A new e-ink display needs no batteries, can be powered by a phone’s NFC chip

A new e-ink display needs no batteries, can be powered by a phone’s NFC chip
Electronic ink (e-ink) displays rule the digital reading devices segment - they are easy on the eyes and don’t require much power, allowing a Kindle, for example, to last weeks on one charge. Apart from e-book readers though, the technology hasn’t spread to other gadgets much. A few smartphone manufacturers made attempts to integrate e-ink displays in their devices, bringing phones like the Motorola F3 and the Yota Phone to the market, but they failed to gain much popularity.

Now the Shenzhen-based company Waveshare used the specific characteristics of the technology to develop a new way to interact with and power e-ink screens, SlashGear reports. Waveshare created a whole slew of battery-free displays, getting power through the NFC wireless interface instead. Typically, NFC (Near-Field Communication) is used for transferring data between devices at short distances - for making payments with your smartphone on a POS terminal or signing digital documents. This type of connectivity can transfer small amounts of power too, and it appears to be enough to change the image on an e-ink display.


The Chinese company is already selling 2.13-, 2.9-, 4.2-, and 7.5-inch models, along with the necessary equipment for OEMs to make it work. The technology can lead to e-ink signposts, supermarket labels, medical records, and office boards, which won’t require power to operate and can be updated from any NFC-capable device. Putting such a display in a smartphone case or a back cover will give you an integrated e-book reader, getting power from the phone’s NFC antenna, so there’s also that.

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