[Oberon] e-ink and Oberon

Douglas G. Danforth danforth at greenwoodfarm.com
Thu May 8 19:35:24 CEST 2003


I have a dream and that dream is to have Oberon be the underlying OS for 
pen based displays yet to be produced by e-ink of Cambridge, MA.

Since I am a physicist by training I have at least 35 notebooks full of 
calculations.  I would like to replace those books by a single one 
capable of holding thousands of pages that can be clean, neat, 
searchable and capable of transmission to others and of high enough 
quality for submission for publication.

Needless to say the Oberon display and mouse functionality would be 
replaced with gester (and possibly voice) recognition.

Does anyone else share this dream?  Does anyone else share this dream 
strongly enough to kick around what it would take to form a company to 
sell such a device?

Take a look at the recent article below.


E Ink says it's close on e-book prototype

Cambridge firm creates paperlike way to display text

By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff, 5/8/2003

E Ink Corp., a Cambridge company developing ''electronic book'' displays 
it hopes to commercialize within a year, outlined details yesterday of a 
new approach to creating a super-thin, paperlike medium for displaying 
text and pictures.

In a paper published in the British science journal Nature, E Ink 
executives said they have successfully developed a prototype display 
just three-tenths of a millimeter thick, using stainless steel and a 
plastic covering, that can display words and pictures at up to 96 pixels 
per inch. Besides being lightweight, the display can be rolled into a 
half-inch-wide scroll without damage, E Ink said.

Born of Massachusetts Institute of Technology research in the 1990s, 
privately held E Ink has developed a so-called electronic ink, tiny 
particles with a white side and black side whose position is set by 
electric impulses sent through a conductive mesh. The ink and mesh would 
be used in devices that could store and present hundreds or thousands of 
pages and conceivably replace an unlimited number of physical books.

E Ink, which has raised $105 million in venture capital funding to date, 
is working with Royal Philips Electronics to produce a prototype e-book 
within the next year, said Dan Button, the company's vice president and 
general manager.

Button said the company is talking with several other manufacturers to 
make a commercial version of the paperlike display device within 24 to 
36 months. In theory, the technology could be used to create a device 
the size of a single newspaper or magazine sheet that contains and can 
display the entire contents of an issue, which could be loaded from an 
Internet-connected computer through short-range ''Bluetooth'' wireless 
data systems.

The E Ink display system uses as little as one-tenth to one-thousandth 
the electricity needed for the screen of a Palm Pilot-type handheld 
device or a laptop computer, allowing them to be powered by tiny 
penlight or watch batteries, Button said.

''This is a peek at the future,'' said Robert Wisnieff, senior manager 
of IBM Corp.'s Advanced Display Technology Laboratory in Yorktown 
Heights, N.Y.

While the commercial viability of the system remains to be seen, 
Wisnieff said cheap, flexible electronic screens could be used in future 
products such as credit cards that can display account balances and 
recent purchase details or e-mail screens sewed onto the sleeve of a jacket.

Peter Howe can be reached at howe at globe.com. Material from Globe wire 
services was used in this report.

This story ran on page E4 of the Boston Globe on 5/8/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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