The GEAK Watch II has an LCD display on top of an E Ink display, to ship in January 2015

China-based GEAK launched a new watch called the GEAK Watch II, that uses two round displays - an LCD and an E Ink panel, on on top of the other. The transparent LCD sits on top of the E Ink. This enables a very efficient battery life - and GEAK says the battery will last for a week with light use or 3-4 days with "moderate" use.

Both displays are 1.36" in diameter (320x320 resolution, 254 PPI, apparently on both the E Ink and the LCD). The watch connects to your phone via Bluetooth and also includes several trackers (heart rate, air quality, step counter and more).

Ynvisible to develop paper-thin, low-power boards and modules in a new Arduino-based platform

Portugal-based Ynvisible is developing flexible transparent electrochromic displays and the company is already producing some displays in low volume. The company now launched a kickstarter project called Printoo that aims to develop an Arduino-based platform of paper-thin, low-power boards and modules. The company already reached their financing goal of $20,000 and there's still 25 days to go.

The Printoo platform includes 17 modules, including a microprocessor, a printed battery, Ynvisible's flexible, transparent display and a flexible solar cell. This is pretty cool stuff and it'll be great to see how the company delivers on their promise.

Ynvisible's electrochromics transparent flexible display hands on review

Ynvisible (based in Portugal) is developing flexible transparent electrochromic displays (materials that change color when electricity is applied). The company is already producing some displays in low volume (with manual assembly), and were kind enough to send us a sample gift card showing off their displays.

The gift card

So first of all, the display is quite impressive. They use a material that changes from being transparent to being blue, and indeed when you press a small button on the card it displays words in blue (love in several languages). When off, it looks exactly like a normal piece of plastic - totally transparent and bendable (flexible).

Apple files a hybrid e-paper/LCD display patent

Apple filed a new patent application describing a new hybrid display that can dynamically switch between a full-color LCD (or OLED) to a low power monochrome e-paper. Actually, the screen can be operate in the two modes together - where some parts of the image is seen via the LCD/OLED and the rest via the e-paper. It seems that Apple recognizes the advantages of an e-paper display for actual reading...

The idea is to make a display that has "multiple composite display regions", each made from a transparent e-paper panel on top of an LCD/OLED. The display has several independently activated backlight units, illuminating the LCD panels when necessary (this won't be necessary in an OLED, obviously, as it does not require backlighting at all). On top of the whole device there's a touch layet, too.

A concept phone that uses an E Ink / OLED double display...

There's a new concept mobile phone called 'second-life' that uses a 'double-display' which is an OLED display on top of an E Ink display, and both are transparent. You can switch between the displays: so when power is low, you can use the E Ink to conserve battery. A nice touch is that if you're using the E Ink display, the degree of transparency of the display shows how much battery is remaining. The more transparent the display, the less battery remaining.

Second-Life OLED/E Ink phone concept photoWe're not sure if it's possible to create a transparent E Ink... but this concept design is nice in any case...

Hitachi and Pixtronix announce a new MEMS display, to start production late 2011

Hitachi Displays is showing a new MEMS display prototype (2.5", 320x240), using Pixtronics' technology. They say that the power consumption is about half of a regular LCD, and it has 3 modes: transparent, reflectance (monochrome only) and semi-transmissive (a combination of the transparent mode and the reflectance mode, which is also monochrome only). The displays will be released towards the end of 2011 (or early 2011) in 10" or smaller sizes (for mobile devices). 

Pixtronixs's technology is based around a MEMS shutter, backlight LED unit and a TFT driver element. Color is done via opening and shutting the MEMS shutter at a high speed and changing the amounts of the light from the LED backlight unit and natural light.

Toppan Printing developed new technology that promises cheap and flexible e-paper displays

Toppan Printing has developed and prototyped a new solution-processed TFT using transparent amorphous oxide semiconductor and a low-temperature manufacturing process. Toppan is using this to drive a flexible e-paper - they say that the new technology will enable cheap, light weight and flexible e-papers. 

Toppan is showing a 2" x 2" prototype, with a 80x60 resolution. The TFT substrate is made of glass, and the semiconductor material is a transparent amorphous oxide semiconductor.

HP announces new flexible, transparent, reflective display technology - eSkins

HP announces a new display technology called Electronic Skins. eSkins is a flexible reflective color film, that can alos display icons or alpha-numeric characters.

HP eSkins technology offers brand manufacturers new ways to personalize their products with an electronically controlled color surface created using HP’s breakthrough roll-to-roll manufacturing platform. Designed to make fine-scale circuitry on plastic substrates, the platform processes flexible screens in rolls rather than individual sheets, offering the potential for more cost-effective manufacturing.

This new device architecture is compatible with roll-to-roll plastic circuits that can be combined with proprietary, electrically controllable “inks” to achieve print-like color performance, as well as transparency. Using a technology similar to color printing, HP is developing the capability to produce specific “ink” colors within the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® range. The vibrant, print-quality colors have excellent visibility in direct sunlight and can electronically shift into a transparent state, revealing the surface below the eSkins film.