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Dec 6th, 2013
 
Qualcomm smartwatch has MEMS-based interferometrically modulated reflective color display
 
Qualcomm, which has been developing an interferometric microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based reflective color display called Mirasol (originally created by Iridigm Display Corporation, which Qualcomm acquired in 2004), has now introduced a "smartwatch" containing the display; the touchscreen watch pairs via Bluetooth to Android phones (but not iPhones, unfortunately).
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Qualcomm, which has been developing an interferometric microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based reflective color display called Mirasol (originally created by Iridigm Display Corporation, which Qualcomm acquired in 2004), has now introduced a "smartwatch" containing the display; the touchscreen watch pairs via Bluetooth to Android phones (but not iPhones, unfortunately).

The 1.55 in. Mirasol display itself has a 288 x 192 pixel resolution, is visible in bright sunlight, and has a front/edge-illuminated screen for use in dim light (a similar approach to that of Amazon's E-ink-based Kindle). Although the resolution is low (and the display technology has been around for quite awhile), the device is an attempt to desmonstrate the display technology to a wider audience, with improvements in resolution likely coming in future devices.

How it works
Each pixel of the display consists of a thin, reflective membrane that rests a very small distance away from the glass -- small enough for white-light interference effects to occur similar to those seen on oil films on water (the gap could be a single wavelength or small multiple of wavelengths). Because the film is conductive, the gap forming the resulting resonant cavity can be changed by applying a voltage, drawing the membrane toward the glass and shifting the resonance to the UV, therefore producing black. Lowering the voltage results in an interference-produced color.

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