Want a new cellphone? Just press a button. What looks like painted artwork on the Hitachi W61H phone is actually a new E-Ink screen. Unlike LCDs that add bulk to a device, manufacturers can add these screens—just twice the thickness of a hair—as if they were stickers.
Hitachi’s phone is sold in Japan, but you can also see the new screens in the U.S. Lexar uses them as storage meters on its flash-memory drives, and Delphi is developing a wireless key fob to display information such as fuel level and whether the car doors are locked. The thinner screen is less prone to snagging when the fob slips in and out of a pocket and can endure drives during a San Antonio summer or
a Minneapolis winter.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.