E-paper display powered by NFC from smartphone (w/ Video)

Aug 21, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog

(Phys.org) —Researchers from Intel, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Washington have teamed up to build an e-paper display that can be powered by the Near Field Communication (NFC) signal from a smartphone. Called a wirelessly bistable display tag, the device works by harvesting more energy from the NFC transaction than it consumes in converting the data it receives into an image on the display. The resulting device has been dubbed the NFC-WISP E-Ink Display Tag.

The whole point of the new device is to address the continuing problem of limited battery life offered by smatphones. Instead of improving the battery in the or reducing its , the team on this new effort sought to maximize the power that is used. The result is an e-paper device that only needs power when updating its image, i.e. it's a zero static power device— that are normally displayed on a phone, such as a map, or contact information can be sent to the WISP device for viewing while the phone is switched off, prolonging its .

The WISP device measures 2.7 inches and has 0.5MB of embedded FRAM to hold the screen data it needs to display, and the researchers say, it can be scaled to accommodate larger screens if desired. To use the device, the smartphone software is initiated and it and the WISP device are placed together for a moment, just as with other NFC transfers. Soon, the image from the phone is displayed on the WISP Display Tag. At that point, the phone can be turned off—the image on the WISP can be displayed indefinitely without any additional power.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
This project is a collaboration between labs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Washington, and Intel Labs. See our publication in ACM Ubicomp 2013, titled "Wirelessly Powered Bistable Display Tags."

The quality of an e-ink display isn't up to that of smartphones of course, and the demo model of the WISP device only displays black and white, but that isn't the point of the device after all. Its sole purpose is to provide a means for displaying smartphone data while the phone is turned off. What's most important about the WISP device though might be what it portends—new phones with an e-paper screen built in, perhaps, or watches that can be updated simply by bumping them with a .

The research team will be presenting their device at next month's Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing.

Explore further: Technology turns eyewear into a smart device capable of displaying visual information

Related Stories

Students develop secure new procedure for online banking

Mar 06, 2013

Researchers and students from the University of Tübingen, working with GFT Technologies AG, have developed a new process to make online banking more secure. Their software is being presented this week at the CeBIT computer ...

Could HYCCUPS boost phone battery life?

Jul 23, 2013

A new system that goes by the name of "hybrid contextual cloud in ubiquitous platforms comprising of smart phones" or HYCCUPS for short, has been developed by Romanian computer scientists. The system discussed in a forthcoming ...

LG Electronics HMD patent sets sights on video viewing

Apr 26, 2013

(Phys.org) —Such a concept: outputting currently-displayed content of a user's digital device to an HMD. But there is an added nuance where the video follows you no matter where you look. LG Electronics ...

Recommended for you

Impoverished North Korea falls back on cyber weapons

8 hours ago

As one of the world's most impoverished powers, North Korea would struggle to match America's military or economic might, but appears to have settled on a relatively cheap method to torment its foe.

Five ways to make your email safer in case of a hack attack

8 hours ago

The Sony hack, the latest in a wave of company security breaches, exposed months of employee emails. Other hacks have given attackers access to sensitive information about a company and its customers, such as credit-card ...

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

9 hours ago

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

betterexists
not rated yet Aug 21, 2013
Obviously this will lead to migration from iPad to iPhone...once it becomes thinner....particularly flexible (of course, wider)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.