Flexible displays have been the latest new innovation in the gadgets industry this year. From rollable phones to folding laptops, we’ve seen a lot in 2020. However, this just looks like a start. E Ink which is one of the world’s leading e-paper display makers has just announced that it has developed the world’s first Flexible Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP) in partnership with Plastic Logic. Plastic Logic’s advanced oTFT (organic Thin Film Transistor) displays are high-resolution, lightweight and ultra-low-power and thus open up a new door of ultra-slim wearables that have flexible displays.
E-paper has so far been widely used in e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle. However, Plastic Logic’s technology allows for expansion into applications such as clothing, not only wearables.
“We are very excited to collaborate with E Ink to provide the market with the world’s first plastic displays using ACeP film,” said Tim Burne, CEO, Plastic Logic. “Our flexible, glass-free displays are a perfect addition to any wearable technology designer’s toolkit – they are extremely lightweight, making them well suited for integration into a host of wearables, including smart jewellery and smart clothing.”
The partnership fuses Plastic Logic’s flexible, glass-free electrophoretic displays, which they call Legio, and E Ink’s Advanced Color ePaper ACeP together to achieve a flexible display. It consists of an active matrix electrophoretic display which has an integrated EPD controller + source and gate driver IC bonded on the plastic substrate These displays require very low electricity as small short bursts are enough to change what’s on the display, unlike LCDs.
While this is indeed exciting for the kind of future applications it promises, E Ink hasn’t really mentioned or addressed mass production yet. Moreover, the demonstration shows off a very small 2.1-inch flexible colour EPD with a resolution of just 240×146 pixels, enough perhaps for patches on clothing.
It is also likely that we could see rollable e-ink displays down the road in the coming years as E Ink gets efficient in mass-producing these displays. However, for the time being, the rollout is likely to be limited to enterprise customers and corporations.