Is plastic the new digital paper?

Cambridge, UK-based company Plastic Logic has created thin and flexible sheets of plastic that can display video or images, in black and white or color, and will be going into production next year.

Each of the thin sheets is everyday plastic that’s printed with half-a-million transistors.

The sheets are combined with a layer of e-ink to become a flexible display, capable of showing video.

To make the ‘e-paper’, a sheet of glass applied with sticky-back plastic, and stuck with a sheet of metalized plastic substrates on top.

The metal is scraped a few times with a pattern, adding semi-conductor materials, then etched—and this process is repeated.

The material is then drilled with holes to make intricate patterns on the plastic.

After an e-ink display is finally stuck on, the glass is removed, and connections are added.

With the e-paper, users can display pictures or documents, by sending them over WiFi from their phones—making it an accessory that’s durable and flexible for mobile devices.

“We need flexibility so that the consumer can carry e-paper around in a very easy and straightforward way,” Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic, told BBC. “That e-paper needs to be durable, needs to be rugged, very lightweight, and needs to be low-power.”

“This is an excellent accessory for smartphones where you can then expand the content that you otherwise would be limited to read on a smartphone screen, onto a larger screen,” he added.

Despite its thin and flexible attributes, the e-paper will still be able to generate video, have enough power and receive wireless signals.

How is this possible? Plastic Logic is working with more companies to ensure that all non-flexible electrical components will be made onto “one edge of the display, and have the edge as a kind handle if you wish”, Mukerjee said. “Where you then have a display as an accessory, companion product, with a small handle, which includes the electronics for connectivity and other functions which you carry them.”

Could this spell the end of glossy magazines?

Via Design Taxi

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