedia has a decent article on it.

Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet! (1)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704260)

The expectations in the 1990s were much higher than today. The expectation was that ultimately electronic paper would replace printed newspapers. You'd only buy one book and download any content to that book -- similar to what people could to with a vanilla Kindle. The Kindle Fire doesn't even use E-Ink [wikipedia.org] , but a standard IPS LCD display. But most people still buy paper books (the offline variant). And any other products using E-Ink are still vapor ware: lots of announcements, none available. No wall sized displays replacing the concrete behind them with tropical islands, no camouflaged tanks, no nothing. Since years.

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704368)

The Kindle Fire doesn't even use E-Ink [wikipedia.org] , but a standard IPS LCD display.

Well, duh. If you want a dedicated e-reader you buy an e-ink Kindle, if you want to watch videos, etc, then you have to use an LCD because e-ink response time is so slow.

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (2)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704518)

True. Still waiting for one of those picture-frames to show up in a shop, that has:

  • E-ink for showing the pictures. Don't think I've even seen this so far; e-ink only for e-readers, picture-frames all based on LCD or similar tech.
  • A solar cell on the back to power the thing (should be possible when the device isn't emitting light itself).

Above seems 'simple' enough, but haven't heard of / seen any examples yet...

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704604)

Yeah, I'm waiting for that since reading William Gibson's Neuromancer as a kid. They could make gazillions with these things.

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705386)

Simple, yes, but it'd be black-and-white (-and-grey). I don't think anyone would want to pay for a picture frame that can't display color.

I used to work for Gyricon, which made its own type of electronic paper (though it was a very different approach than what E-Ink does). We were also looking for the killer app, focusing on large-scale signage rather than hand-held devices. The lack of color e-paper technology is a huge hurdle. Full color LCD displays are available that are cheap enough and efficient enough for most applications. If color is available for nearly the same cost, no one is going to choose black-and-white. The one and only exception to this is, you guessed it, books.

While not as much a concern as lack of color, refresh rate is also a problem for e-paper. Last time I looked at a Kindle, it took about a second to refresh the display. That kind of kills the idea of video. And the whole display flashes while refreshing, which kills the idea of basic animation. Again, this isn't a problem with LCD.

Electronic paper in general is doomed to be nothing more than a minor niche technology until it overcomes these hurdles.

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706390)

electronic paper is perhaps perfect to cover the niche of... paper! (at least the kind you use for printing...)

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704730)

Most people buy real books over ebooks because real books (paperbacks) are still cheaper (less expensive) at Costco (or other place) than the same ebooks are at B&N or Amazon. Hell, even some books are cheaper at B&N brick store than an ebook from B&N online.

Then you can resell (or trade) those real books in for credit at local used books stores, making the value even greater.

My mom has a Nook, and never has used it for this reason alone.

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704838)

Plus paper books last (nearly) forever, you can give them them to kids or, if everything else fails, the nazis/communists/whatev0r can burn them.

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706008)

"Plus paper books last (nearly) forever"
nope. The last a long time, properly cared for.
It would take a completely collapse of all electronic and civilization for me to loose any eBook I own.
Books rot.

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

gentryx (759438) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706124)

Both need caring: books may rot, but the dead see scrolls are a pretty good example for how long paper may last. Then, for digital documents there is a thing called bit rot. Ever tried to read a floppy disk from 1990? Even if you got the drive, the medium of the floppy may have become unreadable. Or there is no program to open that document format. To avoid bit rot you can expect that you'll have to constantly copy and reformat your books. Bt

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706100)

Depends on the book, and frequently how old it is. If it was printed in the 1800s or early 1900s, it'll probably last a long time. If it was printed in the 1500s or so, it'll probably last even longer (because they used parchment, not paper). If it was printed in the second half of the 20th century, it's probably already disintegrating. Newer books printed on acid-free paper, however, should be pretty good.

More E-Books (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705284)

Amazon claims that it sold more Kindle e-books then phsycial books in 2010. (They still don't release kindle sales.)

