Let’s Make It Really Jump Off The Shelf

Wired: Electronics maker Siemens is readying a paper-thin electronic-display technology so cheap it could replace conventional labels on disposable packaging, from milk cartons to boxes of Cheerios.
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In less than two years, Siemens says, the technology could transform consumer-goods packaging from the fixed, ink-printed images of today to a digital medium of flashing graphics and text that displays prices, special offers or alluring photos, all blinking on miniature flat screens.
“When kids see flashing pictures on cereal boxes we don’t expect them to just ask for the product, but to say, ‘I want it,'” said Axel Gerlt, an engineer at Siemens tasked with helping packaging companies implement the technology.
Siemens’ paper-thin display — composed of a polymer-based photochromic material — is capable of displaying digital text and images when prodded by an electrochemical reaction powered by a low-voltage charge. When the electric charge is no longer applied, the chemical reaction is reversed, and the electronic ink is no longer visible — which is how a flashing effect is created. The power source is based on commercially available, ultra-thin batteries. Electronic memory strips store the images.
Miniature displays in color could appear on consumer-goods packaging, including medicine vials, in 2007, with a resolution of 80 dpi, Gerlt said. Three or more images could flash consecutively, creating a crude animation effect or cycling through multiple messages. By 2008, the resolution could double, said Gerlt.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • http://jackyan.com Jack Yan

    I’ve no doubt we’ll see these become commonplace very soon. Huge implications not just for the brand itself, but co-branding efforts. What if these displays become advertising space to be bought? It will happen—and I see a huge potential.