e-Paper Displays

22. January 2019 | Planegg

Increasing display performance, whilst reducing power consumption


One of the key challenges for engineers designing handheld and other battery-powered electronic devices is minimizing the power consumption, so that the usage of the product meets or exceeds the customer’s expectation. This is an especially difficult challenge for Smart IoT technologies (metering, heating, monitoring etc.), where devices are often powered by batteries, yet have an expected lifetime of a number of years. The additional functionality created by IoT connectivity demands a user interface and a display that shows more information than the simple passive LCDs typically used today. However, adding a higher resolution graphic LCD would consume more power, significantly reducing the lifetime of the product. It’s a critical challenge for designers, because whilst consumers have accepted the need to charge their mobile phones on a daily basis, more regular charging cycles for hidden IoT devices are not acceptable.

One display technology offers huge potential to solve the challenge of increasing display resolution, whilst keeping the lowest possible power consumption: ePaper. Best known from eBook readers like the Amazon Kindle, this display technology benefits from extremely high black and white contrast, delivering a crystal-clear image, even under bright sunlight conditions. However, the killer feature of ePaper displays is the extremely low power consumption. As a bi-stable technology, ePaper displays only require power to change the image. During idle periods the electronic circuits on the display only have a tiny power consumption measured in nanoamperes. Despite their low power consumption, ePaper is an active matrix display technology, which enables high resolutions similar to TFT LCD. ePaper is the perfect solution to the challenge of delivering a higher-resolution display at the same time as reducing the power consumption of the display.

Atlantik Elektronik has partnered with Holitech, the leading manufacturer of ePaper modules, to offer a wide range of standard products between 1.5” and 7.75”. Color options are also available, where red, green or yellow is displayed in addition to black and white.