Boogie Board Paperless LCD Writing Tablet – digital magic slate
Remember the magic slates? You could write or draw on it and after you’d pull the foil the content would delete and you could write or draw new content on it. In this article we’re going to write about a digital version of such a product. Kent Displays announced the forming of Improv Electronics, a new business unit focused on development and sales of consumer electronic products. The products will utilize Kent Displays Reflex “no power” LCD technology.
The first product sold under the Improv Electronics name, the Boogie Board Paperless LCD Writing Tablet, was released several days ago and the US stores are out of stocks. This product is the first paperless writing tablet to utilize a pressure-sensitive Reflex LCD for the writing surface. While most other LCDs are made on glass, the Reflex LCDs used in Boogie Board tablets are made of impact-resistant, flexible plastic. Its dimensions are 22.3 x 14.2 x 0.5cm (8.8 x 5.6 x 0.2 inches) and it weights only 120 grams (4.2 ounces).
Because all Reflex LCDs are reflective and bi-stable, the Boogie Board tablet requires no power to generate or retain an image, and only a small amount supplied by a small watch battery to erase the content. You can erase the content with a simple press of a button located at the top of the device and it should execute over 50,000 times for one battery lifetime.
Written and graphic images are created with an included stylus or any other instrument that will apply the desired pressure (even a finger nail). Unlike traditional LCDs that have a poor response to pressure, the Boogie Board’s Reflex LCD is highly responsive to variable amounts of pressure. This allows different line thicknesses to be easily created (great for sketching) and provides a writing experience very similar to paper and pencil.
Part of Kent Displays’ Push Green initiative, the Boogie Board tablet provides a highly-effective vehicle to reduce everyday paper consumption. The paperless Boogie Board tablet can be used for all these activities, replacing memo/note pads and sticky notes in the home, office, school, car and field. It also replaces chalk, magnetic and dry erase boards. Like all the above writing and drawing mediums, the Boogie Board tablet consumes no electrical energy to produce an image.
Although the device is greenish, since it tries to reduce paper consumption, there are a few issues that need to be solved. In order to increase the Boogie Board’s usability, they would have to add memory in order to store the pages user needs later. That feature will almost certainly increase the price as well as the need for power (unless we witness a major breakthrough in power technology). The device could also ditch the replaceable battery usage, as the light/solar power should be sufficient to perform the erasing operation. Although the device mimics magic slates successfully, the erasing operation itself would be much more useful if it could be done partially instead in whole.
Despite all the “flaws”, the Boogie Board performs perfectly and it’s very affordable. Although it may not find its place in idea development and presentations as its developers envisioned, it will most certainly find its place among the to-do-lists, family memos or coach diagrams.