Scientists work on next generation of e-paper

It has dismissed as a pipe dream by traditionalists, but it seems that newspapers and magazines printed on e-paper is a few steps closer after scientists at Cambridge kicked of a three-year, £12m scheme to develop it. (Read the press release)

As The Guardian reports, Liquavista, which formed out of work at the Phillips Research Labs, is working on using it’s display technology to create electronic newspapers – making them full-colour, interactive and closer in appearance to an A4 piece of paper than the “e-book” readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s e-reader.

Both those readers allow consumers to download selected papers – but Liquavista plans to, for the first time, offer video and audio too.

The Guardian’s Richard Wray puts it well:

Newspaper editors, grappling with declining circulation and the migration of advertising spending to the internet, have been hoping for years that e-paper will move beyond the drawing board into reality.

The dream is of a device allowing readers to upload a newspaper in the morning, then update editorial content as the day goes on, perhaps using a mobile phone or wireless connection.

One problem with this theory, as anyone with a 3G remote access key for their laptop will tell you, is that the current wireless internet network is not all that great and certainly not good for downloading files as massive as daily newspapers. Just think of the time and cost of downloading all those hi-res imagines – and videos – clogging up the airwaves.

Perhaps within three years someone will have thought of a solution to that problem too.

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