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By 15 December 2011 | Categories: news

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One of the biggest advantages 7” LCD tablets have had over e-readers has been the ability to read in the dark without requiring an external light source. However, Chicago based company FLEx Lighting intends changing this, with the launch of its illuminated optical film.
 
The front lit film (which is like the thin plastic screen protector layers many apply to their screens) needs to be laminated onto an e-ink e-reader, which then helps evenly spread the single LED light across the screen. And, with a thickness of 50 microns, this shouldn’t make a material difference to the weight or thickness of one’s e-reader.  
 
The company explains that the light guide film is completely invisible when turned off yet produces a soft, uniform glow for front lighting reflective displays. It also maintains that the FLEx LED film will not interfere with touch screen e-ink readers, as recently found on Amazon’s newer Kindles.
 
Additionally, the illuminated optical film can be used on both colour and monochrome reflective displays.
 
New life for old e-ink?
 
It’s certainly an interesting development, especially for those who prefer e-ink to backlit displays in their e-readers. While the capability of e-ink readers to be read outdoors in direct light with ease has been touted, they have traditionally also required some form of lighting to be read in darker environments, such as in bed at night.
 
The illuminated film though, could finally offer another way to address this limitation, as well as help ensure that there is still life left in e-ink displays, even as tablets and tablet and e-reader hybrids like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet become more popular. Despite this, dedicated e-reader shipments are still expected to reach 67 million by 2016.  
 
To see the illuminated film in action, hit the video below.
 
  

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