This BBC Video was what got me to Liquivista’s site. Liquivista was spun from Phillips Labs. The displays use electrowetting, which uses a voltage to change the surface tension of a liquid. The liquid covers a reflective cell. When the surface tension changes, the liquid’s shape changes, effectively revealing the reflective cell (the white paper does a much better explanation).

With the limitations in both reflectivity and power consumption of LCDs, the race is on for an alternative or improvement. I’ve also dreamed of a flexible, dynamic display since reading Neil Stephenson’s Diamond Age, much of which is about a book that essentially creates it’s content on the fly.

So, here’s a white paper by Liquivista promoting their technology and it looks promising. The paper claims high reflectivity (60, compared to paper’s 70 and reflective LCD’s 50), video capable update rate (~9ms) and power consumption of 28mW/in^2 as opposed to 80mW/in^2 in LCD. The segmented displays (section 5.1 of the paper) also look great with retro-feel 7 segment numbers.

The BBC Video complains of artifacts on the screen when displaying video (doesn’t elaborate on “artifacts”). I didn’t find much criticisms or highlight of the technology’s shortcomings, but I didn’t research extensively.

Looking on IEEE Spectrum, I found this article by Jason Hakenfield, who’s worked on the same electrowetting technology. It’s a good overview of some of the display technologies currently in development.