E Ink displays are an attractive way of displaying informations.
Those information don’t need to change by the second: they don’t use much power, are easy to read in variable lighting, and happen to be relatively affordable. Now, they’re finding use not just in handheld devices, though—but on the streets of Sydney, Australia.
The Australian Road and Maritime Services has rolled out the first large-scale deployment of E Ink signage on the city’s streets. Each sign is connected to central government authority servers via 3G. With this connection, they can be updated over-the-air at any time. They are lit to ensure that they’re readable at night. They’re also solar powered, which provides enough juice to keep them running. They do have a power supply in case they run low, especially when they need to be updated.
The clear advantage, of course, is the flexibility they offer.
Instead of temporary signage or new signs when rules change, the city can simply send a message to the relevant signs to update and show the correct information. That should make for large civic saving and a better experience for citizens on the sidewalks, too.
Visionect, the company that developed the signs’ electronics and software, reckons that the inclusion of proximity, temperature and other sensors could make the signs even smarter in future. But for now, the street signs in Sydney are at least a little more flexible.
Despite the gloriously colorful screens used in devices like the new iPhone 7, monochromatic E-Ink displays have remained a popular choice for devices like e-readers since they’re cheap, durable, and work fine in direct sunlight.
It also means they’re the perfect technology for turning trucks into in-your-face rolling billboards.
The giant E-Ink displays are developed by Mercedes-Benz, Visionect, and RoadAds Interactive.
They are actually each made up of four 32-inch E-Ink screens that are synced to function as a single three-by-five-feet display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels and 16-levels of grayscale.
Powered only by electricity drawn from the truck’s battery, the E-Ink displays are easy to mount and remove, so they can be transferred from truck to truck depending on its route and schedule. And they’re durable enough to withstand dust, inclement weather, and even a trip through a car wash—if you could find one large enough for a tractor trailer.
The E Ink displays also feature built-in 4G functionality, wi-fi, and GPS, allowing the advertisements displayed to be constantly updated. This is also relevant to where the truck happens to be rolling through. That’s part of the reason trucks aren’t already slathered in ads. The next day the vehicle could be three states away and billboards tend to be highly localized.
In terms of advertising, the truck on the road right next to you is going to make a stronger impression than a billboard on the side of the road that whizzes right past you. There is certainly some great potential for exposure with this approach. But the E-Ink screens could also be used to supply information to other motorists. Some examples? Like impending slow downs ahead, or other emergency details. They could even provide more accurate and up-to-date ‘how’s my driving?’ information for shipping companies to keep tabs on their employees—much to the chagrin of the driver behind the wheel.
JetBlue’s second annual “Soar with Reading” program has reached its successful conclusion in Detroit.
The airline JetBlue announced on Monday that next summer the program will expand next summer to include Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Fort Lauderdale was named the program’s next destination after winning the #BookBattle online voting competition, which ended last month.
The book vending machine program aims to distribute free books to children living in areas known as “book deserts.” The vending machines also help combat the “summer slide,” a term Susan B. Neuman, professor of literacy development and early childhood at New York University, describes as occurring when children do not have reading resources readily available during their summer break.
Five book vending machines were placed at locations throughout Detroit this summer, including at Matrix Human Services, where 9-year-old Paige Godbott and her friends visited to get books for their book club.
“It’s cool to come to a vending machine with books, instead of snacks,” Paige said.
The program started with three vending machines in DC last summer. They were followed by five vending machines installed in the Detroit area this summer. The machines were placed in areas which JetBlue described as “book deserts”. These areas have a low density of books to children.
Locals disputed that description of Anacostia last summer, but nitpicking details aside these machines can only do good.
Last summer, for example, Soar with Reading distributed almost a hundred thousand books via vending machines and through community partners in DC.
E-Ink is the company responsible for the e-reader revolution.
The company has started to diversify into different market segments in recent years.
