E-Ink now works on cloth, t-shirts soon to be downloadable

The same guys who make the display that powers Amazon's Kindle have managed to imprint functional e-ink onto cloth, meaning that clothing with designs that you can update, or even clothing that streams video, is just around the corner.

The e-ink display in the following video hasn't just been kludged onto a piece of cloth with super glue or something, it's actually been printed directly onto the fabric. This makes it a piece of clothing that you might be comfortable wearing on a regular basis, even if it's going to have to have a battery pack, cabling, a circuit board, and quite probably a USB connector sewn into it somewhere. So while it might not feel like the softest thing you've ever worn, but at least it's flexible and looks like it could probably stand up to a limited amount of abuse:

As you can see, this isn't a typical pixelated display. It's called SURF display, where "SURF" stands for "Segmented, Ultra-thin, Rugged and Flexible." The most relevant part of that is "segmented," since this type of display can only turn large blocks of ink on and off all at once. Obviously, this means that right now you're basically stuck with one image that can just flash on and off in grays and blacks, but on principle, you could just make those blocks small enough to work as individual pixels instead.

When that happens, you'll never need to buy new clothing again, since you can just download new designs onto your old clothing. You could even use designs that move and flash if you want to be really obnoxious about it. And of course, this all assumes that you're only interested in dressing in grayscale, but that's cool, everybody looks good in black.

This same process also works to print displays on Tyvek cloth, that stuff that express mail envelopes are made out of, and it even looks a bit better than the fabric does. Check out a video of that, below.

Via Fast Company

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