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PARIS: Fancy reading the latest news on your coat sleeve?
The idea has taken a step closer to reality, say scientists in the United States, who have developed an ultra-thin, flexible electronic display that they believe will be the forerunner of the much-vaunted e-newspaper.
The black and white display is less than 0.3 millimetres (0.012 inches) thick, is viewable from almost any angle and can be bent to a wide angle. It can even survive after being rolled into a cylinder just four millimetres (0.16 inches) wide although — unlike paper — it cannot be folded.
Its inventors are a team led by Yu Chen of E Ink Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is described in Thursday’s issue of Nature, the weekly British science journal. The device works thanks to a conductive layer carrying millions of tiny capsules of black or white pigment. Underneath is a thin film of transistors, which supply either a negative or positive voltage to the capsules. A negative voltage causes white particles to move to the surface, while a positive one brings the black ones up, thus creating a “print” effect. The display can be refresh in 0.25th of a second. That is way too slow for a video display, which requires an update time of just 0.015 of a second, but it is fine for reading, they say. The display could be used in “wearable computer screens, electronic newspapers and smart identity cards”, Chen believes.