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Plastic Logic, Epson push electrophoretic displays towards new applications

November 16, 2012 // Christoph Hammerschmidt

Plastic Logic, Epson push electrophoretic displays towards new applications

With their high contrast and paper-like impression, electrophoretic displays are widespread in many e-book readers. OTFT display manufacturer Plastic Logic has equipped a display module with a display driver chip integrated on a flexible carrier - a major step to open the door to new application worlds such as medical, automotive and industrial environments.


 

The driver unit, comprising the display driver chip and the flexible carrier, has been provided by Plastic Logic's cooperation partner Epson. The chip per se is a rather unspectacular display driver, but according to Plastic Logic the module implementation enables the company to place it on flexible display carriers. The cooperation between the two companies will lead to performance improvements for small displays with a size of up to 5 inches - a size mostly used in industrial and consumer applications. For this reason, it enables Plastic Logic to address these markets in addition to the e-book reader market. The company sees chances to position these displays in medical applications such as wristband displays or curved dashboard displays in cars. Another application example would be smart cards.


 

Plastic Logic has developed flexible displays based on a proprietary technology to create organic thin film transistors (OTFTs). By using plastic substrates instead of glass, the company hopes to be able to create flexible electrophoretic monochrome and colour displays. Besides being flexible such displays could be extremely light while rugged. They can be manufactured at a thickness of significantly below 400 microns and feature a bending radius of just 15 mm. At the same time, they feature very low power consumption, promises Plastic Logic.

Epson's S1D13541 controller / driver chip is designed for electrophoretic displays (EPSs) and integrates all essential functions on a single chip. Among other features, it contains four parallel display pipelines for images with up to 16 grey levels. In addition, it contains 480 TFT source driver outputs as well as an integrated memory to support displays with a resolution of up to 480 x 854 pixels. In addition, the chip accommodates a wave forms memory as well as a DC/DC booster that generates all voltages necessary to run the displays.

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