And yes, this is a limited sample

Re:Quite the opposite: E-Ink breakthrough? Not yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37705050)

"But most people still buy paper books."

At Amazon they're not.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2376836,00.asp

Considering how massively hyped it was at the time (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704264)

Considering how massively hyped it was at the time. I am pretty sure that they would be surprised that it is not being used in even more ways than it is currently. I remember the inventors talking about how it was going to change the way everything was displayed. They suggested that magazines would be published in it and the ads would change depending on where you bought/read the magazine (they never quite explained how the information about the contents for the new ad would get into the magazine). This is not the same as changes on an e-reader. They imagined this for disposable magazines they you would throw away when you were done with them.

Re:Considering how massively hyped it was at the t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37705566)

Considering how massively hyped it was at the time. I am pretty sure that they would be surprised that it is not being used in even more ways than it is currently. I remember the inventors talking about how it was going to change the way everything was displayed. They suggested that magazines would be published in it and the ads would change depending on where you bought/read the magazine (they never quite explained how the information about the contents for the new ad would get into the magazine). This is not the same as changes on an e-reader. They imagined this for disposable magazines they you would throw away when you were done with them.

Given enough time... it will be done, it's certainly possible allready, just not cheap. And that Sir, will change.

It just needs to be bigger. (4, Interesting)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704284)

What I really want is a large e-ink display with a foot switch, so I can stop dicking around with sheet music and frantic page turns.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704514)

Agreed on the bigger ... but I want even larger than that. I absolutely *loathe* the LED message signs that it seems every church / school / bank / shopping center has these days.

But I want to put something in front of our Town Hall that we can change the messages on easily, and looks a little classier than the old school swap out the letters ones ... An indoor large sign was actually one of their first products (mentioned in a Economist article from 2000 [economist.com] )

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705056)

I agree here. Some of the color LED signs are hard to read, while some of the monochromatic tend to be just plain obnoxious.

e-Ink on that large a scale can bring about a number of nice things:

1: For business parks, it wouldn't be hard to change the logos of businesses there on their main signs.

2: It would be trivial for billboard companies to change signs.

3: Stadium signs with team logos instead of "Home and Visitor".

4: Traffic signs that don't require constant upkeep or mechanical sliding/flipping parts to show that a lane turns left or doesn't. Downside is that crooked towns will use it to change speed limits at a whim.

5: Office/dorm room signs. This way, there is a list of who is where, but it can be easily changed on a semester basis.

6: Better updating of who and which groups owns which conference room at what time.

7: Parking garage maps showing spots in use, empty spots, reserved spots, and multiple spots taken by the douchebag types.

8: If this could be done on the ground, perhaps even dynamic parking in an area. One day, RV parking would be required so spaces are marked with that. Another day, most vehicles are compact cars. Still another day might have handicapped vans that require ramp space. This way, if a place knew what people's vehicle requirements are, parking places can be made the right width.

9: As part of #8, if dynamic road markings could be used, it would allow for better traffic control (for example to divert traffic onto frontage roads and away from the highway during a high speed pursuit, a wreck, or other disaster.)

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

monkeythug (875071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705850)

10. Wallpaper/paint. We're thinking of repainting the living room at the moment and just trying to pick a colour. As I sure everyone is aware not only is this a non-trivial amount of work, even with tester pots you can never be sure what the final result will look like until you've finished.

With full colour E-Ink you could pick a different shade or pattern at the press of a few buttons and change it every day (or have it constantly changing if you wanted).

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (0)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706156)

Think of the themes.

Parents coming round? Call up the boring pattern and pictures of landscapes. Then they leave, and it's back to all those anime screencaps and fan-art.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706116)

You know what's really dumb? Signs lit up in blue. Either LED ones or just plain corporate logos lit in blue. They're utterly impossible to read at night; they just look like a big blur.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706174)

You get that too? I thought the chromatic aberration was just a flaw in my eyes. Does everyone have problems focusing blue?

