Washington: E-readers are set to shed their black and white font and embrace all colours of the rainbow, all thanks to a new spray-on polymer that can change colours when powered by the Sun.
When combined with solar technology, the new treatment could power portable electronics and even homes and businesses.
Developed by scientists at the University of Florida, the new spray-on polymers can reflect or transmit any colour of light.
With a simple spray, they can be applied to hard glass or flexible plastic.
"When you look at simple LCD displays or a Kindle with its electrophoretic display, you are looking at something that changes from white and non-coloured to black," Discovery News quoted John Reynolds, a scientist at the University of Florida who led a team that developed the clear-to-black polymers, as saying.
"That`s what this newest paper is about, but we have also developed polymer coatings for all the other colours of the spectrum," he added.
Most e-readers, like Amazon`s Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook, don`t produce their own light, thus making it impossible to read in dark just like a paper book.
Instead, these devices reflect light from the sun and other light sources.
For larger areas, like roadside billboards or glass windows, where flexible materials like thin plastic might be used, the existing technology is not practical.
Thus, the researchers wanted to develop a spray-on technique that would allow much larger displays.
The clear-to-black polymer is only the latest in a series of colour-changing polymers developed by the Reynolds group.
The technology could lead to full-colour e-readers, colour-changing billboards and signs, or any number of other applications.
A colour-changing polymer-based device available to consumers is still a long way off, said Reynolds.
However, such a gadget should be competitive with existing technology in both price and performance.
First Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 14:49