Epson and E Ink Electronic Paper Display Controller IC

On April 15, 2008, Epson Electronics America, a US subsidiary of Seiko Epson, and E Ink announced a jointly developed display controller IC for electronic paper displays (EPD). The new display controller IC will enable new exciting capabilities for E Ink’s Vizplex-enabled EPDs.

The new EPD controller IC has part number S1D13521B and has technologies from both Epson and E Ink. It will be offered in production quantities by Epson and as part of E Ink’s upcoming AM300 Broadsheet prototype kit.

Some of the enhanced functionalities include:

  • Improved UI speeds through seamless navigation
  • Drop down and pop-up menus
  • Responsive cursors
  • Real-time keyboard entry
  • Parallel processing: up to 16 tasks
  • Pen input capability for annotations and sketches

Samples of the Epson S1D13521B will be available in May 2008. Production quantities will be available in August 2008. Sample price is $18.

The Broadsheet AM300 prototype kit being offered by E Ink is the fastest way to start working with E Ink technology using the Epson EPD controller. The Broadsheet kit will enable engineers to rapidly prototype and develop next generation ePaper products. Compatible with 5″, 6″, 8″, and 9.7″ active matrix displays, the kit allows users to quickly create functional, low-profile product mock-ups using the kit’s modular design. The AM300 will be shipping in June and is available online at for pre-order.

I think the EPD market will become very interesting very soon. The impact of the printed paper on the environment is not precisely known, but everyone concerned about the environment knows that we must do something about curtailing the manufacture and consumption of printed paper. The devastation wrought on forests, the machines that pollute, the harmful chemicals, the trash that is generated, etc. is “all good for nobody.” With environmental effects becoming more pronounced, the push for alternative ways to distribute information will become stronger and at the forefront are EPDs and your regular notebook PCs, UMPCs and mobile phones. Of course, these are not the final solutions either since one billion mobile phones that are being shipped each year generates a tremendous amount of electronic waste as well.

As an example, I am deciding whether I should purchase a new notebook PC. My 3-year old Dell is getting long in the tooth and the Vista OS is not helping as it is making it slower. Although notebook PCs are generally difficult to upgrade, I was able to upgrade the HD to a faster 7200RPM model and that has improved the performance somewhat. I have also deleted off most unnecessary software from my machine and that has helped a little too. If there was an easy way to upgrade the CPU, that would help elongate the life of my Dell. And that would mean that my Dell would be in service for another couple of years. Upgradeable architectures could be one of the main ways that we curtail the accelerating growth of electronic waste. I would like to see easily upgradeable mobile phones, notebook PCs, UMPCs, and other electronic devices.

Source: E Ink

[tags]E Ink, E-paper, Electronic Paper Display, ePaper, EPD, Epson, Seiko Epson[/tags]

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