Good e-Reader was recently at the launch of the world’s first Advanced Color E-Paper Display at the Shinjuku mall in Tokyo. This demo from put on display by TOPPAN Printing and Isetan Mitsukoshi and features a 13.3 inch display with a resolution of 1600 x 2500 pixels and 150 PPI. Over 32,000 different colors are capable of being rendered.
How exactly does ACEP work? It achieves a full color gamut, including all eight primary colors, using a proprietary four pigment microencapsulated electronic ink containing cyan, magenta, yellow, and white. Rich color is achieved by having all the colored pigments in every pixel as opposed to the side-by-side pixel colors achieved with a color filter array.
This is not the first time that E Ink has developed color e-paper. Their first generation product was called Triton 1 and it had a grid of 2×2 pixels, red, green, blue, and white and used a square color filter array. A few years later they developed Triton 2, which had the same color display, but instead of using square pixels it is using rectangular. This tech was only capable of displaying 4,096 color degrees with 16 levels of each.
In developing ACeP, E Ink researchers solved the very complex problem of how to get reflective color at every pixel in a commercially viable structure. Other approaches have utilized stacked backplane structures that are complex, difficult to manufacture and costly. The E Ink approach utilizes only a single backplane. Many materials and waveform inventions were required to independently control the position of the multiple color pigments.
Advanced Color E-paper is primarily geared towards digital signage. E Ink currently has a 13.3 inch display and a new 26 inch variant. E Ink is hoping that all of their vendors will start marketing full color signs and resell them to airports, cafes, restaurants, tech stores and for tourism. E Ink has told me that they will eventually port ACep to e-readers sometime in the next few years, but they need to developer an entirely new waveform controller, since Regal is not compatible.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.