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706458)

I'm pretty sure it's everyone. Blue is at the very edge of our ability to see, and our ability to resolve it isn't very good. Our eyes respond best to green light.

However, I guess I'm wrong: a quick google search turned up the following discussion about this very thing:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110128170535AAqOv0v [yahoo.com]

One responder points to chromatic aberration:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_aberration [wikipedia.org]

They seem to agree that it's a problem with people who are slightly myopic. Are you? I am, though only slightly (-0.125 diopter in one eye, -0.75 in the other), and don't use any corrective lenses. The responder says this is why almost all alarm clocks are either red or green, since everyone should be able to read green well at night, and while red was probably used mainly because that was the only LED color available for a long time, there's a lot more near-sighted people than far-sighted ones, and apparently it's the far-sighted people that do better with blue signs at night.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706544)

Look around and you'll find that MOST lighted business signs are red. Very few are blue. There's a reason for that as you've discovered. It's not just you.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704644)

sounds like you need to have a larger note buffer. that way you can leisurely turn the page because you have the next 15 notes in your pipeline already.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704898)

IDK what instrument he's using, but for most the problem is that it takes two hands to play. Leaves very few hands (1) to change pages. Hence, he wants a foot switch.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704924)

Damn HTML tags, that was supposed to read '(<1)'

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705232)

Yeah, I play the violin, so hands-free would be a definite bonus. Particularly when sight-reading. Even with a 15-note buffer, that's less than one measure of sixteenth notes.

Re:It just needs to be bigger. (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705966)

:) you won't have to wait too long. I know of at least one company working on this exact concept.

New Use: Migraine Headache Research (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704294)

e-ink and 3D are both VERY good at inducing migraine headaches, in my experience. Researchers interested in finding a cure please take note.

Re:New Use: Migraine Headache Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704374)

Maybe you're using the lower-quality e-ink? I read books on my iriver Story HD for hours at a time.

Re:New Use: Migraine Headache Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704420)

I wonder how you get a headache from a static image. Maybe this is a placebo effect? E-ink does not refresh (except when there is a new image to load), so the image is actually static - it is not being refreshed at all.

Re:New Use: Migraine Headache Research (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704454)

This is the first I've ever heard about e-ink inducing migraines. In fact, everything I found on the net suggested it was great for migraine sufferers because it doesn't flicker, doesn't produce light, and you can change the font size whenever you want.

Re:New Use: Migraine Headache Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704520)

All I know is after fifteen minutes of putting up with the "reset screen" for best eBook screen quality, I was in agony.

My PalmPilot didn't do that, ever, and my iPhone is even better as an eBook reader.

Re:New Use: Migraine Headache Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704496)

Don't use the lowest font sizes. The kindle uses a greyscale display, at the lowest three font sizes it causes some text bluring which is probably the cause of your migraines. eInk is a lot better on your eyes than any LCD but like anything a small minority tneds to have issues with it. (Although for 3D its a small minority that doesn't have issues)

LCDs don't act that way si

Re:New Use: Migraine Headache Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704500)

I too am curious to know whether there's a particular kind of e-ink display that triggers your migraines. I'm a sufferer and 3D bothers me, DLP projectors bother me, but I've never had an issue with my Kindle.

Everybody is different, of course - the e-ink displays do have slightly less contrast and more glare than regular paper, so I suppose that might be a trigger somehow.

Re:New Use: Migraine Headache Research (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706130)

I think you may have another problem. There is no reason for an E-Ink display to cause migraines.

And I am being serious.

E-Ink needs to be renamed... (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704334)

...it is awkward to pronounce. The two phonemes require an aspired stop, and it doesn't roll off the tongue nicely, unless you say eeeeenk (like Ren Hoek) instead of the stuttering Eee-Eeenk.

