NFC-powered companion E Ink display demonstrated

Imagine tapping a slither of screen against your smartphone and transferring a document to it, along with the power to read it. Imagine no longer, the technology has been demonstrated by Intel.

Researchers at the University of Massachussetts and the University of Washington came up with the NFC-WISP E Ink Display Tag at Intel Labs. The idea is that the data transfer uses less power than is available so the excess can be used to charge the Display Tag's 1mAh battery.

But what use is this 2.7-inch bistable display in the real world? Imagine your phone is about to die and you have a plane ticket or road map you need later on. Screenshot it and tap to transfer to the screen which, thanks to the E Ink display, won't need any power unless you're changing the image on the screen. Twenty images can be stored on the device's 0.5MB of FRAM.

Though this might seem inferior in the face of mobiles like Russia's YotaPhone, with a built-in rear E Ink display, for those who already own an NFC-toting device, this could be a great extra at low cost, if current E Ink devices like the Kindle are anything to go by.

The team is aiming to get the project available in an open source form by the end of this year.