Plastic Logic Unveils a Flexible Color ePaper Screen (video)

Plastic Logic Unveils a Flexible Color ePaper Screen (video) e-Reading Hardware Hot on the heels of the Kindle Color rumor comes this surprise bit of news from Russia. Plastic Logic, the screen tech company I'd written off in 2010, has a color screen in the works. I have full details as well as a video of the new screen.

It was unveiled this weekend at a press event in Russia. Peter Fischer, Plastic Logic's VP for Process Engineering, is shown in the photo above with the new screen. It's described as being slightly smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, making it likely the same size as screen PlasticLogic currently has in production (8.5x11).

The color is quite cool, but the flexible detail isn't quite so amazing as you think. Plastic Logic's screen tech is based plastic transistors, so all of their screens are flexible - including the screen currently used in the PlasticLogic 100, the academic ereader which is currently being tested in Russian schools. In fact, I recall that PlasticLogic thought their screen was too flexible when they launched their first device at CES 2010.

Plastic Logic Unveils a Flexible Color ePaper Screen (video) e-Reading Hardware

There's no word yet on when the new screen might hit the market, but I do know that it can display 4 thousand colors (4,096 to be exact) with a resolution of 75ppi. While that might seem awfully low, there's a reason for it. PlasticLogic added color to their existing screen in much the same way that E-ink did.

The color is provided by a filter lying on top of the grayscale screen. The screen underneath the filter has a resolution of 150 ppi, and that gets cut in half because you need 3 pixels to do red, green, and blue. There's also a 4th pixel which is left alone (it shows the white/black of the underlying screen. The RGBW are arranged in a 2 by 2 grid in the layer on top of the PlasticLogic screen.

Wanna know why I find this screen so exciting? It's not just that it exists; but that's a start. No, I'm excited because I have some understanding of the work involved. This is a flexible screen, and so is the filter lying on top. PlasticLogic had to design the filter so it flexes at the same rate as the screen so it wouldn't get bent out of shape. That is an interesting trick, IMO.

via

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

21 Comments

  1. reichsputin14 May, 2012

    A resolution of 640×480 on an A4 size screen would be really “cool”.

    Facepalm.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder14 May, 2012

      The resolution is closer to 825×638.

      Reply
      1. Paul Durrant14 May, 2012

        It’s still a bit low compared to Amazon DX’s 1200×824, and pathetic compared to the iPad 3’s 2048×1536!

        I can’t see the colour filter method of producing a colour screen being really useful unless they can get a much higher resolution on the base screen.

        Reply
      2. reichsputin14 May, 2012

        They’ve obviously just added a color filter layer to their old 1280×960 10.7″ screen and say it’s “almost A4 size” and 75 PPI. As a color pixel is formed by four b/w subpixels, that leaves us with a quarter resolution of 640×480 for color images.

        Reply
  2. fjtorres14 May, 2012

    Saturation looks decent. Better than Triton.
    As for the resolution, 75dpi is (barely) adequate for color images and fine for line art; charts and graphs, presentations, etc.
    For text if they are smart and use sub-pixel antialiasing it should also be adequate.
    The big issue is going to be price.
    But at least the plastic substrate brings a level of durability that LCD can’t match so they may be able to make a case for premium pricing on that basis.
    Not a surefire winner but not D.O.A. either.

    Reply
  3. […] Earlier today I posted on Plastic Logic’s new color epaper screen. As cool as that was, that’s not all they’re doing.These videos were posted as part of […]

    Reply
  4. Hans14 May, 2012

    “and that gets cut in half because you need 3 pixels to do red, green, and blue.”

    Huh? How should this be possible? Epaper does not emit light, it only reflects, right? So it must use subtractive color mixing, that is CMYK.

    Please explain otherwise.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder14 May, 2012

      According to E-ink, their screen is RGBW:
      http://www.eink.com/sell_sheets/eink_brochure.pdf

      I was just emailing with E-ink’s marketing head and he implied that PL’s screen worked the same way.

      Reply
  5. Grammarian14 May, 2012

    The filter is not “laying” on top; rather, the filter is *lying* on top.

    Reply
  6. Kevin14 May, 2012

    They need to make this 150 ppi Color/300 ppi Black/White with front lighting like the Nook to really impress. They could call it a Retina display like Apple does. The same goes for eInk with their Triton displays. What’s delivered in the JetBook Color doesn’t cut it with respect to the standards being set now by LCD screens.

    Reply
  7. CharonPDX14 May, 2012

    That first picture they show made me think they were using a Prokudin-Gorskii photo… (Which would have been very appropriate.) But I can’t find it in the collection anywhere.

    (Prokudin-Gorskii was a Russian photographer around the turn of the last century who pioneered an early form of color photography. His photographs were recently restored by the Library of Congress, and they are astounding. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire )

    Reply
  8. Tom15 May, 2012

    Nate, do you remember color STN displays? This is exactly what this display will look like. Also, 4096 colors is not good enough to display realistic images. This is merely a flexible version of the “praised” Triton EInk screen.

    Reply
  9. […] | The Digital Reader. Articulos Relacionados :Hologramas 3D: Tecnología o ficción HTC Desire C es oficial Foursquare […]

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  10. […] Logic followed up their press event earlier this week with some news today that does not bode well for screen manufacturers.Those […]

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  11. Plastic Logic ya tiene nueva pantalla a color y flexible30 May, 2012

    […] | The Digital Reader. Fuente: […]

    Reply
  12. […] also got a couple photos of Plastic Logic’s new color screen that I posted about a couple weeks ago. It’s about the same thickness as the 780 micrometer screen, and like the other 3 screens it […]

    Reply
  13. […] The Fuji Xerox screen is also higher resolution because it lacks that filter layer. The demo screen at SID Display Week reportedly measured 5″ across, and it had a resolution of 800×600. If E-ink showed off  screen the best they could do is 400×300. Their screen would lose resolution because of the RGBW filter layer that has to lie on top of the screen (I explain why in my post about Plastic Logic’s color screen). […]

    Reply
  14. […] a backlit display, it reflects light just like ordinary words on a paper page. There is even new e-paper technology which can display different hues. However, the content of the paper can be changed, which allows it […]

    Reply
  15. itechbeat26 August, 2018

    Saturation looks decent. Better than Triton.
    As for the resolution, 75dpi is (barely) adequate for color images and fine for line art; charts and graphs, presentations, etc.
    For text if they are smart and use sub-pixel antialiasing it should also be adequate.
    The big issue is going to be price.
    But at least the plastic substrate brings a level of durability that LCD can’t match so they may be able to make a case for premium pricing on that basis.
    Not a surefire winner but not D.O.A. either.

    Reply

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