BMW’s E Ink System Could Let You “Express Yourself By Changing Your Car Color”

Selecting the best colour in your automotive generally is a compelling, even emotional, proposition. And what you select on the dealership might not really feel proper to you in a while. What in case you might select a special colour each time you get in your automotive, gloomy gray, moody black or sporty crimson?

BMW i Vision Dee in yellow at CES
BMW’s Stella Clarke showcases i Imaginative and prescient Dee’s E Ink capabilities at CES 2023.

BMW is demonstrating simply that chance within the type of a know-how known as “E Ink” at this yr’s Shopper Electronics Present. When the futuristic i Imaginative and prescient Dee is wrapped across the idea automotive, it may well immediately swap between about three dozen completely different colours and even select extra hues in numerous elements, permitting a driver to decide on one colour for the roof and one other for the hood. physique of the car.

“Shade is not only colour. “Emotional,” mentioned BMW engineer Stella Clarke, who led the event of the E Ink course of, as she launched the “world’s first color-changing automotive.”

Kindle to automotive

The underlying know-how shouldn’t be all that new, though it has by no means been utilized in car purposes earlier than. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have skilled E Ink on gadgets like Amazon’s Kindle reader. Also referred to as “digital ink” or “digital paper”, this ink makes use of microcapsules containing numerous shades of ink however as thick as a human hair. Every has a special electrical cost, so when sure currents are utilized to the microcapsules, sure colours come to the floor.

BMW iX Flow E Ink pattern
BMW’s E Ink debuted at CES final yr, however solely in black and white patterns along with strong colour.

As with gadgets just like the Kindle, BMW initially confirmed off the E Ink. Switching between black and white with the iX Flow concept The car was showcased on the 2022 Shopper Electronics Present. Final yr was spent engaged on discovering a approach to make use of the extra complicated model of E Ink in a car. And her Making his debut at i Vision Dee.

“It” is a showcase of know-how that features totally autonomous driving, digital actuality shows, and an AI-powered, witty voice assistant identified formally as Digital Emotional Expertise, or Dee for brief.

Together with Clarke, Dee helped debut the tinted E Ink system at a BMW keynote at CES 2023.

An automotive chameleon

Colours can change immediately because the idea sedan is showcased in a dizzying style. Consequently, the present model of the E Ink can deal with round 32 completely different colours, and the coating that BMW makes use of for the i Imaginative and prescient Dee is split into 240 completely different sections.

Even the automotive’s aerodynamic hubcaps used E Ink materials, which spins completely different colours like a high-tech roulette wheel.

BMW E Ink multicolor i Vision Dee at CES 2023
E Ink can immediately swap between practically three dozen completely different colours and even let a driver select one colour for the roof and one other for the hood, as proven right here.

Who’s in first place?

Whether or not BMW can actually declare to introduce the world’s first color-changing automotive could also be open to debate. The day earlier than the keynote speech, Volkswagen showcased a prototype of its new ID.7 battery electric vehicle At CES and it used a high-tech camouflage to cover a number of the sedan’s closing design particulars.

This camouflage was really a 40-layer electroluminescent paint that allowed the automaker to individually illuminate 22 completely different areas across the physique in numerous colours and patterns.

Nonetheless, it’s unlikely to succeed in manufacturing until the ID.7 system consumes a big quantity of vitality to function – not one thing that will make sense in an EV as it could scale back vary.

Manufacturing difficulties

VW ID7 Prototype - parked in the rear 3-4 in the open air
BMW cannot declare to be the primary to function the colour change function that VW used within the ID.7 idea.

As Kindle homeowners know, Clarke informed throughout a background briefing on the know-how late final yr that the E Ink is “very, very low powered.” “It solely wants vitality to vary the color,” he added, and the brand new hue stays the identical even if you flip off the car’s energy.

That does not imply you may go to your nearest BMW dealership and order a car wrapped in E Ink any time quickly. Though E Ink is extensively utilized in readers and different gadgets, it’s nonetheless in an early improvement stage for car utility, identical to different applied sciences present in i Imaginative and prescient Dee.

A brand new model must be developed that might cowl a car seamlessly. Proper now, it is a problem to work with whereas becoming the fabric into the curves and curves of a contemporary car. And it needs to be more durable than at present’s E Ink materials. When you get a rattle or scratch, it’s essential exchange your complete panel.

Whereas BMW officers refuse to place a price ticket on a car lined in E Ink, the know-how will not come low cost.

Nonetheless, Clarke mentioned it is “very doable” {that a} manufacturing model will ultimately be supplied that gives you the chance to “categorical your self by altering the colour of your automotive.”

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