Wristwatch sports electronic paper display

Jan 2, 2008

Hong Kong-based Art Technology Ltd. recently introduced a line of fashion wristwatches based on E Ink‘s electronic paper display (EPD) technology. The entire watch dial on the “Phosphor” watch consists of an E Ink Vizplex EPD.

The company claims the Phosphor wristwatch’s E Ink display “can be read accurately and instantly from any angle — vastly improving on dull [LCDs] that typify previous digital watches.” Additionally, the EPD-based watch dial is said to offer higher contrast under bright lighting conditions than emissive wristwatch displays.

The Phosphor watch’s display theme can be selected by the owner, with styles ranging from full numerals and indices to no markings all, as illustrated in the photo below.


Art Technology’s EPD-based Phosphor watch has a customizable dial

About the E Ink display

E Ink Corp., the supplier of the Phosphor watch’s display component, lists the following key features of its EPD technology:

  • Ultra high contrast — The display is made up of pure black and pure white particles, which allow the same contrast as found on a printed page; more than twice the contrast, of a conventional LCD panel. It can be easily read in either bright sunlight or in dimly lit environments.
  • Low power consumption — Since the display is readable under very low light conditions, no backlighting is required. The display also has an inherently stable ‘memory effect’ that requires no power to maintain an image. For these reasons, battery life can be extended.
  • Wide viewing angle — With a viewing cone of 180 degrees, the electrophoretic technology overcomes the disadvantages of conventional displays when it comes to off-axis viewing. Together with its high contrast, it allows the user to read the time at a glance from any angle.

According to E Ink Corp…

“The principal components of electronic ink are millions of tiny microcapsules, about the diameter of a human hair. In one incarnation, each microcapsule contains positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles suspended in a clear fluid. When a negative electric field is applied, the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule where they become visible to the user. This makes the surface appear white at that spot. At the same time, an opposite electric field pulls the black particles to the bottom of the microcapsules where they are hidden. By reversing this process, the black particles appear at the top of the capsule, which now makes the surface appear dark at that spot.”


(Source: E Ink Corp.)

“To form an E Ink electronic display, the ink is printed onto a sheet of plastic film that is laminated to a layer of circuitry. The circuitry forms a pattern of pixels that can then be controlled by a display driver. These microcapsules are suspended in a liquid ‘carrier medium’ allowing them to be printed using existing screen printing processes onto virtually any surface, including glass, plastic, fabric and even paper. Ultimately electronic ink will permit most any surface to become a display, bringing information out of the confines of traditional devices and into the world around us.”

Availability

Art Technology’s Phosphor EPD-based watch is currently being marketed to “watch enthusiasts” for $250. It’s available from the company’s online store.

E Ink offers an EPD development kit for companies developing EPD-based products. The kit is based on a Gumstix single-board computer, which integrates a 400 MHz PXA255 processor, Bluetooth, USB, serial port, MMC card reader, and onboard Linux OS. Also included in the EPD development kit are open-source software display drivers and sample applications. The kit sells for $3,000 or $4,000, depending on E Ink display size.



One response to “Wristwatch sports electronic paper display”

  1. winter says:

    great watch