Re:E-Ink needs to be renamed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704410)

We'll get on that right after we rename dubya dubya dubya.

phones / watches / other (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704424)

I know that there have been phones created using e-ink as the primary display. Much more of just a phone type cell phone rather than a smart phone. There are also some e-ink watches which makes a lot of sense too. I can always hope flexible e-ink displays get better so that the foldable e-ink phone/reader comes out, like this: readius [e-ink-info.com]

Porn! (2)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704462)

If it can't be used to enhance my porn experience then it's totally useless.

speed is an issue (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704512)

If you are reading, maybe you can tolerate full second rendering delays. You arent going to use this for a video game in this form.

Re:speed is an issue (2)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705472)

I also wouldn't use a sandwich to play a video game. Doesn't mean sandwiches don't have a place in my life.

Restaurant Menus (1)

beernutmark (1274132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704538)

I would LOVE to be able to use e-ink in our restaurant. We have a 20 pg beer menu as well as our food menu and changing them out for pricing or item changes is a real pita and quite a waste of labor. To be able to update 100+ menus with a wireless connection would be great! Although, the potential for hacking could result in some very interesting menu text.

Re:Restaurant Menus (1)

shadowsurfr1 (746027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704634)

We have a 20 pg beer menu

Ok where do you work? I should come by...

Re:Restaurant Menus (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705268)

Come visit Capital Ale House [capitalalehouse.com] in Richmond Va.

Re:Restaurant Menus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37705200)

Can you just serve the menus directly to your clients smart phones? this way you would be getting their personal information back to trade to google/facebook....

Re:Restaurant Menus (1)

beernutmark (1274132) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705874)

We sort of do that via our real-time beer list on our website but browsing the print menu is still more popular. You can see the sized list we are dealing with on The Bayou's beer list [utahbayou.com]

Re:Restaurant Menus (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706140)

Mount kindles user plexiglass in the tables.
Point it to a web page you update.

Sadly, it was sold about 2 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704548)

To Taiwain and all of the production offshored. That is what made this happen.

Cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704552)

Custom self rewriting card decks, for all those crazy card games, or jut to change the pretty pictures on the back.

Re:Cards (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706114)

Dude, this is /.

The game you should have mentioned is sabacc [wikia.com]

"The game of sabacc used a deck of seventy-six cards featuring sixty numbered cards divided into four suits, and two copies of eight special cards. Each player is dealt several cards which make up their hand, usually between two and five, depending on the set of rules in play at the table. The cards themselves are small, electronic devices with a display panel covering the surface of one side; this panel is capable of shifting the displayed suit and value of each card when told to do so by the computer running the game, or when a player has the option to manually shuffle the card's value. In this fashion, a player can receive new cards of any possible suit or rank without actually having to take new cards from the deck itself."

contender for over-40-inch screen then (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704572)

CRTs had maxed out; projection TVs and plasmas cost a fortune. But the world moved on to other screen technologies for the 50-foot screens you see in billboards and sports stadiums.

Interior decoration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704606)

Why not replace paintings (at least black and white ones)?

I know of several that would make money. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704618)

e Ink table top for boardrooms.
e ink large format display for CAD drawings. E size paper please and able to roll it up.
e ink 32" and 42" displays for digital signage.

Minority report: cheap enough for cereal boxes? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704630)

For a while there I thought LCD screens would be "almost free" having migrated into $7 cellphones and disposable cameras. But not quite cheap enough to put screens on cereal boxes like in the Minority Report movie. Given "Moore's Law" possibly somethime this century.

Low power/persistence when off... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704672)

E-ink displays could be quite useful, if the module could be made cheap enough, in certain sorts of logistical applications...

Since you only pay a power cost when you change them, and static display costs nothing, things like shelf price tags that last ages on tiny batteries should be quite doable. a desktop/laptop equivalent to the small LCD status displays that servers have(usually switching between hostname/uptime/fault conditions/etc.) would make life easier as well. Having to boot a machine in storage or in transit just to learn its hostname/IP/whatever is a pain in the ass. A teeny little microcontroller module that chats with the motherboard and recharges its ultracapacitor when up, and then is good for a few hundred or thousand cycles through hostname/last IP/MAC/user defined barcode/Asset tag certainly would be handy...

