Meet SRD: Bodle's e-paper display technology based on PCM materials

While E Ink is certainly the clear leader in the e-paper market, some companies are developing what they hope will become next-gen e-paper displays. Bodle, based in Oxford, UK, is developing a technology it calls SRD, based on research that started in Oxford University a few years ago.

Bodle SRD display mechanism

SRD, or Solid-State Reflective Displays, creates color using light interference inside an ultra-thin film. The film contains a phase-change material, the same one used in writable CD-R discs. When this material is switched between its amorphous and crystalline phases, the color is changed.

LTS to utilize E Ink's new low-voltage displays to develop a smart medical patch solution

E Ink Holdings and and LTS (Lohmann-Therapie Systeme) AG announced a partnership to co-develop an e-paper powered smart medical patch solution. The Transdermal Therapeutic System (TTS), which delivers medication to patients directly, features an E Ink display to display the statue of the delivery system.

E Ink and LTS smart patch prototype photo

The current prototype that has been developed use a 2-inch E Ink display, a switch and a pressure sensor. The display has several options, including a timer, corrector and reminder. E Ink says that this is the first application to use E Ink's new low-voltage film that uses 50-70% of the typical driving voltage for E Ink displays, and so can be used with a smaller battery than before.

Japan Display developed a 400-600 PPI E Ink backplane

Japan Display (JDI) announced that it has developed the world's highest-definition e-paper backplane, that enables E Ink dispalys to reach 400-600 PPI. This development is the first achievement of the strategic alliance between JDI and E Ink announced in November 2016.

JDI 400-600 PPI E Ink backplane photo

The new backplane is based on LTPS (the same backplane used for high-end LCD and OLED displays) and enables e-paper displays o reach WXGA and FHD resolutions.

Samsung patents a mobile phone cover with an E Ink display

Samsung filed a patent in Korea for a mobile phone cover that includes an E Ink display to show notifications. Some covers include a transparent part (or just a hole) through which you can see the display - and if it's an OLED, it makes sense because this uses very little power (only lit pixels draw power in an OLED display).

Samsung E Ink phone cover patent photo

This is just a patent application for now, but it will be interesting if Samsung actually produced such an accessory for one of its future or present smartphones.

Graphene membranes may hold the key to low-power color e-paper

Researchers from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands designed graphene-based "mechanical pixels" that could, among other applications, be someday used to enable color IMOD e-paper displays.

Graphene ''balloons'' for color pixels in e-readers image

In these so-called "graphene balloons", a double layer of graphene (two atoms thick) is deposited on top of circular indents cut into silicon. The graphene membranes enclose air inside the cavities, and the position of the membranes can be changed by applying a pressure difference between the inside and the outside. When the membranes are closer to the silicon they appear blue; when the membranes are pushed away they appear red.

Microsoft research developed a wireless energy-neutral E Ink display

Microsoft Research developed a small e-paper (E Ink) based display that harvests its entire energy using photo-voltaic cells on the back. Using low-energy bluetooth the device connects tot he network every 1-25 minutes (depends on the ambient lighting) to update the display.

The display itself seems very small (around 2-3 inch in size and is a very low resolution one). This is a very neat little gadget, although it's unlikely this will be turned into a real commercial product, at this stage it is just a research project.

E Ink, HTC and Palladio to co-develop smart medication packaging labels

E Ink announced a partnership with HTC Healthcare and the Palladio Group to develop E Ink smart medication packaging labels. The three companies will develop an IoT-based smart device and smartphone software that will improve medication adherence.

E-Ink, HTC and Palladio - smart healthcare packaging photo

The E Ink label will display personalized content that can be pushed to the packaging label as a communication interface, delivering vital information to patients and creating a gateway to improve patient engagement.

Guangzou OED develops a graphene-based e-paper technology, to start making displays within a year

China-based e-paper developer Guangzou OED Technologies announced that it developed a new graphene e-paper technology. The company aims to start producing these new screens within a year.

Graphene is the world's strongest and most conductive (to both electricity and heat) material, and it is set to revolutionize many industries - including the display industry. The company says that the new graphene-based paper is brighter and more flexible. The graphene paper is also said to have "more intensity", but I'm not sure what this means.

E Ink and Vanzo developed a dual-screen mobile phone reference platform

E Ink Holdings announced that it collaborated with Vanzo Technology to develop a dual-screen mobile phone turnkey solution. The system is based on the MediaTek (MTK) platform and combines E Ink e Paper technology with Vanzo’s software and APP.

E Ink says that this new solution will enable mobile phone makers to shorten product development time and investment for dual screen devices.

New technologies uses phase-change materials to create efficient and bright e-paper displays

Oxford University researchers developed new technology based on phase-change materials (similar to ones used in re-writable DVDs) that can be used to create non-volatile highly-efficient e-paper displays. Oxford established a new company called Bodle Technologies to commercialize this new technology.

Bodle Technologies phase-change display mechanism

The phase-change materials can manipulate light - by electrical, optical or mechanical means - they can be used to filter, steer or dim light using very little power. Bodle already demonstrated a sub-100nm pixel size and a very rich color gamut (they say it exceeds "other display technologies"). David Fyfe (the executive chairman of Oxford Photovoltaics and the former CEO of Cambridge Display Technology) will serve as executive chairman.