In our first in-office product demo with an ipXchange partner, our good friend Shaun O’Brien from Ineltek UK burst through the door with an e-paper innovation that still has him wowed after first seeing it at Touch Taiwan in April. He was right to be amazed.
The Spectra 6 display by E Ink, a world leader in EPDs (ElectroPhoretic Displays), pushes the boundaries of e-paper/e-ink technology to provide vivid full-colour images that rival the picture quality of LCD and OLED displays. Thanks to 6 layers of coloured e-ink – red, yellow, green, blue, black, and white – which are pulled into place by electric fields and dithered to create the full image, the Spectra 6 truly looks like a printed poster: the viewing angle is as wide as can be imagined, and the reflective behaviour of the display could not be further from a screen as there is no light source within – it looks it’s best in bright sunlight!
What’s more, power is only required to change the display; an image on the screen will remain indefinitely when power is removed. In fact, when Eamon first saw the Spectra 6 with no cables attached, he was unsure whether it was just a poster in a frame, until he saw the image change, and that’s the idea.
Employing the same technology that is used in many electronic shelf labels and e-readers, Shaun’s 25.3-inch Spectra 6 example provides a perfect solution for digital signage in applications that require regularly updated images, such as in retail, transport, and cinemas, to name just a few examples.
Better yet, when compared to LCD or OLED screens used in a similar way, the Spectra 6 uses a vanishingly small amount of power, simply to change the ‘poster’ image once an hour, once a day, once a month, or however often you need to update it. Tell that to your bosses if there’s a green initiative where you work!
Which leads us to the elephant in the room. You will notice that the full-image refresh rate of the Spectra 6 is around 12 seconds, making it unsuitable for displaying video content. That said, this is much faster than competing full-colour e-paper displays, which can take over 30 seconds to refresh the full image. We can therefore see that the Spectra 6 is not going to compete with an LCD or OLED for video advertising, but if you’re thinking about that, you may have missed the energy-saving point entirely.
In any situation where you need to hold an image for a long time, just like a poster, E Ink’s Spectra 6 will either save you from wasting energy while burning an image into a screen until it’s unusable, or it’ll save you having to manually change posters or shelf labels printed on regular paper. While previous e-paper technologies may have looked like e-paper, we’re not sure the same can be said about this one, so learn more and apply to evaluate the technology by following the link to the board form below.