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DIY Pixel Qi screens – available now!

by mary_lou_jepsen on July 1st, 2010

Well, we said we would release Pixel Qi screens to the DIY community at the end of Q2 and we are announcing today (June 30th) that we have! Screens are available at here at Make Magazine.

More details:

MAKE and Pixel Qi announced today the availability of a revolutionary LCD display technology from Pixel Qi–the 3Qi display. This one-of-a-kind, plug-and-play 10.1-inch display offers two modes–an easy-to-read, real color, multi-media mode or a crisp, low power e-reader mode. Indeed, the sunlight-ready, e-reader mode makes it easy to use outdoors. Best of all, the 3Qi display is on sale now at

Out of the box, these screens fit into a variety of 10.1-inch netbooks. These screens look like standard LCD screens in ordinary room light – but take them outside in the sunlight and see the difference! The Pixel Qi screens are bright and easy to see, even in direct sunlight. Like standard LCD displays, Pixel Qi displays show quality full-color images, full-motion video, and high screen brightness. Each pixel in the Pixel Qi screen is mainly reflective, but still has about the same efficiency as a standard LCD when backlit, enabling the user to experience a crisp image with excellent contrast and *brightness* in any light. The Pixel Qi screens consume 80% less power in the reflective mode making them a great choice for “green” applications. The screens are also ideally suited for e-reading applications, delivering better contrast ratio and similar reflectance typical of electrophoretic displays currently used by consumer e-reader tablets.

As of today these screens are available to the DIY community through O’Reilly Media’s MAKE magazine and its online DIY store Maker Shed. ( A listing of known compatible netbooks and devices is available at the Maker Shed website and all sales, distribution and support to the DIY community will be centered at Make.

Pixel Qi’s Founder and CEO Mary Lou Jepsen said, “We hope that by working with MAKE and the DIY community we collectively will spur innovation in ways we can’t ourselves imagine yet.”

Dan Woods, GM of MAKE’s Ecommerce said, “We’re seeing a lot of interest in making and modding tablets, netbooks and e-readers within the maker community, and we’re always looking for innovative new ways to help inspire and support DIY enthusiasts to take on new challenges. Getting a brand new technology like Pixel Qi’s screen into the hands of developers and makers who will do something unusual, compelling and unexpected with it is tremendously exciting to us. MAKE is not only uniquely positioned to stimulate widespread experimentation within the global maker community – from educators to artists; software developers to hardware hackers – but also to organize conversation around resulting projects.”

Changing the screen of your netbook is easy, the process takes about 5-10 minutes using a small screwdriver. It’s simple: 2-4 screws have to be removed to allow unsnapping of the front plastic bezel. Once that step is done, removal of another few screws allows the screen to be unlatched and its cable disconnected. Next, the Pixel Qi screen is plugged in, screwed in, and the bezel snapped back in place. That’s it.

Although “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it” is the motto of MAKE magazine and “Void Your Warranty” is viewed more as encouragement than as an admonition – makers are nonetheless cautioned that disassembling your electronic device (e.g. netbook, tablet, etc) will likely void any warranty. Use the Pixel Qi Screen as a DIY project at your own risk. Pixel Qi, MAKE, and Maker Shed are not liable for any damage that may occur.

About Pixel Qi

Pixel Qi Corporation has pioneered a new class of screens combining an e-paper look with color and video. These screens offer dramatically lower power consumption, full sunlight readability, and stunning text rendering for reading. The screens use standard LCD manufacturing equipment and materials with a full suite of new inventions to give users real benefits they can see. Pixel Qi is a spin-off of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and was founded by its former CTO Mary Lou Jepsen. Pixel Qi believes that the future of computing is all about the screen and is dedicated to continuously delivering innovative screen technologies rapidly into high volume mass production.

About MAKE

MAKE magazine brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life. MAKE is loaded with exciting projects that help you make the most of your technology at home and away from home. We celebrate your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.

Published as a quarterly since February 2005, MAKE is a hybrid magazine/book (known as a mook in Japan). MAKE comes from O’Reilly, the Publisher of Record for geeks and tech enthusiasts everywhere. It follows in line with the Hacks books and Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks, but it takes a highly visual and personal approach.

Our premiere issue showed you how to get involved in kite aerial photography — taking pictures with a camera suspended from a kite — and how to build an inexpensive rig to hold your camera.

We’ve also shown you how to make a video camera stabilizer, a do-it-yourself alternative to an expensive Steadicam® and how to create a five-in-one cable adapter for connecting to networks. Some projects are strictly for fun, others are very practical, and still others are absolutely astounding.

About O’Reilly Media, Inc.

O’Reilly Media is the premier information resource for technology innovation. Since 1978, business leaders and geeks alike have relied on the company’s books, conferences, and web sites to illuminate new computer technologies around the globe. The O’Reilly Radar has consistently proven reliable in predicting successful industry growth areas, leading to the widespread adoption of many emerging technologies. O’Reilly has been instrumental in putting the coolness in Geek.

  1. flarets permalink

    awesome. bought one.

  2. Jose permalink

    Thank you Mary Lou. It seems my Acer Aspire one won’t work yet though, not a Samsumg or Lenovo.

    My question is: How to make it work on Ubuntu? Just connecting and go?

  3. emellaich permalink


    As long as I am dreaming, my dream for replacement LCD’s would be a pixel qi screen using gorilla glass and designed as a replacement for my android smartphone.

  4. flarets permalink

    As a warning to others: the Lenovo S10-3 will *not* accommodate this screen. Not only is the screen *too physically big* to fit but the plug is in a different place. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  5. foxcatalyst permalink

    I am not familiar with LCD manufacturers scheduled contracts, but it seems weird that we (customers) can not buy Pixel qi screens installed into new netbooks/tablets/notebooks at the moment. Why LG or Samsung are not interested in this technology? Are they developing something else on their own? Do they envy 3qi the technology? Or just is it a matter of money and connections?

    It seems that there are no economy of scale benefits now since the screen cost 275 USD – and despite the fact that pioneers pay always more than late customers – it is still too pricy.

    One month ago I have taken a part in the ICT conference in CEE country where one manufacturer has presented his solutions for kids (like XO laptops -But the solution were based on LCD and obsolete platform). I have noticed that so many people are unaware of Pixel qi and OLPC existence in the heart of Europe, that this situation creates a lot of opportunities for good businessmen. ;)

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