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Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital™ (M3D) Technology

Flip-dot, dot matrix display

Everyday we see ruggedized, magnetic outdoor signs on buses, train depots or road signs that often display fluorescent yellow information on a black background. The Phosphor development team saw these same flip-disc, dot matrix signs but also saw the potential to do much more. Investing years in the miniaturization and engineering to creating its revolutionary Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital™ (M3D) technology for watches.

Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital™ (M<sup>3</sup>D) cross section

The Phosphor Appear™ watch utilizes miniature sized rotors adorned with Swarovski™ crystals that mechanically rotate to "reveal" numerical or chronological information. With each changing minute, an electrical pulse generates an electromagnetic field through the tiny electromagnetic coils positioned beneath each corresponding rotor. A micro-magnet located within the rotor is then repelled by the magnetic field produced and faster than the eye can see, less than 10 milliseconds, it rotates 180 degrees into its new position elegantly displaying the passing time, while producing a distinctive clicking sound unique to the new Phosphor Appear™ digital watches.

Phosphor Appear™ watches are adorned with crystals providing a unique digital display, but the future of the Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital™ (M3D) technology offers limitless opportunities as any numerical or graphical layout can be done with an endless number of materials that can be affixed to the rotating rotors.

The Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital™ (M3D) technology enable a new generation of innovative watch designs with the following display benefits:

  • Infinite Display Appearances: The rotatable rotors can be oriented in a variety of different layouts, while any material can be affixed onto the rotatable rotors ranging from Swarovski™ crystals, to precious metals or gems, to almost anything imaginable.
  • Ultra High Contrast: Depending on material or paints affixed to the rotatable rotors the M3D display technology can achieve the highest contrast of any digital display available today matching that of ink on paper in some configurations.
  • Low Power Consumption: The M3D display technology is bi-stable meaning that the display requires no power to maintain an image, as power is only needed when transitioning from one time to another.
  • Wide Viewing Angle: With a viewing cone of 180°, the M3D technology overcomes the disadvantages of conventional displays when it comes to off-axis viewing. Together with its high contrast, it allows the user to read the time at a glance from any angle.

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Swarovski™ crystals are a registered trademark of Swarovski AG.

How E Ink Works

Electronic ink is a proprietary material that is processed into a film for integration into electronic displays. Revolutionary in concept, electronic ink is a fusion of chemistry, physics and electronics to create this new material. The principal components of electronic ink are millions of tiny microcapsules, about the diameter of a human hair. In one incarnation, each microcapsule contains positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles suspended in a clear fluid. When a positive electric field is applied, the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule where they become visible to the user. This makes the surface appear white at that spot. At the same time, an opposite electric field pulls the black particles to the bottom of the microcapsules where they are hidden. By reversing this process, the black particles appear at the top of the capsule, which now makes the surface appear dark at that spot. Cross-Section of Electronic-Ink Microcapsules © E Ink Corporation, 2002

To form an E Ink electronic display, the ink is printed onto a sheet of plastic film that is laminated to a layer of circuitry. The circuitry forms a pattern of pixels that can then be controlled by a display driver. These microcapsules are suspended in a liquid "carrier medium" allowing them to be printed using existing screen printing processes onto virtually any surface, including glass, plastic, fabric and even paper. Ultimately electronic ink will permit most any surface to become a display, bringing information out of the confines of traditional devices and into the world around us.

Microscopic view of E Ink microcapsules. Microscopic view of E Ink microcapsules.

About E Ink Corp.

Founded in 1997 based on research started at the MIT Media Lab, E Ink Corporation is the leading provider of electronic paper display (EPD) technologies. Products made with E Ink's revolutionary electronic ink possess a paper-like high contrast appearance, ultra-low power consumption and a thin, light form. E Ink's technology is ideal for many consumer and industrial applications spanning handheld devices, watches, clocks and public information and promotional signs.

Visit E Ink Corp.'s homepage ( to learn more about this exciting technology.

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