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.