By Evan Ackerman

This is a prototype e-reader from Qualcomm called Mirasol. Apparently, this vivid color display (which doesn’t use a backlight) consumes less power than a monochrome e-ink display:

More, after the jump.

How can this work? Well, if they’re talking about the blue morpho (which is the spectacular butterfly in the pic), there really is some fascinating biotechnology there. The butterfly isn’t actually colored blue, in that it doesn’t have blue pigment in its wings. Rather, the wings of the butterfly are covered with tiny scales that reflect incoming light, setting up constructive interference effects at a wavelength at about 400 nanometers, which happens to be blue light. You can get any color you want by varying the size of the scales, which changes the wavelength at which constructive interference happens.


As far as the display goes, the advantage of the butterfly technology is that color is produced from incoming light, which means that you don’t need LEDs (or whatever) to provide light from underneath the display. Of course, it’ll only work if there’s enough ambient light, but that’s just like a real piece of paper (and conventional e-ink displays). Except with pretty colors. I don’t know about you, but I’d be more than willing to pay a premium (even a significant premium) for a display like this… Let’s hope that Qualcomm comes through.

VIA [ CrunchGear ]


  1. So Cheryl Goodman says there are four reasons to care about the Mirasol, but only mentions two, low power consumption and Morpho butterfly biomimetic color display.

    Are there actually only two reason and she misspoke, or are there other reasons and the video cut her off?

  2. I guess her four “why you should care” points are:
    1) low power consumption
    2) color display (implying that most e-book readers on the market are grayscale)
    3) the use of the butterfly-inspired iMoD technology, which is quite unique compared to other technologies like LCD or electronic ink
    4) their Fall 2010 release date
    The last point may not seem significant, and the second and third seem like they can be lumped together, but most products with iMoD displays so far are only 2-color.