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New display innovation in watch technology

13 July 2005 News

Seiko Watch has developed a watch that incorporates an entirely new kind of display technology called 'electronic ink'. According to Seiko, this new watch opens up a whole new horizon of future design possibilities as the display technology is remarkably versatile; it offers ultra-high contrast, superb legibility, low power consumption, unrestricted size and even physical flexibility.

The watch incorporates a microcapsule-type electrophoresis display module - the result of a joint development effort by E Ink of the US and Seiko Epson's advanced display manufacturing and electronic circuitry techniques.

The display is made up of pure black and pure white particles, which allow the same contrast as on a printed page - twice the contrast of an LCD panel, according to the companies. The display is also ultra-thin, and it is flexible, making possible 'wrist bracelet' or bangle designs. As the display is readable under very low light conditions, no backlighting is required, and it requires no power to sustain the image.

'Electronic ink' technology

Electronic ink is a proprietary material that is processed into a film for integration into electronic displays. Although revolutionary in concept, electronic ink is a straightforward fusion of chemistry, physics and electronics to create this new material.

The principal components of electronic ink are millions of tiny microcapsules, about the diameter of a human hair. Each microcapsule contains positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles suspended in a clear fluid. When a negative electric field is applied, the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule where they become visible to the user. This makes the surface appear white at that spot. At the same time, an opposite electric field pulls the black particles to the bottom of the microcapsules where they are hidden. By reversing this process, the black particles appear at the top of the capsule, which now makes the surface appear dark at that spot.

The Future Now watch is expected to be commercialised in Japan by mid-2006.





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