February 26, 2009

Flexible E-Ink from FDC with pen input

I4U News blog (via Engadget) brings us a post of a prototype display from Arizona State University (ASU, where they have the Flexible Display Center).

It includes  a video of a prototype E-Ink display on a flexible substrate with stylus input.

The title states "touchscreen" and the text 
"The flexible touchscreen display supports user input either by stylus pen or by touch. "
but it appears in the video to only work with a digitizing stylus, as it doesn't seem to react when touched with the hand to demonstrate it's flexibility, but that could be a software feature of the demo.

This is no doubt part of the on-going broad industry collaboration lead by the Flexible Display Center with the US Army to develop wearable displays.

It's not clear from the video or the text, but I suspect that the stylus-sensing electronics are in the rigid part on the circuit board below the display and is NOT in the felxible display itself. 

This would not a big detractor for a product where flexibility/plastic substrates are used to gain lightness and robustness to knocks (compared to glass for example) and put into a rigid product design (such as an eBook reader). 

Curved, flexible stylus sensing would be needed if they wanted to put it on the arm of a soldier, in the sleeve of his jacket.... so we'll keep our eyes open for more information regarding the sensing technology used and it's lightness and flexibility.