Realtek Bluetooth and E Ink Holdings join together to roll out intelligent Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) Technology

2023/3/21 19:17:03

ESG sustainability has received a lot of public and corporate attention in recent years. Attaining sustainable cycles has become a crucial objective, which in turn has led to two major implementation trends: Digital transformation, and net-zero carbon emissions. The timely appearance of Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) has been noticed by many retailers and has contributed to the concept of ESG development for retail enterprises, which has brought splendid results for E Ink. For their ESL smart technology, E Ink decided to adopt the Realtek System-on-Chip (SOC) RTL8762ESL. Through close collaboration with Realtek, E Ink has promoted transformation through smart ESL technology.

Realtek MCU platform is driving the e-paper green transformation

ESL technology uses RTL8762ESL, a system-on-chip (SoC) for Bluetooth 5.0 from Realtek. The RTL8762ESL's ultra-low power consumption makes it perfect for the power savings that E Ink's electronic shelf labels demand. For example, power is only consumed when the screens change. The screens will continue to display even after the power supply is disconnect. E Ink wanted to place the IC directly on the glass substrate, so Realtek had to overcome two major problems – line resistance reduction and antenna integration – in the IC bonding process. After a detailed evaluation, Realtek adopted the Anisotropic Conductive Film (ACF) process. ACF allows all components to be placed on a glass substrate, which was a new approach for Realtek. E Ink had to think about how to seamlessly integrate RF components with panels by drawing upon past integration experience.

Realtek and E Ink are working together on a new System on Panel project

E Ink's next step will be focusing on R&D for System on Panel (SoP) technology. E Ink is already working with Realtek on R&D, and has high expectations for future ESL applications. For SoP, E Ink is working in three main areas – color, low power consumption, and low cost. The process includes communicating with foundries to develop well-suited processes; system integration to reduce printed circuit board (PCB) usage; using direct data transfer to driver ICs to reduce power consumption for data transfer; driver architecture optimization for power savings, so that before the image transfer from cloud to edge devices, performance has already been optimized and restructured; development of stack integration to enhance brightness and reduce front light usage; and integration of gate ICs into panels to make costs more competitive. In addition, Realtek has also provided E Ink with Ameba Wi-Fi series products. These products are being integrated with E Ink's e-paper to develop applications for hospital ward door and bed labels. New Bluetooth applications that support energy harvesting technology will also help E-paper upgrade from passive to active energy savings.

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