Color-Changing E Ink Is Here, But Not In eBook Readers

This morning E Ink Holdings announced the availability of a new color-changing film known as Prism that's based on the company's electronic paper technology used in devices like Amazon's Kindle and the Pebble smartwatch. But the new material isn't destined to finally bring a dash of color to your electronic books. Instead, it's being positioned as a tool to let architects and interior designers dynamically change the color and mood of a space.


Like with E Ink's other products, Prism is low power, fully reflective so it has a paint-like appearance the company claims, and is fully programmable to create almost any design—and hopefully even images.

Illustration for article titled Color-Changing E Ink Is Here, But Not In eBook Readers

E Ink Holdings hasn't specified why the new Prism material isn't being used on mobile devices just yet, but it might have something to do with extra hardware needed to facilitate the color-changing trick that could make it difficult to integrate into smaller devices. But it sounds like a neat advancement of a technology that many thought would be killed off by tablets, but has managed to find endless ways to stay technologically relevant. [E Ink]

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This tech has driven me into a slight tangent.

The other night (as I stood in front of a microwave reading an e-book), I had a bit of an epiphany about depictions of "the future" - since visual effects designers have limited budgets and time, they tend to be a bit samey. The same visual flash available everywhere - the same advertising holograms, or the same glowing walls/roads, whatever.

Fifty years from now, my house could be packed with all manner of awesome gadgets (much like it is now compared to 50 years ago), and it would still probably look substantially the same inside. Perhaps wallpaper comes back into style, or furniture designs change, but it'll still be a house.

I think I can see this shifting e-ink technology being adopted in architecture and interior design... Just not everywhere. Maybe in the odd corporate lobby or shopping mall or transit station. But not every surface in those locations. And if this were depicted in cinema, it would be everywhere. If it just appeared in a single location, we'd be like, "Why'd they bother to throw that in?", not acknowledging that such novelties appear all the time in real life. I can't be the only one who's sick of Dale Chihuly glasswork sculptures, for instance.

Perhaps that's one reason why we're perpetually disappointed by (and slightly unaware of) the future's imminent arrival - it's here, but it's not everywhere at once.

I'm not high, I swear.