Electronic Ink and Paper

  Cambridge, Mass.-based E Ink Corp.is a leader in the development of electronic ink and “paper”that could replace newspapers and books as we know them today.

  The use of electronic ink and two-way wireless communication could lead to the creation of electronic books that will renew themselves with new selections when readers are finished with the current book——or newspapers that update themselves with the latest news while being read.

  Electronic ink, as devised by E Ink, is a clear, liquid plastic in which there are microcapsules that contain white chips in a blue dye.The microcapsules are suspended in a substance similar to vegetable cooking oil.The white chips are negatively charged so they react to electrical stimulus.

  This ink can be spread on any surface——from walls to computer screens——says Russell Wilcox, vice president and general manager at E Ink.However, the writing surface would look similar to a very thin laptop display screen with a clear surface on the front and circuitry on the back.

  A positive charge applied on the top surface of the ink will allow the white to show, making the surface as white as a sheet of paper.If the charge moves to the bottom, the dark particles will show, giving the appearance of blue ink.Electronic ink uses less power than a PalmPilot, and the message remains displayed even after the power is turned off.

  The ultimate goal is for the electronic pages to look and feel like paper.However, for the foreseeable future, these new books are likely to be bulkier than paperback books.

  Electronic ink will have interactive qualities, although E Ink isn't sure people will be able to write with it for a while——they will mainly receive messages.Xerox Corp.is also working on a technology that could replace paper as portable, renewable reading matter.

 

  The Xerox technology is called Gyricon.It's composed of a silicon rubber compound with the thickness and flexilility of poster board.The Gyricon sheets have thousands of plastic balls suspended in oil.Each ball is black on one side and white on the other and together they act as pixels to display images.Images can be updated much the same way as with a monitor.The beads are embedded in a large sheet, with each microcapsule suspended in oil to allow the beads to rotate in their orbits, says Robert Sprague, manager of the document hardware lab and electronic paper projects at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center.The paper could be powered by a matrix of transistors, such as those in laptop computer screens.Gyricon uses reflective light, like real paper, so it would use less electricity.

  A Gyricon book will eventually be connected with a wireless device that will enable a reader to download content from the Internet.

  Xerox will also make the Gyricon interactive, so a user could write on it and reuse it.

  (美国) 麻省坎布里奇市的E Ink公司是开发电子墨水和“纸”的先导,这种墨水和纸将替代今天我们所知道的报纸与书籍。

  利用电子墨水和双向无线通信有可能导致产生电子书籍 (当读者看完当前的书本时,可以选择新书刷新) 或者产生能边读边用最新消息自我更新的报纸。

  由E Ink公司发明的电子墨水是一种透明的液体塑料,里面有微型封装块,封装块内含有在蓝色染料中的白色小片。微型封装块悬浮在像食用油那样 的物质中。白色小片带负电荷,因而它们能对电刺激作出反应。

  据E Ink公司的副总裁兼总经理Russell Wilcox称,这种墨水可以涂在任何表面,从墙到计算机屏幕。然而,书写面看上去很像极薄的便携机显示屏, 在正面有一透明的表面,在背面有线路。

 

  加上墨水表面上方的正电荷将使白色显现出来,使表面像一张纸那样白。如果正电荷加到下方,黑粒子将显现出来,给出蓝墨水的痕迹。

  电子墨水耗电比PalmPilot掌上型电脑还要少,甚至在断电之后信息仍能显示出来。

  这种电子页面的最终目标是看上去和感觉上都像纸。但在可预见到的未来,这些新型书很可能比真正纸的书体积更大。

  电子墨水具有交互的品性,虽然E Ink公司吃不准人们是否会用它写字—它们主要用来接收信息。

  施乐公司也在对一种能替代纸的技术——便携式、可刷新的读物,进行研究。

  施乐的这项技术叫Gyricon。它由硅胶化合物组成,具有像广告宣传牌那样的厚度和柔软性。Gyricon片有成千上万个悬浮在油中的塑料球。每个球一面是黑的,另一面是白的,两者共同起到显示图形的像素的作用。图形能以监示器那样的 同样方法进行更新。

  施乐的Palo Alto研究中心文档硬件实验室和电子纸项目经理Robert Sprague称,小球被嵌在很大的片子中,每个微型封装块悬浮在油中,允许小球在自己的轨道中旋转。这种纸能由晶体管阵列供电,如便携机屏幕那样。 Gyricon像真正的 纸那样利用反射光,因而它用较少的电。

  Gyricon书最终将与无线设备相连,能使读者从因特网上下载内容。

  施乐也将使Gyricon具有交互功能,因而用户能在它上面写字和反复使用。