Analysts such as IDTechEx and iSuppli now see flexible electrophoretic displays taking off far faster than flexible OLEDs because they do not have the technical problems of flexible OLEDs that limit life and because they do not need power until the image has to be changed. Imaginative new applications are helping this along. For example, SiPix Imaging, Inc., of Fremont California and Taiwan, an e-paper displays company, has announced the debut of samples of the world's first e-paper display integrated into a keypad for mobile applications. The Keypad Display Module (KDM) allows each button to dynamically change while maintaining the familiar feel of traditional keypads.
Co-developed with Silitech, a keypad manufacturer, the KDM involves overlaying SiPix's e-paper technology over a silicone keypad. The e-paper can be cut to shape for compatibility with multiple designs, and traditional backlight allows night time viewing. SiPix's KDM technology is available in various colors that can match the casing of mobile devices. The Microcup technology can hold dyes of various colors, creating a sleek and completely integrated look. With a 180º viewing angle and high contrast ratio, the KDM is a glimpse of future input devices, including physically interactive touch screens and flex sensors for e-paper applications.
"Now we can offer consumers the best of both worlds, a dynamic keyboard that can vary based on the application that preserves the haptic information provided by traditional keypads," said Jialock Wong, director of the Mobile Division Business Unit for SiPix. "This technology eliminates the ambiguity common with today's touch screens, while also creating new opportunities to integrate this technology into new applications."
Unlike LCDs, which are made with glass, SiPix Microcup electronic paper displays are extremely thin and flexible. As readable as laser print on paper, SiPix ePaper is crisp, vivid and visible in sunlight. The company's e-paper also prolongs battery life, drawing power only when switching due to its bistable image characteristics.
The SiPix Microcup partition walls provide fine resolution and mechanical support for impact resistance. Each Microcup is individually sealed, enabling the electrophoretic displays (EPD) to be custom cut to desired shapes and sizes.
Exhibit at the World's largest conference on Printed Electronics, Printed Electronics USA San Francisco 12-15 November.