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E Ink's three-pigment Spectra displays update pricing in real time, are destined for supermarket shelves (hands-on)

Sarah Silbert
05.22.13
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In addition to demoing its Digital Paper collaboration with Sony here at SID, E Ink is showing off some new tech that's consumer-oriented in a very different way. Its solution for ESLs -- electronic shelf labels, obviously -- enables real-time pricing readouts for retailers such as supermarkets. E Ink's Spectra electronic paper display (EPD) is purportedly the world's first to offer three pigments: black, white and, for the demo's purposes, red. That third color can be swapped out for blue or green, but the point is to make the price placards readable -- both for customers and the businesses themselves. While these panels aren't widely adopted stateside, similar tech already has a firm footing in Europe. It's certainly more efficient to update the same screens with new info rather than swapping in new paper signs every time the price of milk fluctuates -- and it looks a lot cooler, too. Spectra will become available sometime in Q3 of this year.

E Ink's new Aurora EPD is a little less exciting for the average consumer, but the company says this tech is another first. Able to withstand super-low temperatures (as cold as -25 C), these screens will be incorporated into wireless shelf tags displaying MSRPs in freezers and especially frigid climates. According to E Ink, Aurora's low-temp film allows pigment to move even in cold environments, something we couldn't exactly put to the test on the SID show floor. Still, the company seems confident in its product; it will be shipping its displays to partners starting in July.

Gallery: ​E Ink Spectra three-color retail display eyes-on | 6 Photos

Zach Honig contributed to this report.

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