This is very cool, Ann. I'm a bit surprised to see this coming out of Russia. I've been viewing Russia as a bit behind, but maybe not. It looks like we're not too far away from wearable screens that can change patterns and colors with a click.
E-ink technology is wonderful. The Kindle is light, has long battery life and can be read in bright sunlight. One limitation, though, is that E-Ink does not do motion. Is that the case with these devices? While they seem to have lots of great attributes, without motion display, they will not replace more conventional displays. They might be great for reading digitized books, but education technology is moving toward the use of video extensively.
I was pleasantly surprised to see it come out of Russia too. Since it's being used in schools, the cost must be low. Any info on that? Any companies or governments in other countries using this in the same way? Kids are great beta testers.
Actually, the company is based in Germany, although it has a center of some kind in Russia, presumably to support the Russian schools testing. Nadine, no financial data was available. To date, this is the only large contract I'm aware of that the company has revealed, at least for the color version.
You're right about kids being great beta testers, NadineJ, especially with tablets. I'm sure you're heard the stories of pre-verbal kids mastering tablet functions. I've seen that close up. It's quite amazing. This flexible screen seems perfect for kids.
Have you seen this technology anywhere else, Ann. I saw the large placemat-style screen Microsoft developed a few years back. That has some flexibility to it, but nothing like the screen you show in the article.
Flexible displays, at least the idea, have been around for ages, but they're usually smaller and not good enough for e-readers. For example, the Flexible Display Center's 7.4 in diagonal display http://flexdisplay.asu.edu/node/195 Samsung and Nokia say they are working on them: http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/30/samsung-to-offer-flexible-displays-in-2012-challenges-nokia-to/
If the idea has been around for ages, Ann, it could be there is not a great demand for the feature. I guess someone company will have to demonstrate the need. Tablets were around for ages before Apple showed they could be cool.
Rob, I think it's less a question of demand than of technology and manufacturing/materials issues. Getting multiple technologies to work together, finding/developing the right combinations of materials, and making this all manufacturable at high volumes is not easy. Tablets took a long time for similar reasons, not only because they didn't have Apple as a champion. So did fancy cell phone features. Miniaturizing cameras didn't happen overnight: that took lots of work on the image sensors and enough time for multiple semiconductor generations/shrinks to occur.
NIST's new five-year strategic plan for its Material Measurement Laboratory lists additive manufacturing materials development as one of the main areas it will support by developing measurements, data, techniques, and models.
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