Projects: Install a Pixel Qi Screen on Your Laptop for Computing in the Sun

A (fairly) easy mod makes any netbook ready for the beach
Eric Heintz, Brian Klutch

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.

Click to launch the step-by-step photo gallery

Right now, the display costs $275 at, 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.

Step One
Remove both screws beneath the rubber covers.
The bezel is trickier to remove
Once the bezel is off, you can see the other screws you have to remove
pull the display out a little for easier access to the two black screws
Remove all four black screws.
connector in back