E Ink is in the midst of developing next generation e-paper products that do not need a battery. The company has just partnered with Fujitsu to design a reference design board for battery-less products such as badges, price tags, luggage tags and eventually e-readers. The byproduct of this new partnership will likely bear fruit sometime in late 2019 or 2020.
Fujitsu is not starting from scratch when developing this new board, they do have a reference design called FRAM and they appear to be using UHF FRAM RFID LSI. Fujitsu has also been in the e-reader business a very long time, so this is nothing new do them. They developed prototype color epaper back in 2010 and they have been providing with connectors on the boards for popular e-readers for years.
“E Ink is continuously working to improve and develop new power saving ePaper solutions,” said Johnson Lee, President of E Ink Holdings Inc. “Combining two major trends in the electronics industry, battery-less and energy harvesting, this unique logistics ePaper tag will be a game changer in the logistics management industry. Japanese convenience store chains have already noticed the environmentally friendly value the ePaper tag brings, and are expected to deploy ePaper logistics tag solutions to replace paper tags in Japan.”
“The technology collaboration by E Ink and Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited resulting in a battery-less ePaper solution,” said Masato Matsumiya, VP Head of System Memory Company of Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited. “The reference design board enables maintenance free performance and the inclusion of FRAM allows for low power consumption, fast writing speeds and a non-volatile system. This enables the tag to be updated at any time without data storage restrictions. This technology will generate innovative applications in new markets.”
“The combination of E Ink technology and the UHF band, widely used in the logistics industry, is a world’s first and has promising potential,” said Shinji Ooi, General Manager of Business Development Center of Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. “We are working towards early commercialization of this combination.” Toppan is developing and will produce battery-less tags initially for Japanese convenience store chains and then for the general logistics and manufacturing sectors.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.