Stranglehold on dev kits, few choices in products (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704746)

One of the problems the eInk people had was that they completely constrained the market via hideously expensive development kits and a poor selection of screens. Only 1-2, low-resolution, nowhere-near-A4-or-US-Letter screens have been available. The only exception are 2-3 large-format readers like the Kindle DX and the Iliad Digital Reader 1000 (which was a miserable failure, in part because they lied through their teeth about the specs, especially battery life, which was miserable...a few hours at best, instead of "days" to "weeks"), but even those haven't come close to the size of a sheet of US Letter paper. PDFs are *barely* readable on them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_e-book_readers [wikipedia.org] Look down that list of screen specs and you'll realize why e-Readers, aside from Kindles and Nooks, have been a failure.

Calendars! (2)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704826)

A good e-ink calendar would be the killer app for me. It would be wesome if I could programmatically enter events and on the fly switch between Month/Week/Agenda type views. I could do this with an iPad I guess, but I would prefer a dedicated large picture frame type device that I can hang above my desk with low power consumption.

Re:Calendars! (1)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705084)

I like this idea, also an analog e-ink wrist watch (by analog I mean displaying two hands on a dial) with the ability to show alerts from a connected phone & unlock that phone would be cool. Of course an optimus style e-ink keyboard would be awesome. For all these simple uses I think higher contrast ratios would be more important than color or refresh improvements. Full color e-ink could revolutionize photo frames and still not need refresh improvements.

What could we do with an e-ink display with current sizes, contrast, resolution & color (or lack thereof) but with near video refresh? I guess e-readers would be like a b/w iPad but can't think of any other uses, perhaps car / plane cockpit gauges would work better than current mixes of analog gauges and LCDs.

Decline of editorial standards (again) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37704866)

I realize slashdot's editorial standards aren't very high, and have been declining of late.

However, I really think even a 4th grade child could understand what's wrong with this sentence in the summary:

"When MIT's Media Lab originally came up with E-Ink back in 1997, doubt they expected the technology to be this widely popular."

Seriously? Basic reading should just tell you to fix this sentence so that it at least makes sense. Right now, is it "they expected the tech to be this widely popular", or is it "there were doubts they expected..." or even "they doubted the technology would be this widely popular."

Editors, it's not that hard. The fact this slips by you indicates you don't read the summaries, or even the title and summary. Not bothering to fix basic mistakes like that is one of the leading causes for the decline of Western Civilization.

E-Ink car plate (1)

Pouic (1051024) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704884)

with random plate number generator. Of course, with a button near the driver for quickly displaying back the legit plate number in case of emergency. E-ink seems to be sensitive to static electricity / external parasitic voltage fields though.

proofing? (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704918)

I was thinking that maybe an eink screen could be used for proofing graphics and photos before printing. I'm guessing the reflective screen would look closer to what it would on paper than what it would look on an LCD screen.

Windows (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37704996)

You could adjust the tint on your windows with a dimmer switch to let more/less light in.

Shingles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37705010)

Put E-Ink in shingles:
1) Have them tun white in the summer and full sun. Have them turn black in winter or at night.
2) Get them green energy Obama credits
3) ?
4) Profit!

Literally (0)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705276)

A solution looking for a problem.

Re:Literally (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706152)

So was the automobile.

Photo Frames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37705442)

LCD photo frames were a huge fad a few years ago, but they universally suck. I would love to have a thin, E-Ink photo frame that would last for years on a single battery charge. I don't mind that it would be black and white - many portraits look great in B&W, and the paper-quality resolution would more than make up for it.

Flash Drive Capacity (1)

Zebraheaded (1229302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37705964)

It's simple and of very little actual use, but I like the Lexar flash drives which have the E-Ink capacity meter on the side.
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