Bi-stable displays tick all the boxes where display requirements are limited and power saving is a priority, says GTK UK.
Power consumption is always an issue with display products. Fortunately, bi-stable, or cholesteric, display technology enables an image to remain on the screen without using any power until the image needs to change.
In fact, the technology boasts a number of benefits. It is said to offer sunlight readability with wide viewing angles in all directions. No backlight is required and manufacturers claim users will not suffer from eye strain when reading the display for extended periods. Typical shelf-life is three to five years without changing the batteries.
Unlike e-paper technology, which is limited to black and white, bi-stable technology uses printed background colours. Typically, two colours are used; one for text, with a contrasting colour for the background.
Although the technology offers power and readability advantages, it does, however, have its limitations. It is suitable for use with custom segment, graphic or dot-matrix displays, but does not lend itself to sophisticated colour TFT output. The response time, or image refresh rate, is also slower, typically 1.5 seconds. The technology is also susceptible to UV light.
Business manager for optoelectronics at GTK UK, Clive Dickinson, said: “While this technology is not the most sophisticated, it is ideal for applications where the display requirement is limited, or where display changes are infrequent but power saving is critical. An ideal example of this is shelf-edge labels or hand held electronics where the speed of display change is not essential. We are currently working with customers on a thermometer that will be used in the food industry and a remote control for stereo equipment. This technology ticks all the boxes for these applications.”