Flexible display specialist Plastic Logic has cooked up a new, weatherproof and permanently-connected display that aims to keep public transport users up-to-date while remaining vandal resistant, as the company's technology gradually makes it out into the mainstream. The ZED (Zero Energy Display), produced in partnership with signage specialist SERELEC, is expected to show up at bus stops and tram stations in Q2 2013, pairing two 10.7-inch monochrome Plastic Logic panels into a display with clear outdoor visibility and super-frugal power consumption.
In fact, since the Plastic Logic screens only require energy to change what they're displaying, not to maintain an image, the two firms say the ZED can be entirely solar powered. That, coupled with integrated 3G and/or GPRS, means replacing traditional paper timetables needn't require a significant infrastructure roll-out, just a secure mount and a nearby solar panel with a good view of the sky.
The ZED measures under a centimeter in thickness, and achieves IP54 ratings for resistance to water and other substances. It'll work in temperature extremes of -15 degrees centigrade to a toasty 50 degrees, and the companies will also be offering it with an optional front-light illumination system.
According to Plastic Logic, color versions of the ZED are in the pipeline - the company has already developed and demonstrated the technology - which will then mean colored metro lines and other information will be clearer. Exactly how much it'll cost for cities to replace their paper boards with the ZED is unclear, though being able to offset that upfront installation price with reduced staff keeping printed timetables current may help sway things in the plastic panel's favor.