Swedish startup beats E Ink on low-power: Page 2 of 3

December 21, 2018 //By Julien Happich
Swedish startup beats E Ink on low-power
Two-year-old Swedish startup rdot, based in Gothenburg and effectively a spin-off from University, stacks electrochromic materials and organic conductors on top of a thin and flexible PET substrate to create ultra-low power segmented displays.

Now tackling NRE costs, the CEO noted that even with an active matrix, you still need to customize your displays. Often, the NRE costs for designing a custom solution with E Ink are way above those for customizing rdot's segmented displays, Karlsson said referring to customers who approached rdot to find alternative solutions for their wearables and accessory designs.

On power consumption, Karlsson doesn't want to generalize as every application has specific requirements and refresh rates that directly impact power consumption.

"We can tune the bi-stability time, so we can design a display that only requires to be refreshed every two hours, or more frequently, according to the application needs" explained the CEO. According to the company's own calculations and comparing its solution to different display technologies, if a display requires over 6 updates per day or more, then the electrochromic display is the most energy efficient.

"We gave a few samples to global display manufacturers so they could carry out their own tests and measurements, and they reported that starting with two updates per day, our solution was more energy efficient than E Ink. That is because each E Ink switch will require up to twenty  times more energy than our solution, depending on the E Ink used", said Karlsson.

A low power refresh scenario, with display updates every three hours.

When they start to fade-out, rdot's displays only need a very small 3V refresh pulse to remain active. According to the company's technical documentation, a 21 (3x7) segments display (capable of displaying three digits) with a total segment area of 2.1cm2 only draws 1.26mJ of energy to switch all its elements at a 3V driving voltage. With such low power capabilities, the startup expects its displays to open up new types of applications, including for disposable medical electronics, such as smart patches. But they could also reach into other kinds of disposable/consumable products that typically have not included electronics or displays before, such as packaging and labels.

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