Lighting Industry, Products + Technology

E Ink Display Trends That Could Impact Lighting

E Ink Display Trends That Could Impact Lighting


There are a several E Ink trends in the display industry that could have implications for lighting:

  •  Smart Surfaces
  • Sustainable Product Development and Environmental Impact
  • Incorporation of signage into Smart Cities.

Smart Surfaces

Displays of the future will personalize, customize, and provide information on top of other surfaces, making surfaces “intelligent” (or at least digital). A surface could sense a presence and respond by displaying information.

BMW’s i Vision Dee is a concept car that changes colors on demand, using E ink (see first image below). One energy saving use case is turning the car white on a hot day to reduce the air conditioning required, saving energy. The same principal could be scaled to a building that goes black to absorb heat in winter, or white in summer to reflect heat.

Sustainable Signage

ePaper displays can replace traditional paper potentially avoiding millions of sheets of paper. E Ink estimates that a bank with 125 branches could save 16.5 million A4-sized paper sheets per year by adopting eNote, utilizing E Ink technology, which E Ink estimates would reduce 1,100 tons of CO2 per year. See second image below.

Ultra-Low Power Signage For Smart Cities

One smart city use case for ultra-low power signage is for public transportation. Bus or train arrivals and other real-time updates can be pushed through a cellular network to keep riders informed. See bottom image. The signs require so little power they can use solar photovoltaics, off-grid.

In Germany, an energy saving ordinance prohibits operation of digital advertising signage screens between 10pm and 4pm. Traditional displays for advertising can only be operated 6 hours per day.


E Ink could allow luminaire manufacturers to integrate displays on top of beautiful materials, be they stone, wood, ceramic, metal, or more. Today, some luminaires already incorporate room numbers for hotels or apartments. In the near future, they could display room number, resident last name, customized welcome messages, business hours of operation, or almost any other information imaginable.

More information on E Ink display capabilities is available here


Image: BMW. The BMW i Vision Dee is a color-changing concept car using E Ink.


Image: E Ink’s ultra-low power ePaper signage.

Image: E Ink’s ultra-low power ePaper signage.


Image: ePaper signage displaying Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train arrival times.

Image: ePaper signage displaying Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train arrival times.

All images: E Ink.

Top Image: A bank displays next customer number on a marble counter.



author avatar
David Shiller
David Shiller is the Publisher of LightNOW, and President of Lighting Solution Development, a North American consulting firm providing business development services to advanced lighting manufacturers. The ALA awarded David the Pillar of the Industry Award. David has co-chaired ALA’s Engineering Committee since 2010. David established MaxLite’s OEM component sales into a multi-million dollar division. He invented GU24 lamps while leading ENERGY STAR lighting programs for the US EPA. David has been published in leading lighting publications, including LD+A, enLIGHTenment Magazine, LEDs Magazine, and more.


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