DailyPi Is a Simple E Ink Home Dashboard

Olivier Simard-Hanley’s DailyPi is an E Ink home dashboard that can provide information from any services the user likes.

As we dive further into home automation and the IOTification of our living spaces, it becomes increasingly necessary to implement some means of keeping track of everything. You might have a server somewhere that knows the state of every device in your home, your complete daily schedule, and everything important that will happen throughout the day, but how much good is that doing you if you don’t have an easy way to view that that information? Olivier Simard-Hanley’s DailyPi is a simple E Ink home dashboard that can help.

DailyPi’s large E Ink screen sits unobtrusively in a picture frame, so it is easy to customize to suit a home’s decor. That screen can display information like the day’s weather conditions, tasks, device states, shopping lists, or anything else with available data that the user can access. It gets its power from a battery, so it isn’t tethered to the placement of outlets. And it should work with just about any IoT or home automation ecosystem, so long as the user has the requisite programming skill to access their APIs.

This is clever, because the hardware is minimal and doesn’t need much processing power. As presented, DailyPi contains a Raspberry Pi Zero W. But this would work even with a basic microcontroller that has a Wi-Fi adapter. The screen is a Waveshare 7.5” ePaper display and power comes from a PiSugar2 battery module.

The reason that this works without a lot of processing power is because the DailyPi device isn’t doing anything other than downloading and displaying a PNG image. A web app hosted on Google Cloud Run does all of the real work. It connects to any relevant APIs and pulls data from them. Then it generates the PNG image and makes it available at a fixed URL. The DailyPi hardware only needs to check that URL at regular intervals to download the new image.

This is an ideal use of cloud computing, because it reduces the load on local hardware. A Raspberry Pi Zero W could probably do the processing without issue, but DailyPi would also work with an ESP8266 — or really any microcontroller that has Wi-Fi. That would consume far less power without any functionality sacrifices, thereby increasing battery life.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Proud husband and dog dad. Maker and serial hobbyist.
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