November 7, 2005 Siemens has announced a new colour display screen that can be printed onto paper or cardboard and is thin, flexible, and affordable enough to be included in books, magazines, labels, tickets, instructions, multimedia games embedded in the breakfast cereal box and a host of other traditionally “dumb” media where clarity of the message is vital – such as the dosage instructions on drugs, installation instructions for people who normally don’t RTFM ad infinitum – when the new technology reaches market in 2007, the convergence of media types will further accelerate with the possibility of video instructions incorporated into packaging, video-enabled print adverts, and printed magazines and books with multimedia capabilities.
Siemens reports the flexible mini screens work using “electrochromic substances” that change their colour when an electrical charge is administered, absorbing other light wavelengths than in their original state. The company expects to achieve its goal of printing the display with appropriate select electronics included, in a printing process using semi conducting plastics.
Scientists at Siemens Corporate Technology and Siemens Automation and Drives are working to optimise the process and its composite materials, so that they react quickly enough to display realistic moving images. Select partners of Siemens are already working to integrate the displays into packaging and the manufacturing process.
The displays are expected to be used in conjunction with printable batteries which are already available and because they are only expected to be required to function for a few months in FMCG packaging, labels, tickets and other time-limited applications, the entire multimedia screen can be incorporated into cardboard, foil, plastic or paper.
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