Butterfly-inspired E-readers

Tablets have changed the way thousands of us read, and many of you could be reading these very words on a screen rather than a page. These devices are durable and ideal for reading on the move eliminating the need for carting around a miniature library when wanting to take a good book on holiday. However, so far no tablet is dazzling enough to combat the Sun’s powerful glare, and although this poses ho threat to humans, it’s still a step we are yet to take. The future of this technology is bright though. New prototypes are in development that reflect incoming sunlight in the same way is iridescent butterfly wings.

Qualcomm-e-reader
Qualcomm e-reader

The breathtaking colours of many butterflies are not created by simple surface pigments, but by microscopic scaffolding set into the scales covering each wing. These tiny structures change the wavelengths of light and allow it to be reflected as a different colour.

Light rays bounce off butterfly wing scales at different angles and depths thanks to this complex structure and are received by the eye as different coloured light. The e-reader created by Qualcomm is able to use incoming sunlight to create vivid colours on the screen. This means the device needs charging much less frequently and emits 94 per cent less carbon while active than an LCD display of the same size.

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