They initially started to branch into digital signage which was valued at $16.88 Billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $27.34 Billion by 2022. E-Ink is also focused on price tags and has retail partnerships with Whole Foods. This segment has accounted for 100% percent year over year growth for the past three years and is now accounts for significant growth.
In the second quarter of 2016 E-ink has just posted an operating profit of $5,437,895 and this is the first time they have been profitable for quite awhile. In the first quarter of the year for example, they posted a $8.4 million dollar loss.
If you break down their financials 35% of their revenue derives from e-tags used in luggage, digital signage and LCD panels.
Over the course of the last few years E-ink has partnered with a European company called Visionect. They provide DIY kits for companies wanting to do things such as E-Ink Keyboards, Museums and bus signs.
Speaking of Bus Signs, this is a hot new growth market for E-Ink. Information is dynamic and all of the information is updated via 3G. The signs are also readable in direct sunlight and they also incorporate back lite technology, so the screens are illuminated at night.
There are a few in Australia right now, Boston and one near Waterloo Bridge in the United Kingdom. The UK is so happy with the technology that they plan is to introduce a further three in Parliament Square, Piccadilly Circus and Sloane Square in the next few months.
The core focus on alternative markets is starting to stagnant e-paper development for the e-readers. At SID Display Week this past May, E-Ink announced a new Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP), a high quality, full color reflective display. For the first time ever, an electrophoretic display (EPD) can produce full color at every pixel without the use of a color filter array. It can display over 32,000 different colors and has a resolution of 1600 x 2500 pixels and 150 PPI.
ACeP achieves a full color gamut, including all eight primary colors, using only colored pigments.
The display utilizes a single layer of electrophoretic fluid, which is controlled using voltages compatible with commercial TFT backplanes. The fluid can be incorporated into either microcapsule or Microcup structures. The richness of the colors is achieved by having all the colored pigments in every picture element (pixel) rather than the side-by-side pixel colors achieved with a CFA. This eliminates the light attenuation, which can be quite significant. Like regular E Ink ePaper, ACeP maintains the ultra-low-power and paper-like readability under all lighting conditions.
Sadly, this color e-paper will not be available to e-readers until 2018. It is incompatible with Regal, the EPD controller that makes e-readers able to make page turns quick and eliminates ghosting.
I have proclaimed on many occasions that the e-reader industry is not innovating anymore. There simply isn’t any new tech that will offer new user experiences or dramatically increase performance. IMX 7 the new dual core processor from Freescale might improve things, but unless E-Ink releases a new waveform controller, performance might be negligible. This will prevent people from enjoying things like animated page turns, watching videos or playing casual games from companies like Rovio or All Slots Canadian Online Casino.
The E-Ink technology has been around for several years. The most common use today is for Amazon Kindle and Oaxis InkCase with stand-out features such as its readability under direct sunlight and its extreme low power consumption for battery.
Recently, popular luxury luggage maker – Rimowa has announced the roll out of the Rimowa’s Electronic Tag which is essentially an integration of E-Ink technology with their luggage to act as a substitute for the conventional paper luggage tag, commonly used to mark luggage. It uses Bluetooth connection to download data from supported airline apps for check-in details with its sight set on simplifying the process of printing and tagging at the airport.
The folks at Rimowa have also paired its luggage with an iOS compatible app that is used to initiate the E Ink tag to switch into the contact information mode. Unfortunately, at current stage, only Lufthansa Airlines has enabled its platform to sync with Rimowa’s latest E Ink luggage. So, Rimowa has cleverly enabled the app to sync images to its E Ink luggage to create a even more personal touch.
Given that this innovation is specially designed for Airline travels, security will include a Bluetooth that can only be activated from within the case. The E Ink display is powered by twin AAA batteries that can last for months with reasonable screen refreshes. To sync with Rimowa’s renowned built quality, the E Ink is shielded with Gorilla Glass – that is used by the iPhone you are holding onto now.