University of Cincinnati: Disposable e-Readers may soon be a reality

Electrowetting Device ResearchSaving the environment seems to be top-priority these days. As an increasing number of individuals making use of an e-reader with their morning cup of coffee, it seems like many are indeed doing their part to preserve nature. In an effort to do the same while not comprising on quality, electric engineering researcher Andrew Steckl at University of Cincinnati has reportedly made a revolutionary discovery that could give rise to disposable e-Readers in the future.

Professor Steckl has done considerable research pertaining to high-performance paper-based display technology which is also well within the affordable margin. Along with UC doctoral student Duk Young Kim, he showed that paper could be employed as a host material for an electrowetting product. This however seems to be quite a distant revelation as the current iPad and Kindle use complex circuitry printed across a rigid glass substrate. But what sets this research apart is that the effect of electrowetting device on paper is on par with the performance achieved by glass.

“It is pretty exciting,” exclaimed Steckl. “With the right paper, the right process and the right device fabrication technique, you can get results that are as good as you would get on glass, and our results are good enough for a video-style e-reader.”

He further added, “Nothing looks better than paper for reading. We hope to have something that would actually look like paper but behave like a computer monitor in terms of its ability to store information. We would have something that is very cheap, very fast, full-color and at the end of the day or the end of the week, you could pitch it into the trash.”

Steckl puts forth his future image where a particular device can have the same properties of paper such as its feel and the ability of being foldable but still proffer reading content in bright-light conditions. Once its purpose is served, the device can be safely disposed of. Steckl further goes on to say that this is an elegant method for lowering both the cost as well as device complexity.

The professor’s goal is to now gain the interest of commercial individuals in order to get to the next-stage development that is slated to take anywhere between three to five years until it actually materializes and hits the market.