Just What We Needed Dept: A Better Billboard

billboard.jpg

If you don't like billboards outside of Times Square and particularly dislike the bright LED TV ones that eat a lot of power, then thank Magink Technologies for developing digital billboards that use "a type of synthetically produced cholesterol" to display images. Unlike LED boards, they reflect light rather than produce it, so they don't get washed out in the daytime and use a lot less energy. The Times reporter got hung up on the word cholesterol and imagines these are made from artificial artery gunk, but cholesteric liquid crystals are pretty common. The Magink site says "Using proprietary technologies, magink manipulates the ink molecules to generate all colors of the visible color spectrum, including all gray levels, to be exhibited in a wide color gamut." The wonderful new Google patent search turned up patent 6963386 in a millisecond, which describes a front-lit LCD screen. They are smaller, use environmentally friendly materials and use less power that LED units that are hard to read in the daytime and garish at night. They can be changed electronically so goodbye paper and glue. Perhaps it is damning with faint praise (who likes billboards? ) but it is a step in the right direction. ::Magink via ::New York Times

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