There's a new display technology for e-book readers that could one day be adapted to displays of cell phones and even large gadgets like television sets.
The invention's advantages over liquid crystal display (LCD) screens and others currently used include extremely low power consumption, readability under direct sunlight, and bright colors. It's called the Mirasol or interferometric modulation (IMOD) display. It's a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) device from Qualcomm MEMS Technologies.
The Mirasol display technology is actually a state-of-the-art biomimetics system for displaying images and video. Being biomimetic, this technology is derived from nature, specifically the scales on butterfly wings which reflect light to produce iridescence. Each IMOD element of the display is made of two plates that manage reflected light by changing the gap between them, producing different colors. Each IMOD element serves as a microscopic pixel that changes color. COmbined with millions of pixels, an image is created.
Unlike LCD screens, which produce light from electricity, a Mirasol display produces images largely from the ambient light that it reflects back. The result is a display with a lightning-fast refresh rate, readability in both low-light and extreme light conditions, and thinner-than-LCD display casings.
The low energy requirements of Mirasol displays allow battery life expectancy measured in weeks, not hours or days. This long battery life increases options for features and allows for long video playback not possible with regular LCD screens. The developers say the technology is also scalable, which means it can be applied to larger devices in the future as the technology develops.
For now, Mirasol display technology is being used for e-readers. It is envisioned to be a substitute for paper and is expected to open new doors in the publishing industry, paving the way for compact, thin, and light e-readers with access to information that people can take practically anywhere.