Seiko Epson Corp. has developed the S1C17F57, a 16-bit microcontroller with a built-in driver optimized for small- and medium-sized segmented electronic paper displays (e-paper displays or EPDs) such as the E Ink SURF.
Epson plans to begin volume shipments in March 2011, with initial monthly production of one million units.
The S1C17F57 MCU has standard functions such as memory (ROM and RAM), timers, and serial interfaces and also includes embedded features such as a real-time clock, theoretical regulation, a segmented EPD driver, and a temperature sensor.
As a result, the device does not simply drive the display, but also corrects temperature effects that could potentially distort the image on the display thus maximizing the characteristics of an e-paper display with a single chip.
Power draw is 120nA in sleep mode and the MCU can be shipped as bare die 200-microns thick, making it suitable for applications in smart cards and other small mobile devices that demand long battery life and thin form factors.
Epson has also jointly developed with Citizen Seimitsu Co. Ltd an e-paper display module that integrates the S1C17F57. Citizen Seimitsu has already begun shipping this chip-on-flex (COF) module, and has attached an e-paper display that makes it easy for manufacturers to design e-paper products.
Epson simultaneously developed a series of low-power driver ICs, called the S1D14F50 series. Drawing 100 nA of power in deep standby mode, these driver ICs can expand the segment display domain when coupled with the S1C17F57. Since display circuitry optimized for driving EPDs is built-in, outstanding performance is also demonstrated even when used as a standalone driver IC.