Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, WOW!

LG Unveils Solar Powered E-Book Reader

by Mike Chino, 10/11/09

sustainable design, green design, e-book, electronic book reader, solar e-book, lg display, green gadgets

If we were stuck on a desert island with only one book, this recently unveiled solar e-book would be at the top of our list! Designed by LG Display, the sleek reader features a wafer-fin photovoltaic cell that provides it with a steady stream of solar energy. Whereas most e-books run the risk of losing juice mid-sentence through your next novel, this solar reader’s omnipresent energy source makes it a winning design in our book.

At first glance e-readers offer a great set of benefits over paper-bound books – they’re light, versatile, and a great alternative to lugging around a tote full of dead tree tomes on your next trip. The rise of e-readers also stands to stem the environmental repercussions of the publishing industry, as books can be released online rather than incurring the energy, materials, and cost that it takes to manufacture, print, and ship them across great distances. However these new reading mediums have one glaring fault – can you imaging the frustration of running out of juice mid-sentence and halfway through Infinite Jest?

LG’s new solar e-book aims to address this issue by harnessing the sun’s rays to power its display. The device features a 10 centimeter wide thin-film panel that is .7mm thin – the width of a credit card. Energy efficiency is a strong concern with portable readers, and it looks like LG may have hit on a winning feature set with their e-book – 4-5 hours spent sitting in the sun will provide a full day’s worth of reading time.

Mr. Ki Yong Kim, head of the Solar Cell Office at LG Display has stated that “eBbooks are attracting a lot of attention because they offer the advantage of storing thousands of books’ worth of contents in an easy-to-carry device. The idea of e-book combined with solar cell will offer users the added benefit of longer usage. We will continue to provide users with enhanced convenience and value to solidify our lead in next-generation, environmentally friendly products.”

Everyone knows that trying to read a computer screen outdoors can be a total pain, so we hope that LG has included a passively-lit e-paper display option in the device. A working prototype of the solar e-book will be on display at the International Meeting on Information Display (IMID) this week in Seoul.

Now I really want an e-book!

I always liked the idea of LOTS of books in one small, handy place. When I travel, I take many books. The e-book seemed to offer the answer to the weight and the space taken up by the books--even paperbacks. But when I saw the first generation, I knew my aging eyes could never use this device without grinding headaches. (What fun is that?)

Then we had the 2d generation--i.e., the Kindle. Not much better and the reviews were awful.

Now I may get excited again.

Isn't technology wonderful?

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