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electronic paper(1) A generic term for an extremely thin flexible display that can be rolled up. There are several technologies in the works, and this type of display is expected to become mainstream by 2015.
|The Smartphone in a Pen|
|This OLED display screen unrolled out of a pen may seem far fetched, but such products are expected to be commercialized in a few years (see OLED). (Image courtesy of Universal Display Corporation, www.universaldisplay.com)|
(2) A paper-thin display technology that uses charged black and white elements oriented toward the viewer when a charge is applied and which retain their formation without power. The first electronic paper was developed at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (www.parc.com) in the 1970s. It used a thin sheet of Xerox Gyricon plastic, containing millions of charged beads with black and white hemispheres. When the paper was fed through a "printer," a voltage pattern was applied, and the beads were oriented toward their black or white side, or half way for gray. Although the Gyricon Media Inc. subsidiary was created to develop the technology, it never worked well enough to become a product.
In the 1990s, another electronic paper technology was developed at MIT Media Labs that placed the black and white elements inside a microcapsule. E Ink Corporation was created in 1997 to further develop and market the method, and it succeeded (see E Ink).
|The First Electronic Paper|
|Nick Sheridan, who invented the electronic paper at PARC, and Fereshteh Lesani show the first roll of paper produced by 3M. (Image courtesy of Palo Alto Research Center.)|
|As Sharp as Paper|
|In 2008, Epson demonstrated a super-high-resolution prototype display using E Ink technology. At 385 dpi, this 13.4" display provides an outstanding 3104 x 4128 pixel resolution. (Image courtesy of Seiko Epson Corporation.)|