It is widely known that e-ink displays require very little power, one of their biggest bragging points. Because they display static images, power is required only when the image is being refreshed to something new, and as it turns out, NFC provides enough energy to accomplish this. Such was demonstrated in a video we have for you after the jump.
The demonstration was made by Intel and both the University of Washington and the University of Massachusetts, pairing a small e-ink display with an NFC-enabled smartphone to transfer a screenshot from one to the other, no supplementary power necessary. The e-ink display then displays the static image, staying that way until paired again to have a new image beamed over.
In the demonstration, the information the user wants to display on the separate e-ink display is collected in a screenshot - in this case, contact information - and saved. That screenshot is then shared over NFC, with the e-ink display being pressed against the back of the smartphone. It takes a solid handful of seconds, but then the image winks to life on the secondary display.
In essence, the process works the same way NFC is used for any other task - sharing data from one handset to another device - but with one difference: it also provides the power to accomplish this. While no consumer products take advantage of this, it could be used in the future, especially as more smartphones support NFC technology.
The main application would be having e-ink displays that can be transported or mounted without concern for power availability. Someone could then take their smartphone and send an image to the display, whether its a map or even, perhaps, a type of art display that can be toggled endlessly based on the owner's mood.