Cypress’ PSoC Solution Helps Pervasive Displays Expand E-Paper for a Connected IoT Experience | Cypress Semiconductor
Cypress’ PSoC Solution Helps Pervasive Displays Expand E-Paper for a Connected IoT Experience
At Cypress, we are passionate about problem solving. We help our partners address their design challenges, and love doing it! We spoke with the CEO of Pervasive Displays, Scott Soong, and discussed the challenges and opportunities for his company, and how our PSoC® solution has helped him and his team expand the use of e-paper technology beyond e-readers and into the industrial market.
Pervasive Displays is an industrial e-paper solutions provider, working with e-paper displays for their low-power, sustainable and connected attributes. PSoC helped them solve the challenges they faced, including how they could expand beyond e-paper’s traditional applications.
Scott Soong, CEO,
Tell us about e-paper displays. What are they used for, and what do they make possible?
E-paper acts as a paper replacement: it’s easy to read, like paper, and operates like an etch-a-sketch, so that it can be reused to display different types of information. E-paper also consumes very little power, because it powers off when the user doesn’t need it. This makes it ideal for battery-powered and energy harvesting products such as e-readers and electronic shelf labels, where the technology has come to dominate.
Pervasive Displays wanted to expand the functions and uses of e-paper beyond e-readers to make the connected IoT experience available to other industries.
The displays we’ve created for electronic shelf labels eliminate the need for single-use paper labels for components, meaning that factories using e-labels will be able to reduce their paper use and create a more sustainable process, as well as eliminate time spent on manually replacing labels. This also expands the potential of these labels to include more intricate industrial applications, like displaying QR codes for machines to scan on a production line or in a metering application and communicate with each other.
What challenges were you experiencing in the design process?
Before Pervasive Displays, companies specializing in e-paper were only focused on developing e-reader-sized displays. We recognized the potential that e-paper displays presented for industrial markets and wanted to bring this opportunity to our customers. However, there wasn’t a clear understanding of what other markets needed, so Pervasive Displays decided to find out.
Through conversations with prospective customers, we discovered they wanted devices that are connected, with battery-operated displays to work in areas where power is not accessible. That set us on a path to find an MCU that provided a lot more functionality than what was being used.
Pervasive Displays also wanted to incorporate Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) into our open source-friendly kits because of its low-power capabilities and needed to find a solution that would allow us to do so, that’s how we discovered PSoC.
How did PSoC help solve those challenges?
We needed a turnkey solution that would allow our kits to capture, display, compute, and distribute information with Bluetooth Low Energy capabilities to address our low-power connectivity needs.
It turns out that was easier said than done. We struggled to find a company that made those features easy to incorporate into our kits until we found Cypress. Cypress’ PSoC was the only solution to deliver all the features we needed. We also quickly discovered that working with Cypress is a wonderful experience. They really treat their customers as partners taking a very proactive approach to the design process.
What was your experience working with PSoC?
People have many definitions of IoT and what it means. For Pervasive Displays, it means working with PSoC to make that connected experience possible and enabling things that make our lives easier.
The Cypress PSoC team made the design process easy, allowing us to quickly produce our open source-friendly kits and make them easy for developers to use. We’ve been able to easily incorporate Bluetooth Low Energy into our designs and add features such as proximity sensors, USB and Wi-Fi® because all the protocols are supported by PSoC.
The flexibility of PSoC has helped us realize that there is a wide variety of potential opportunities for e-paper to expand into other markets.
We’re exploring how we could potentially incorporate color into our displays, as well as developing our portfolio to include different sizes, which will allow us to extend into additional industries such as smart cities and education.
Bringing low-power e-paper displays, like those used for e-books, to children in Africa with limited access to traditional textbooks, is a personal passion of mine, and something I’ve been looking at doing for a while now. This would help expand the reach of education and provide a wider variety of reading materials to students all over the world.
We look forward to continuing our work with Cypress and evolving our partnership to expand the use of e-paper displays, and we hope this is the first of many kits that we produce.
Cypress is proud to work with Pervasive Displays to help extend the reach and applications of e-paper displays into the industrial market. Our PSoC solution provides the low-power capabilities and the Bluetooth Low Energy integration that Pervasive Displays’ kits use to offer industrial users the long-lasting, connected experience they are looking for.