Before describing UC's new "zero-power" design, it's helpful to understand the basic design of existing electronic devices.
Think of an e-reader as a bunch of micro-sized buckets (or pixels) of mixed black and white paint, where you can move the black and white pigments to the top or the bottom of the bucket. Just like mixing paint, the process is not fast. That's somewhat close to how today's e-readers work. The slow movement of these particles forms the text and grayscale images you see on an e-reader. These devices use practically no power unless you are switching the screen. It's actually making use of ambient light to make the particles visible. When the user turns the device on or off or switches a page, he's electronically "mixing the paint" (or pixels) to create the overall image or text page.
Faster, color-saturated, high-power devices like a computer's liquid-crystal display screen, an iPad or a cell phone require high power, in part, because they need a strong internal light source within the device (that "backlights" the screen) as well as color filters in order to display the particles as color/moving images. The need for an internal light source within the device also means visibility is poor in bright, natural light.
The new "zero-power" design combines the best features of both these kinds of devices. It requires low-power because it makes use of ambient light vs. a strong, internal light source within the device. As such and because of its low-power requirements, this new technology will make for more environmentally friendly electronic devices, stated Heikenfeld.
Yet, even though an electronic device with this eletrofluidic technology would lack a strong, internal light source, it would still display bright images at high speed. How?
Behind the display screen are two layers of liquid (oil and a pigment dispersion fluid like an inkjet fluid). Between the two layers are ref
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