Electronic Paper Displays were developed by the
technology industry, but they are equally important to the fashion
industry. They are used by clothing retailers for display
purposes, but even more importantly they are being utilized by fashion
designers to create
wearable tech apparel
and fashion accessories.
Based on our understanding, Electronic Paper
and Electronic Ink are generic terms, and the term E
Ink appears to reference the E Ink
Electronic paper, e-paper and electronic ink
are display technologies that mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on
paper. E-paper (sometimes called radio paper or just electronic
paper) is a portable, reusable storage and display medium that looks
like paper but can be repeatedly written on and refreshed by electronic
E Ink (electrophoretic ink) is a
specific proprietary type of electronic paper manufactured by
E Ink Corporation, founded in 1997 based on research started at the
MIT Media Lab.
is the creator of electrophoretic, or, electronic ink — the
optical component of a film used in Electronic Paper Displays (EPD).
Although futuristic-sounding, electronic ink is actually a
straightforward fusion of chemistry, physics and electronics. It's so
much like paper, it utilizes the same pigments used in the printing
E Ink's technology is commonly referred to as "bistable".
Bistable means that the image on an E Ink
screen will be retained even when all power sources are removed. In
practice, this means that the display is consuming power only when
something is changing.
This means that designers can set a product to show
a particular design pattern that can be worn without requiring a
constant flow of power. The design can be changed when the wearer
has time to add a new charge if needed. Low power consumption
helps get designers around the primary problem of current generation
wearables which is sucky battery life. So expect a whole lot more of
this pattern-shifting stuff to start cropping up.
E Ink displays are also referred to as "reflective
displays." In an LCD, or "emissive display", light from a
backlight is projected through the display towards your eyes. In an E
Ink display, no backlight is used; rather, ambient light from the
environment is reflected from the surface of the display back to your
By using electronic shelf labels (ESL) with E Ink's
technology, retailers have the ability to change pricing strategies as
needed in real time, allowing them to stay one step ahead of competitors
while attracting consumers based on changing market conditions. Spectra
allows retailers to elevate the impact of their ESLs, by adding color to
logos and quickly directing consumers' attention to important
information, such as product sales and promotions. E Ink Spectra
is the first three pigment electronic ink offered in mass production.
EPDs using Spectra offer the same high-contrast, sunlight readable,
low-power performance attributes of our other display types - now with a
pop of color. The first generation of Spectra will feature black, white
and red pigments, and we expect to release additional colors in the
In January 2013, at the International CES, it was
announced that the fourth generation of E Ink devices features 768 by
1024 resolution on 6-inch displays, with 212 ppi (Pixel density). It
was named Carta and is used in the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2nd
generation (2013), in the Deutsche Telekom Tolino vision (2014), the
Kobo eReader Aura H2O (2014) and in the Amazon Kindle Voyage (2014).
Unlike conventional backlit flat panel displays
that emit light, electronic paper displays reflect light like paper.
This may make them more comfortable to read, and provide a wider viewing
angle than most light-emitting displays. The contrast ratio in
electronic displays available as of 2008 approaches newspaper, and newly
developed displays are slightly better. An ideal e-paper display can be
read in direct sunlight without the image appearing to fade.
Many electronic paper technologies hold static
text and images indefinitely without electricity. Flexible
electronic paper uses plastic substrates and plastic electronics for the
display backplane. There is ongoing competition among manufacturers to
provide full-color ability.
Applications of electronic visual displays include
electronic pricing labels in retail shops, and digital signage, time
tables at bus stations, electronic billboards, mobile phone displays,
and e-readers able to display digital versions of books and e-paper
magazines. Most importantly, they can be used for wearable
A few of the early display manufacturers include
the following companies:
This technology has been rapidly expanding into the
apparel industry and jewelry business. For an example of jewelry
you can view the
Tago Arc e Ink bracelet post on our fashion blog.
Wearable tech clothing is an exciting part of our
industries future. We at Apparel Search are looking forward to
seeing all sorts of clothing items using this technology. Our
guess is that we will be seeing a great deal of interesting new hats,
jackets, footwear, bags, etc., utilizing e-paper.
If you have additional information on this subject
that you wish to share with viewers, please let us know your thoughts so
we can possibly make updates to this page.
If you are interested in wearable technology, you
may also want to learn about
Near Field Communication (NFC).
By the way,
printing is something entirely
different than using E-Paper or E-Ink. You can learn more about
direct to garment printing here in the fashion terms section.
FYI: this also has nothing to do with
fashion which also starts with the letter "E".