How the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight glows

The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is a tempting e-reader from Barnes & Noble. It’s incredibly lightweight, small and portable. Every time I visit B&N, I’m tempted to buy one. The backlight is a nice advantage over Amazon’s Kindle, which lacks such a feature. But how does it work? The good folks at iFixit found out when they took at NOOK Simple Touch apart.

There are eight evenly-spaced LED lights across the top of the NOOK’s screen, and that’s it. Nothing on the bottom or sides. So how is the whole display illuminated evenly? A light diffraction grating built into the glass display does the trick. iFixit explains:

“This diffraction grating bends and disperses the light throughout the screen. Barnes & Noble really did their homework on this one, because instead of a simple linear diffraction grating (think of a bunch of parallel slits), it appears that the diffraction grating varies throughout the glass to evenly disperse the light.”

There’s a great example of constraints fostering creativity. Well done, NOOK team.