When paper isn't
"Electronic paper has been in the lab for a long time, and will probably be nothing but a stunt for a long time to come," says Andrew Frank, an analyst with technology research company Gartner. Esquire found a way to use it on the cover of its October issue, a first, says Sriram Peruvemba, vice president of marketing at E Ink Corporation, the company behind Esquire's cover. Peruvemba predicts e-paper will eventually be adopted by all newspapers and magazines, and will really get popular when people realize how convenient it is.
We're getting closer to the holy grail of electronic paper. Polymer Vision's Readius takes the first stab at turning a rigid display to a rollable one, while combining the best of what the Kindle and the iPhone offer. In a way, this pocket-size electronic device recalls humans' earliest communication technology, way before the printing press.
"I think Moses got it right with the scroll," says Nick Sheridon, inventor of the idea of electronic paper. Thirty years after he invented the Gyricon technology, a display device that served as an early model for e-paper, Sheridon is now working to create high-quality color displays worthy of National Geographic. When the price of reading devices comes down to $100, there will be a revolution in media - in the way we read books, newspapers and e-mail, says Sheridon.
With funding from the U.S. Army, Greg Raupp, director of the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University, is working on making what's available on glass liquid displays (currently used in cell phones and flatscreen TVS) run on displays made of plastic or thin metal foil. Both soldiers and consumers are interested in information on the fly.
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