Paul van Gerven
30 June 2022

Dutch Etulipa has finished the development of the first full-color reflective display capable of showing video. After an evaluation conducted on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven and Brookings, South Dakota, together with outdoor display manufacturer Daktronics, production of the displays in larger quantities will commence.

Reflective displays, such as e-reader displays, use the ambient light that falls on the display surface and bounce it back to the eye of the observer, resulting in excellent readability under all conditions. Since reflective displays don’t emit light but reflect it, they create zero light pollution, are unintrusive and produce zero emissions. In very low light conditions, such as at night without street lighting, a backlight lights up the display enough to create the same saturated colors as in daylight.

Advertising is one application for Etulipa’s electrowetting displays. If combined with solar panels, no connection to the power grid is needed. Credit: Etulipa

Etulipa’s reflective displays are based on electrowetting technology, in which drops of black or colored oil are activated and controlled by the presence or absence of voltage. When the voltage is on, the droplets shrink, turning the display white. By switching off the voltage, the oil spreads, rendering the display fully colored or black. By controlling the voltage with a computer, the displays can reflect messages or video content in full color at very low power, consuming only about 7 watts per square meter.

Before becoming Etulipa, the company was known as Miortech, a Philips spinoff that focused on integrating electrowetting in rearview mirrors to display additional information. However, in 2013, it shifted focus to outdoor billboards.

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