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Eindhoven-based Etulipa has unveiled the first ever full-color electrowetting display (EWD) panel. The working prototype consists of six tiles or pixels, stacked like roof tiles. By layering three colored cells – cyan, magenta and yellow (the same colors used in inkjet printers) – the EWD panels can reflect a full spectrum of color.
Electrowetting displays use drops of black or colored oil, which is 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 EWD technology company was previously 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 (link in Dutch). Unlike LED signs, the reflective electrowetting method requires no active lighting and is easily readable in bright sunlight.