The Onethree incorporates a 13.3″ E-ink display into a wireless signage solution that can be mounted just about anywhere and updated remotely.
The Onethree is the first in what Visionect is calling its line of "place & play" signage. Like the Joan (and E-ink shelf labels, for that matter), the Onethree is designed to be stuck on a wall or some other location and then updated wirelessly with new info as it becomes available.
The Onethre is scheduled to hip in limited quantities this summer, and will be released widely in the fall of 2017.
That E-ink sign in front of Boston’s City Hall has now become part of a rather eclectic set. Visionect has partnered with the MIT spinoff startup Soofa to create solar-powered pedestrians signs based on color E-ink screens.
Soofa says the signs are intended to "transform the way cities communicate with their citizens, businesses build relationships with their customers, and how citizens get to know their cities". According to the announcement, the first sign was installed in front of Faneuil Hall in Samuel Adams park in September.
"We’re excited to have been chosen by Soofa to premiere their first-ever solar powered E Ink Sign," said Judy Wang, innovation fellow with Boston’s New Urban Mechanics, in a statement. "The sign encourages visitors and residents to engage with each other through the use of social media, and is another indicator of the many city efforts to activate the spaces in which we work, live and play."
When the sign was installed it just shows Boston Mayor Walsh’s Twitter feed and upcoming events in Boston, but Metro.US reported that it will display details about municipal services like BOS:311 as well as providing residents with real-time transit updates.
And as the signs become more numerous they could be used to convey public announcements about inclement weather, alien invasions, and important events.
Earlier this week Visionect revealed their latest project: giant signs made out of E-ink screens which are designed to be mounted on the back of 18-wheelers. Developed by Mercedes-Benz and RoadAds Interactive, each sign is made of four 32″ E-ink screeens which are programmed to act a a single 5′ by 3″ display with a resolution of 2880 x 5120.
And yes, as you can see in the following video, they are designed to refresh while the truck is in motion in order to provide location-specific ads.
If this is not the worst idea for new ad tech ever, it has to be in the top ten. The tech may sound nifty but it looks like it is going to be incredibly distracting for other drivers.
As several commenters have pointed out on Gizmodo, this tech is bound to cause accidents; a giant E-ink screen refreshing on the truck in the next lane is just the thing to catch your eye and take your attention off of the road in front of you.
I am surprised this even got to the prototype stage, much less announced, without being canceled; the risks are just too high. But now that many people have pointed out the problems with this idea it will quietly be canceled before anyone gets killed.
The Amlabel digital gallery display offers museum curators a new alternative to static paper labels, one which can be changed remotely with a minimum of time and effort.
As Visionect explained, a recently surveyed group of museums reported that 66% of the respondents printed more than 200 labels per year while a third printed 500 plus labels per year. All reported an average cost of $70-$100 per label, with a single misprint or a change of text causing this cost to double.
The Amlabel cuts that cost by letting museums and galleries update a label digitally. Not only does this reduce reprint costs but it also lets curators change details, or even the language on the label, at the drop of a hat.
The Amlabel comes in 6″ and 9.7″ screen sizes, and connects to existing Wifi networks. Its battery is good for months.
The island nation of Singapore has become the second government to install a 32″ E-ink sign.
The Singapore Land Transport Authority has just installed eleven new public transportation information boards at bus stops across the island.
The signs are based on the 32″ E-ink screen which was revealed at SID Display Week 2014, and incorporate an LED frontlight. The eleven signs are powered by solar panels, and have backup batteries which can keep the displays going from five days up to a week, in the absence of sunlight. They were developed by Visionect and are based on the DIY development kits which Visionect announced back in March.
According to Strait Times, an LTA spokesperson said that the 32″ signs were more visible than their LED counterparts, and cost less.. Each of new signs costs around $43,000 to install – or about $7,000 less than similarly-sized LED signs.
Visionect reports that the LTA is looking to upgrade the info boards at 85 bus stops across Singapore, and depending on how this project works out the LTA could modernize up to 200 bus stops with the new signs in the next few years.
P.S. If you’re in Singapore, please let me know f you see the signs.
If you’ve ever had the urge to develop your own 32″ E-ink monitor, Visionect can help. This Slovenian startup is at the Digital Signage Expo 2016 this week to show off their latest development kit.
For the past several year Visionect has been developing E-ink based products for niche markets. They’ve released a smart meeting room sign, a 6″ wireless monitor or thin client, and signage development kits with screens ranging from 6″ to 13.3″. Now Visionect is supersizing the development kits with the addition of E-ink’s largest screen.
The new kit features either a 32″ b&w or color E-ink screen, and costs anywhere from $3,500 to $4,500. The price includes the screen, a controller board to drive the screen, and a license for Visionect’s software.
Like E-ink’s own DIY kits and development kits, this is very much not for the end user. It requires that the buyer have a fair degree of skill at developing software, and is described as "a turnkey solution for rapidly prototyping new digital signage products and quickly transitioning them to real end products".
