It’s rare that the first people who get to use a ground-breaking technology are third-world students and home tinkerers. But a new type of LCD, which requires less power than conventional displays and is viewable even in bright sunlight, was originally developed by the company Pixel Qi for the One Laptop Per Child project and is now available as a DIY replacement screen for netbook computers.
(You can check out our interview with Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen here.) The display combines the full color and fast motion of regular LCDs with E Ink’s ability to operate without a backlight. Installation takes only about 15 minutes, with no special connections or software needed.
Right now, the display costs $275 at MakerShed.com, so it’s still best for early adopters or people who often use their netbooks outside. As production ramps up, though, expect the cost to drop quickly. Soon we’ll all enjoy computing out in the sun without breaking the bank.
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.