E-Paper Raspberry Pi Terminal Display

As creator Jouko Strömmer AKA “joukos” puts it, “Kindles and the like have been around for a long time already, but there have been very…

Jeremy S. Cook
a year ago

As creator Jouko Strömmer AKA “joukos” puts it, “Kindles and the like have been around for a long time already, but there have been very few attempts at a general purpose e-ink display.” These devices fill the niche of static text display brilliantly, consuming a tiny amount of power without the glare experienced while using normal displays.

The drawbacks are that they are generally monochrome (though some do feature red as well as black), and that they have a slow refresh rate — not appropriate for videos or gaming. However, since many of us spend a large amount of time reading and editing static text, Strömmer wrote a Python module to show the contents of a Linux virtual terminal on the readily-available Waveshare e-paper display. The routine is designed to be used with Raspberry Pi, and refreshes fast enough to run console programs. More importantly, it includes a cursor display that’s updated as it moves, allowing you to place characters in the correct location.

As of now the program isn’t perfect, yet it appears to be entirely usable as shown in the video below. Strömmer has generously released the code as public domain, with the hope that someone (you?) could improve upon it. Perhaps we’ll see this as the basis for a semi-static display system in the future, or maybe even a full-fledged e-reader or tablet!

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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