Electro-wetting display technology approaches market, enables digital billboards

May 07, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
A revolutionary display technology can, say its originators, lift the ban that some authorities have placed on roadside digital billboards.

Miortech, a Dutch company originating from the Philips cradle, introduces colour displays that reflect sunlight, just like paper, with environmental benefits such as low power consumption and reduced light pollution overcoming the disadvantages of LED billboards.

Miortech has established Etulipa as a subsidiary to bring its electrowetting display technology (EWD) into the digital signage space. CEO Hans Feil states: “We can now demonstrate full colour reflective displays with the same approach as in digital printing: the so-called CMY-technology [the secondary colours; cyan, magenta, yellow]. The positive feedback on our demonstrations, which performed under different light conditions including bright sunlight, pointed us into the direction of digital billboard applications. We found that advertisers and billboard owners are extremely keen to enable more digital boards. This technology allows for instantaneous creative updates and the ability to respond in real-time to current events and market conditions”. The next step is to build a demo-digital billboard to prove our claims to advertisers and billboard owners. A youtube movie of the full colour demo can be found on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKIfnts9hFA

The company adds that today's LED digital billboards emit intense light to overcome daylight, resulting in light pollution. Furthermore, researchers warn that this unnatural light may compromise safety on the road due to driver distraction. Third, LED screens are far from environmentally friendly as high energy consumption devices. For instance an LED based digital billboard typically consumes more energy than thirty average households. Consequently, cities such as Houston, Texas have capped or totally banned digital billboards.

The images show the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow electronic ink droplets in a Miortech display. Since its inception in 2006, Miortech has developed applications for Electrowetting Display technology with the initial focus on auto-dimming rearview mirrors. Miortech is situated in the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.