Low-Cost Low-Power Screen from Dream Jobber Jepsen

Mary Lou Jepsen, profiled in IEEE Spectrum’s 2007 special report on dream jobs for engineers, designed the screen for the little green XO computer intended to blanket the world as the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative. The OLPC effort didn’t quite play out as exactly as planned, though production began recently. (Earlier this year the organization cut half its staff and announced a change in strategy to open source hardware.)

But that wasn’t the fault of Jepsen’s screen. The screen, reviewers agreed, was revolutionary. Oh, sure, it could have been bigger, the resolution in color mode could have been better, but its low power consumption, visibility in bright light, and dual color and black and white modes were standouts.

Jepsen has a for-profit company now, Pixel Qi, a fabless designer of screens that just completed its first round of funding in March. Pixel Qi has announced that its low-cost low-power screen technology will be shipping this fall as part of e-book readers and netbooks, a sort of e-paper capable of video as well as static images. This generation of the technology will be bigger—10-inches, compared with the OLPC’s 7.5-inch screen—and better. Meanwhile, the company says it is working on a version capable of HDTV resolution.

I can’t wait to see it.

Photo: Pixel Qi (left) vs. Kindle
Credit: Pixel Qi



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