Speaking of which, we reported in March that the newly established Eyemoo released the world's first product EPaper S1 ( Portal ) with an RLCD screen, and it was also successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo (each with more than 200 backers). Recently, this S1 is preparing to be launched in Hong Kong in mid-August, which has caused a lot of discussion in the e-reader groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Even the owner, Dust, has received many inquiries about this new product from netizens this week. I am very interested (or puzzled) by the RLCD technology it uses, so I specially write an article to talk about it.
Many people have also heard of LCD (liquid crystal display). Basically, most of the electronic products we use use LCD screens, including the most common TVs, notebooks, and tablets. (However, most of the high-end 3C products are now switching to OLED.) In terms of LCD structure, the simplest way to say it is that two glass substrates sandwich liquid crystal and color filter paper, and then add a layer of LED backlight at the bottom, from The rear illuminates the pixels to display colors and images, and the middle TFT layer (Thin Film Transistor, Thin Film Transistor), corresponding to each pixel on the screen, controls the current through the liquid crystal, allowing light to be absorbed or passed through, thereby generating different colors.
Image credit: Radiant Vision Systems
Well, here comes the point, why do we traditionally regard LCD as hurting our eyes? It is because the LCD needs to operate the underlying backlight to display images, and the user's eyes look directly at the screen, and the blue light generated by the backlight is directly injected into the eyes, so it is more likely to cause eye dryness and discomfort, and it is not suitable for long-term use. (OLED is another display technology. Although there is no underlying backlight, each pixel in the screen will emit light by itself, so the light source is also directly injected into the eyes, which is also the so-called eye injury)
The RLCD ("R" means "Reflective" reflective) technology appeared for the disadvantages of traditional LCD. It removes the underlying backlight and replaces it with a reflective material to form a reflective layer ( Reflective layer ) to reflect ambient light. It will not emit light directly, which means that there will be no blue light directly hitting the user's eyes. It also makes the screen thinner and consumes less power. Also greatly reduced. Reflecting ambient light means it can display clear images under strong light. However, in this energy-conserving world, everything has advantages and disadvantages. RLCD’s method brings some disadvantages, such as being very dependent on ambient light. If there is insufficient light, the visibility of the screen will be greatly reduced; The display screen will be lost during the refraction process, so its color range and contrast will also be reduced, and the viewing angle will be narrower than that of LCD.
Schematic diagram of the color RLCD structure. (Image source: New Vision Display)
Adding a layer of LED front lights above the screen and a light guide plate to distribute the light as evenly as possible to complement the ambient light can solve the problems caused by the lack of light in the RLCD mentioned in the previous paragraph, and this is what Eyemoo EPaper S1 adopts method. However, at this stage, there is no answer to the lack of viewing angle, and this is also reflected in the first batch of backers who bought Eyemoo EPaper S1 and online reviews. (Looking at the comments on Kickstarter, it is reflected that there are quite a few dead spots on the screen, but this is not a problem with RLCD, but related to product QC) But under the premise of eye protection, maintain 60Hz refresh rate, full-color color and The clear display under sunlight is indeed the advantage of this product, and user feedback usually needs to turn on the front light to use it is also expected.
According to the message of the backers on Kickerstarter, the first batch of Eyemoo EPaper S1 has been successfully shipped, and there are still backers waiting to receive the goods. The experience of the first batch of users is also quite positive, reflecting that Eyemoo is not a fraudulent company, so netizens who want to try new things (especially Hong Kong readers who want to order from Searching C) should be at ease. In particular, Eyemoo has more than 500 orders on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They just sent out the first batch of Kickstarter goods in mid-July, and expect to send all the remaining Kickstarter backers orders in early August. If Searching C in Hong Kong officially starts selling this product in mid-August, it is unknown whether it will be shipped after Eyemoo has finished processing orders from the second crowdfunding platform.
As a digression, I saw the self-introduction on Eyemoo's official website, and mentioned that its team is composed of industry veterans from TCL, BOE (BOE) and Hisense, and mentioned that they have a deep understanding of RLCD technology and its limitations. No wonder they choose RLCD technology to manufacture the first product of their new company. BOE and TCL have specially developed RLCD technology. The technology to equip RLCD with headlights is developed by BOE; and TCL and Hisense have launched it in the past few years. RLCD panel, but the market response is not ideal.
Next time, I will talk to you about the differences between RLCD and E-Ink eye protection technologies.