Without seeing BMW’s new second-generation E Ink technology, it can be hard to visualize how it works. Just reading that it has 240 different color changing panels, with a 32-color gamut, can be a bit bewildering. Which is why we’re thankful we had the chance not only see the new BMW color changing car in person but get a first-hand lesson from the person who ran the project, Dr. Stella Clarke.
Clarke was the project lead on last year’s first-generation E Ink tech, which debuted at CES almost a year ago to the day, and she’s the project lead on this new second-gen tech. Last year, she hinted that there was the capability for a more advanced version, with more panels and a wider color gamut. And she wasn’t kidding because now it’s here. In this video, Clarke walks Horatiu through the new BMW color changing car to show off just how vast its color-changing capabilities are.
In the video, Clarke not only explains how it works, how much energy it consumes (spoiler alert: very little), and what the possibilities are, she actually shows it off in real time. With an app on her phone, she’s able to change the colors on the spot, make it do little color dances, and completely transform the look of the car. It’s incredibly cool to see.
When you see it in photos, it can look like a production car’s body. In the video, however, when you’re up close and personal with it, you can see that the E Ink panels aren’t exactly like car panels. Clarke says they’re sort of like thick cardboard. However, the technology is improving and Clarke’s team will likely be able to make more usable panels moving forward, as she says robustness is the key for production-ready versions.
Is E Ink a practical technology at the moment? No not really. Is it very cool and something worth exploring? Absolutely. Check it out.