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BMW i5 pays tribute to Esther Mahlangu art car

E Ink Prism was used to animate the colours of the car during the unveiling of a tribute to the legendary South African artist’s 1991 project.

A unique automotive and technological tribute marked the unveiling of the BMW i5 Flow Nostokana at the Frieze Los Angeles art fair earlier this month. E Ink, the pioneer of ePaper technology, used E Ink Prism 3 in the tribute to the 1991 Esther Mahlangu Art Car, also known as BMW Art Car #12.

“Seeing the BMW i5 Flow Nostokana creates a visceral reaction and challenges spectators to think about the possibility of color ePaper,” said Johnson Lee, CEO of E Ink. “Collaborating with a company like the BMW Group on the Homage Car demonstrates how our technology can transform the way surfaces are experienced, enabling product personalization and self-expression. E Ink Prism 3 is fully programmable, low power, and durable, making it ideal for creating dynamic and sustainable designs on any surface.”

Directly inspired by the South African artist Esther Mahlangu, the BMW i5 Flow Nostokana is an amalgamation of artistic design and technology innovation that features segments of ePaper that can be electronically animated. The structure and arrangement of the color particles can be changed by applying an electric charge, bringing to life a previously static surface into a constantly changing composition.

BMW and E Ink’s ongoing collaboration is helping drive rapid color-changing innovation and adoption. The BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink presented at CES 2022 had the ability to switch from black to white at the push of a button. The black-and-white concept evolved in 2023 into the first multi-color automobile implementation of E Ink’s Prism 3 technology with the BMW i Vision Dee. The 240 segments on the BMW i Vision Dee were able to display up to 32 different colors and potentially tens of thousands of pattern combinations. With respect to the original design, the BMW i5 Flow Nostokana has been outfitted with 1,349 segments that can be individually controlled, enabling even more colors and pattern designs.

E Ink’s display technology is ultra-low power because it is bistable. Furthermore, E Ink’s ePaper technology is the most energy-efficient display medium and is enabling partners to create sustainable solutions for various sectors. Due to the technology’s low energy consumption, durability, and flexibility, E Ink’s has been used in a wide range of products, such as eReaders, cell phones, medical devices, logistics labels, and transportation and information signs.

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