This isn't the first time the concept of colour-changing electronic skins has been tossed around, but Philips is a big name, and they have big plans that extend beyond your gadgets.
Electronic paper (e-paper) looks like conventional paper and the bright wash of colour it generates uses the ambient light for rendition, just like conventional paint, so no backlight is needed. Which means that the vividness of the colour is maintained, even in bright outdoor conditions. Philips' technology allows different colours of ink to be built into one layer with each colour controlled separately. This means the layer can be transparent, the same colour as any one of the inks or even a mixture of multiple colours. Moreover, the saturation of each individual colour can be controlled accurately – so any shade can be produced. Recently, Philips successfully realised a simplified, yet advanced version of its e-paper technology: e-skin. Since it is less complicated and less expensive to realise, it enables new applications. And because e-skin makes use of the ambient light, it is an inherently energy-efficient system, making it particularly suitable for application in portable devices as well.
While portable devices might be the focus in the short-term, this sort of technology could also be used for larger equipment and even wallpaper in your home. In other words, it might not be long before we can change the colour and the entire ambiance of a room with the push of a button. [Philips via Pocket-Lint]