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Intel invests in E Ink

Cash to fund next-gen e-paper technology

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Intel has pumped cash into E Ink, the electronic 'ink' technology developer, it was revealed yesterday.

Sony e-bookThe investment - the amount was not made public - comes through Intel Capital, the chip maker's venture capital division, which funds start-ups developing technology and applications that, one day, may boost demand for PCs and thus Intel's chip products.

E Ink's technology has already been licensed by Philips, which has used it in a non-volatile 'electronic paper' display. That unit, in turn, was chosen by Sony as the basis for the Librié 1000EP (right) electronic book it launched in Japan a year ago. The display's resolution is 600 x 800, but it operates at 170dpi.

E-Ink's system uses charged black and white particles. Under the influence of an electric field, the particles adhere to the panel, allowing them to stay there when the current is removed. Power is only needed to change the image, not to maintain it, making the technology suitable for very low power applications.

The Philips display is capable of creating four-level greyscale images, presumably by varying the density of particles in a given area, in the same way photos are reproduced in print.

E Ink's finance VP, Ken Titlebaum, said Intel's cash would be used to fund the development of the next generation of the company's electronic ink technology. ®

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