I took some time out last night before I went to bed to go ahead and take apart the Esquire magazine cover that famously has an e-Ink segmented display. As I mentioned the other morning, I have a bit of experience in working with the e-Ink displays, though my experience was in the programming side (working with the prototyping kit) on the matrix style display, not the segmented display that’s present in the current issue of Esquire magazine.
The video is 20 minutes long, which is a bit much for one of our typical videos, but I give you an up close and personal look at each piece as I take it out, and try to keep you from falling asleep by relating what I know about how the technology functions and what makes it special (and how it can be applied to publications looking to go digital from either side of the divide).
Watch the video via the embed below or download the MP4.
I found a few technical resources around the Web that were particularly interesting - and in these cases it’s a good idea to read the comments and discussion following the blog post.
MAKE Magazine - It’s important you read the comments there if you in any way want to tinker with the cover. A lot of your work may be done for you. As I stated once I got my hands on this, from a hardware geek perspective, I was a little disappointed they chose to go with segmented rather than matrix display. You’ll see this reflected in the reaction there. Also from MAKE: some hardware hacking tips for the board.
Esquire Magazine - Don’t bother with the video from Esquire, but the infographics here that talk about how it was made are pretty informative. If you’re looking to do some work with this medium (either as a designer, publisher or ad agency) these are some good crib notes to start with once your prototyping stage is done. When I was working with the prototyping kits, they hadn’t quite worked out the manufacturing chain to a science (and I haven’t talked to e-Ink in about three years). If you’re serious about using this material, you should take any tips you can get on how this is done before you start the prototyping process.
e-Ink Prototyping Kit Store - As I said in the video, not a lot of creative agencies are working with this material yet for a couple of reasons. For one, it requires some serious technical and programming chops. For another, the prototyping kits are expensive. To work with segmented systems, get ready to drop $1,500 per kit. On the matrix display systems, it’s $3,000 (an explanation of what the difference is available in the video). That said, this is a wide open market, and I for one am ready for some folks to start doing cool things with this stuff.
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