Billboards that Use Digital Ink

Magink have unveiled a low-power billboard in New York that uses digital ink to display a changing image.

The Magink billboard uses a paste of tiny helix-shaped particles, the orientation of which is changed by electrical fields. When the helix changes orientation, the amount of light reflected changes so they can be used to build up full colour images. Incredibly, the display can run at 70 frames per second.

With a dot pitch of 5mm, the technology isn’t yet suitable for replacing paper (or even television), but it’s an exciting step. Currently the display can handle 4096 colours and only consumes power when changing the image – like paper, it doesn’t require a backlight.


Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?