One of the reasons E Ink displays like the screen on an Amazon Kindle Voyage use less power than an LCD screen like the one that’s probably in your laptop or desktop monitor is that E Ink only uses power when the text or images on the screen change. When there’s just a static image the screen doesn’t need any power at all.

Now researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed a new type of LCD screen that works in a similar fashion. It can hold a static image for years with no power.


The new technology involves the use of an optically rewritable liquid crystal display (ORWLCD). While a traditional LCD needs a constant electric current in order to display an image, an ORWLCD only uses power when an image is being “uploaded.” After that, the power can shut off while the image remains in place.

The research team has also figured out how to make a single image look like it’s 3-dimensional by altering the polarization of light shining through the display.

It’s not clear if or when we’ll see ORWLCD technology in real-world products. This is hardly the first promising-sounding, low-power LCD technology to be introduced.

via Geek, Optics InfoBase, and Kurzweilai

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6 replies on “New type of LCD can display static images with no power”

    1. Of course it is!
      But LCD tech which don’t need to allways update make the display more energy sufficient in it self.
      Have you read about Pixel Qi LCD tech?

  1. And think, if, this ORWLCD could be implemented in Pixel Qi-type of lcd tech!
    Mary-Lou Jepsen who is behind the Pixel Qi type of highly reflexive lcd which can be read during direct sun light.
    Mary-Lou Jepsen, is nowadays display chief at Google Labs.
    ORWLCD can be the tech for making lcd suitable for e-book readers and together ith Pixel Qi lcd tech it would be a winner in compete to E-ink.
    E-ink displays are very grey in the background.
    And E-ink have to little contrast ratio between the ink pattern and background.

  2. I think this is good research. E-Ink’s flash to inverse on refresh is annoying to me. If this ORWLCD technology can do what E-Ink does but without the flash to inverse, I’m all for it.

  3. meh’
    using no power but for changing images doesnt mean this might be even close as power-efficient as E-Ink.
    This will still need either backlight (what makes this near as power-hungry as current LCD-Stuff) or it works via light from the front that keeps it with “poor” colors like current transflexive-lcd-thingies.
    With those last ones the power-problem was already solved, but they are too expensive and don’t look good enough for current stupid folks out there.

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