I’d be willing to bet that when you think of E Ink, you’re picturing an Amazon Kindle. But E Ink has come a long, long way in the past few years. Outside of e-readers, there are E Ink tablets, laptops, desktop monitors, signs, dresses, color-changing cars, smartwatches, and a whole gaggle of devices that utilize the tech. You might say that there’s been a bit of an electronic paper renaissance.
Why now? Well, E Ink — the company behind the tech — and companies that build its electronic paper into consumer devices, like Onyx and Dasung, have made big strides in challenges like contrast, refresh rates, and color. The price to enter the market has also dropped. The tech itself also has some specific benefits over traditional LCD and OLED displays. For starters, it’s incredibly power-efficient. It reflects ambient light instead of pushing light into your eyes like the screens you’re used to. That means it’s viewable from multiple angles and in direct sunlight, and overall, it’s better for your eyes.
Those advantages are reasons why you’re starting to see E Ink show up in some unexpected places, like on a robot dog and in the price tags at your grocery store. But is this progress enough to hurtle E Ink into the mainstream? We had a chat with the folks at E Ink to take a look at how the tech works, where it originated, where it’s at, and where it’s headed.