Innovation of the week
License plates have remained “virtually unchanged vestiges from the dawn of the automobile,” said Eric Taub in The New York Times. No longer. The California company Reviver Auto is swapping out “old-fashioned stamped plates for digital screens.” The plates, which are connected to a cellular network, have a screen that “can display anything,” including vanity plates or a warning if a car is stolen. Businesses can also display ads on the plates when a car is parked, “even targeting a vehicle’s particular location because the plate is connected to GPS.” The 2-pound unit uses electronic ink technology similar to that of eBook readers like Amazon’s Kindle, but the dust-and-water–sealed screens used in the license plates can withstand wind and rain. Reviver has now begun a pilot program in California, though the first plates come with a hefty price of $699, plus an annual fee.