US researchers create companion E Ink display powered solely by NFC

21 Aug 2013

Still from 'Wirelessly Powered E-ink Display Tag using NFC' by uwsensor on YouTube

NFC is fast becoming a standard feature on mobile devices, as well as a wide range of accessories, and researchers from Intel, the University of Massachussetts and the University of Washington have discovered how this technology can not only transfer data, but energy, too.

Just this week we reported how another team of researchers from the University of Washington have found a way to communicate wirelessly without the need for a power source and today we also have news of an E Ink display powered by near field communication (NFC) technology.

E Ink displays are known for their low power consumption, which is why they’re so popular in long-lasting e-readers. These displays only use energy to generate an image on screen. Once it’s there and remains static, the image can remain on the display without using any additional power.

Future Human

In the demo below, a screenshot from a smartphone is transferred to a wireless display tag using NFC. The display tag harvests more energy from the transfer than it consumes in displaying the image, thus it acts as a companion display that consumes no power.


Harnessing this technology could lead to the development of further energy-neutral NFC devices.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic