Meet Sony's Future Reader Displays, Made From Flexible E-Paper

Illustration for article titled Meet Sonys Future Reader Displays, Made From Flexible E-Paper

A few months back Sony demonstrated their ultra-thin flexible OLED panel, which was thinner than a human hair, and could be wrapped around a pencil. While not as visually impressive, their flexible e-paper at least has a chance of launching.

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Saying that, I can think of a dozen of uses for the 80μm-thick OLED. Imagine it as a watch, circling around your wrist—displaying crazy graphics like a vamped-up Tokyo Flash.

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With their e-paper, it's really only intended for use as a newspaper or book substitute, as demonstrated previously by LG. Whether their next Readers use the flexi-paper or if we could see a 19-inch version of broadsheets in the near future, time will tell, but it's pretty obvious this plastic substrate will be used quite a bit in the coming years. [Sony Insider via SlashGear]

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DISCUSSION

joe-stoner-old
Joe Stoner

I'm sure this will be common at some point in the future, but first we're going to need some smart people to come up with great uses for it. Right now, everyone's thinking how it will be a better ____ than ____, but that isn't how great stuff happens. It won't be a drop-in replacement for a newspaper. It won't be a super thin television or computer screen. It won't be a new web browser or ebook reader.

We need to think about what we can do with a thin, flexible sheet that can display a page of information with a moderate ability to update itself - not 30 times per second, but every few seconds, perhaps. And we have to imagine it being ubiquitous - not a $400 device to be treated delicately and securely, but a $1 item that everyone could have. What will we be able to do differently if any surface can display any information any second?

I want all my mail to be readable on this - not necessarily email, I mean my bills, my community newsletter, my bank statement.

I want it on the dashboard of my car - speedometer, gps, maintenance schedule, appointments, the song that is playing (and playing next), and caller id.

When I go to a restaurant, I want my menu to be this. Today's specials, market prices, items removed if they run out. My group can all make our orders on it (and the total will be updated) and when the bill comes, it will be the same sheet.

If I'm in a meeting, I want the presentation (and/or the presentation notes) on this thing.

There are so many possibilities for the tech (and most are probably better than these examples I came up with). Now is the time to start thinking of ideas, before somebody else does.