Rohit and Prasad's Paperd.ink Is an Open Source Smart ePaper Display, Powered by an ESP32

Compact board will be programmable in the Arduino IDE, MicroPython, and Espressif ESP-IDF, the pair claim.

The engineer duo of Rohit and Prasad is crowdfunding for an open source smart ePaper display powered by an Espressif ESP32 microcontroller, housed in a 3D-printed case: paperd.ink.

"We’re makers, hackers, tinkerers at heart with a love for open source technologies," the pair write by way of introduction to themselves and their project. "paperd.ink is our passion project which we’ve been working on for more than 1.5 years."

"paperd.ink is a 4.2" ePaper development board to showcase calendar, weather, to-do lists, notifications, images, and much more. The beautiful display allows you to get rid of all distractions and work peacefully. Since it's open source and fully hackable, you can play around and customize it for yourself!"

The paperd.ink aims to be an easy-to-use connected display, with some clever features. (📹: Rohit and Prasad)

The 400x300 monochrome display is housed on a custom circuit board, host to an Espressif ES32-WROOM-32 module that provides a dual-core processor running at 240MHz, 520kB of static RAM (SRAM), and 4MB of SPI flash plus 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity.

On top of this, the pair have included a CP2104 USB-UART bridge for programming, a microSD card slot for storage, a piezoelectric buzzer for notifications and alerts, four tactile buttons, a battery charger, and a holder for a 2Ah lithium-polymer battery. If that weren't enough, there's an extension header which breaks out UART, SPI, I2C, eight general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, and offers the ability to disable the ESP32 module or the entire board — while the ePaper display will retain the current image indefinitely.

"We're selling two versions of our product — with enclosure and without enclosure," the pair explain. "You can download the STEP files from our GitHub repository to 3D print your own if you decide to go with the latter. Or even design your own!"

To be released under an open source license, the paperd.ink includes support for custom programming written in the Arduino IDE, MicroPython, or ESP-IDF, while the stock firmware includes an application programming interface (API) for calendar, to-do list, and weather information.

Rohit and Prasad and funding production of the paperd.ink, which is currently in the functional prototype stage, on Indiegogo at €59 for the basic board or €69 with 3D-printed housing (around $70 and $82 respectively.) Both are expected to ship in December this year, if all goes well.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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