If you think ereaders and instant book downloads, and being able to carry a virtual library with you everywhere you go is cool, imagine being able to read comfortably in the dark.
Chicago-based lighting company, FLEx Lighting, has developed a lighting system for ereaders which, for the first time, allows you to do just that. It uses an ultra-thin and transparent illuminated film which the company touts as “the world’s thinnest film-based light guides” for reflective display-based e-reading devices.
FLEx’s film is is laminated to the display and provides an embedded light for crystal clear viewing. According to the developers, it’s “10 times thinner than other ereader front lights” and forms a completely invisible layer over the screen that emits light when needed.
The FLEx system only uses 1-2 LEDs for a 6” display, and conserves power by maintaining battery life for “several weeks” before it requires recharging. It can be integrated with both colour and black-and-white screens. The light reflects off the display and provides a soft glow for the reader unlike the intense lighting from an LCD screen.
When the light is turned off, the film remains invisible. This allows the e-reader to still be used in sunlight.
Commenting on the FLEx Lighting technology, the Ebook Reader Blog said: “One of the shortfalls of E-Ink ebook readers like the Kindle and Nook is that they can’t be used at night or in low-lighting conditions without an external source of light because they emit no light themselves. They require a lamp or reading light just like paper books.
“Flex Lighting aims to change that with their new front light LED film… When turned on the film produces a soft, uniform glow that draws minimal power because of the efficiency of LEDs and the fact that only 1-2 LEDs are required for a 6″ screen. It works with both color and monochrome displays. This could be the edge that color E Ink needs to become more popular.”
Founded in 2004, FLEx Lighting says it has “pushed the limits in pursuit of the world’s thinnest lighting systems using LEDs and thin film.” The technology can be customized for a wide range of applications, including consumer electronic displays and signage.