Posted by: garispang | August 6, 2009

A solar-powered e-book reader: A real gizmo, not just a design

image  Holly Gates ran across our item raising the possibility of solar-cell covers to help power E Ink machines. But what about an e-reader that relies entirely on energy from the sun or other light sources?

None other than Holly has built a demo model, and here’s part of the write-up from the Greener Gadgets Design Competition 2008:

“Snippy is an ultraportable handheld electronic viewer for textual and graphic information which harvests operating energy from the sun and transparently links to other Snippys in the area to share content. This solar networked information propagating paper-like display brings together the daylight readability and extremely low average power consumption of an electronic paper display, a solar panel to gather energy from light, and a Bluetooth radio interface.

image“The readability and optical quality of an E Ink display are unparalleled, especially in high light conditions like outdoors during daylight hours. The 800×600 6” diagonal high reflectivity screen used in the device offers 166ppi resolution at 16 gray levels, which translates to crisp, well rendered text and detailed grayscale images with a paper-like look. A high quality device of this nature can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 128kg and fresh water usage by 3543 liters per year by displacing the paper used for ephemeral content by a typical reader…

image “…Laminated metal/organic construction, design for repairability and long service life, and mostly recyclable components minimize the life cycle ecological impact of the device…”

So, gang, what do you think—about the solar-power aspects of Snippy and the ergonomic angles? What would it take for you to buy such a machine? How much would you pay? And might the idea fit into One Laptop Per Child or similar  groups in some ways? Others, too, have been thinking solar. Maybe Holly Gates and Martin Woodhouse could join forces (that’s his design you see to the left). One thing they have going for them is that E Ink will be common in the near future in a bendable form, which could make units even smaller and lighter, not just more rugged. I wonder, too, if future E Ink might have even lower power requirements than the present variety.

Eco E-Reader

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