The final piece of technology that Epson showcased at the event was its electronic paper (or e-paper), and its ideas for potential uses for the technology. Some early e-paper devices, such as the Sony Reader have already become commercially available â€“ albeit in early forms with prohibitively high prices.
As Mr Nebashi explained, the advantage of e-paper, also known as Electrophoretic displays (EPDs), is that it requires no sustained power to retain an image and is perfectly visible in all light conditions â€“ not suffering from reflections or poor viewing angles like a conventional display.
They also have no backlight, making them far more comfortable for reading large amounts of text. Potential uses for the displays are numerous, and Epson has already begun developing these ideas â€“ the first being a limited edition Seiko watch that used EPD to create a large bracelet style watch with a wrap around display. (This reminds me of this prototype watch design from HP...Ed)
At this event, Epson unveiled a prototype for what it called an E-Guidance system, utilising an EPD display and an RF receiver as a guide for museums and art galleries.
Information will be beamed to the device by touching a post next a picture or exhibit, and this information can then be read on the viewer â€“ potentially providing more information for visitors than audio guides or the tablet of text normally attached to a wall next to an exhibit.
It also provides more flexibility for using this information, with the ability for visitors to print out what they may be interested in. Epson demonstrated this using a PictureMate printer that printed an image of a painting onto a postcard sized piece of card.
One doesnâ€™t expect people to be wandering around museums with E-paper devices any time soon, but it would be an interesting way to experience such a venue and the technology could be used in any number of different ways. This is, as they say, merely the tip of the iceberg for E-paper devices.
Overall, though there wasnâ€™t much in the way of new products from the company, it was an interesting look into the future of Seiko Epson with the Inkjet PCB technology being a particular highlight. Weâ€™ll certainly be keeping tabs on that particular technology as it develops, and hopefully weâ€™ll see mobile devices utilising the process sooner, rather than later.