But on the plus side the kit comes with Wifi, 3G, and ethernet connectivity, and it is also capable of controlling a frontlight on the 32″ screen. That frontlight is not included in the kit, however.
E-ink screen have low power requirements and are sunlight readable, making them idea for use as smart street signs. Now the tech is getting put to the test at scale.
Transport for London (TfL) has begin installing new bus signs at a small number of bus stops.
The signs have E-ink screens and offer timetables, route maps, and real-time travel info which the signs download over 3G. The screens used in these signs are based on a platform developed by Visionect, an E-ink partner based in Slovenia. They are about the same size as a conventional bus stop sign, and feature colorful buttons which change the contents of the screen or illuminate it.
Several tweets show the signs in place, including a night shot which confirms that the signs are frontlit. According to Technoframes, the company that designed and built the sign units, the first sign was installed in mid-November. Six addition E-ink bus signs will be installed next year as part of a systems test which will give TfL a better idea of the idea’s viability.
Joan is built around a 6″ Carta E-ink display with a capacitive touchscreen, Wifi, and a 5Ah battery. It runs Linux on an unnamed ARM chip.
“Unlike the LCD-based room labelling solutions, ePaper running on the Visionect Platform features minimal power consumption, about only 1 percent of that of an LCD, resulting in extreme energy savings when using Joan,” explained Matej Zalar, CEO of Visionect, Joan’s developer.
It is more or less a thin-client display which is is designed to work with online calendars like Office 365, Google Apps, or Microsoft Exchange 2010. Once it’s set up, it will periodically query the online calendar and update its display.
Thanks to the touchscreen, you can update the schedule from the device itself.
Visionect has been working on similar products since 2013. They launched their first product, a wireless display similar to Joan, in February 2014.
E-ink has long made screens for its partners to put in DIY kits and development kits, and now they have a partner who has decided to go large or go home.
Visionect and E-ink were in Las Vegas last week for the Digital Signage Expo 2015, where Visionect announced a couple new development kits, including one with a 13.3″ screen:
For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Visionect first came across my desk early last year when I first came across Visionect’s thin client product.
This company had developed a wireless monitor slash thin client solution based on a 6″ E-ink screen. When paired with a remote computer of some kind, Visionect’s device could be used to fill a variety of uses ranging from a digital menu to a wireless control unit for a boat’s navigation/control system (the Nautipad Display from Weimar).
Visionect’s earlier product was based on a 6″ screen, but there was no reason that the tech couldn’t be adapted to E-ink’s larger screens (or smaller screens for that matter, which is why Visionect was at a digital signage trade show). Last week Visionect debuted their first two plus-sized development kits, one with a 9.7″ E-ink screen and the other with a 13.3″ screen.
Both units have wifi and cellular connectivity, but there’s no mention of a touchscreen, thus limiting the interactivity possibilities.
The 9.7″ unit has a screen resolution of 825 x 1,200, while the 13.3″ unit as a screen resolution of 1,200 x 1,600. The screens come mounted on a plexiglass frame along with a rechargeable LiPo battery and one of Visionect’s Panda DS board (which drives the signage).
The development kit is of course intended more to be a prototype than a finished product, so it is far less polished than Visionect’s V Tablet system, which is based on a waterproof 6″ screen unit. That smaller design is also available as a DIY kit, albeit at a much lower price.
Visionect is expecting that signage companies will develop new products based on Visionect’s platform. Some possibilities include:
Got an idea for a mobile device with an E-ink screen custom ebook reader and a few hundred dollars to spare? Then you should check out Visionect. This Slovenian startup is now showing off a thin client development kit based around an epaper screen.
Update: I’ve gotten an email from Visionect and it appears I misunderstood their product. It’s not intended to be used to develop a stand-along device. Instead the screen unit has always been intended to work as a thin client and or wireless monitor.
While there are numerous kits based on smaller E-ink screens, this the first readily available kit based on a 6″ screen. The Visionect kit, which reportedly costs €239, comes equipped with a 6″ E-ink screen (larger screen sizes are available) wrapped in a sturdy plastic shell. It has a capacitive touchscreen, Wifi, a g-sensor, but no frontlight. The CPU is a rather limited 120 MHz but since this is development kit and not intended to be a prototype that shouldn’t be a problem. since this is intended to be a thin client solution, acting strictly as a wireless screen attached to a remote system, that should not be a problem.
So if you wanted to mock up a faux E-ink ebook reader from Apple just to mess with someone’s head, you could use this kit.
Visionect reports that they have worked are working with Slovenia Telecom to develop an e-signage product for its stores. Other partners include ImagoTag, an Austrian firm working on epaper shelf tags, and Weimar, a maker of marine equipment. The Nautipad Display (pictured above and below) is based on Visionect’s platform.
This is the first time I have heard about the Nautipad Display, which is designed to work as a wireless display for the Nautipad Server.