Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Color and Flexible e-book displays

The Economist recently had an interesting story that is a must-read for those interested in e-reader technology. They report that HP Labs, Arizona State, and E Ink have been successful at producing flexible electronic paper in long rolls -- bendy electronic paper, that can display words and images, and perhaps eventually replace paper books, newspapers and magazines. The new screens are both low-weight and have low power consumption. Early uses are expected to be in the military, who funded the project -- for purposes such as maps and receiving information. Consumer applications are likely a few years away.

The article goes on to talk about the two key barriers to the technology being successful -- a lack of color, and a refresh rate that enables moving images. But the new technology is substantively lighter, more reliable in production and use, and consumes less power -- all factors that will lead to the new technology surplanting the old. The breakthrough reported in the Economist article, though, is the ability to mass-produce flexible displays -- greatly reducing the cost. The article concludes with comments on different technologies that are emerging that may make color displays possible in the future.

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