The Inkplate 2 Is a Tiny, Self-Contained Espressif ESP32-Based Arduino-Compatible IoT ePaper Display

Compatible with the Arduino IDE, MicroPython, or straight UART control, this teeny-tiny smart display is a flexible IoT friend.

E-Radonica and Soldered Electronics have launched a crowdfunding campaign for another ePaper Internet of Things (IoT) smart display — and it's the Inkplate family's smallest model yet, with a 2.13" three-color display attached to a dual-core Espressif ESP32 microcontroller.

"The Inkplate 2 is an Arduino-compatible board that features a 2.13" three-color ePaper display," Soldered explains of its latest Inkplate release, which despite its numerical suffix is actually teh fifth model in the line-up. "It is a Plug 'n' Play device, programmable via USB port, and controlled by ESP32 microcontroller. Moreover, it connects to the internet via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth."

The Inkplate family gets simultaneously bigger and smaller with the unveiling of the Inkplate 2. (📹: Soldered Electronics)

The Inkplate 2 is by far the smallest model in the range, which had previously bottomed out at the 5.85" Inkplate 6 Color, with a screen diagonal of just 2.13" and a resolution of 212×104. Offering black and red "inks" with the usual ePaper off-white background, the three-color display offers a range of possible use-cases — with Soldered suggesting a compact calendar, stock ticker, low-resolution picture frame, weather monitor, or sensor dashboard as staring ideas.

Behind the display is an Espressif ESP32-WROVER-E module, with a dual-core microcontroller, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios, plus 4MB of RAM and 8MB of flash storage. A USB Type-C port provides power and data connectivity, with support for battery charging — and there's a Qwiic-compatible "easyC" connector for external I2C devices, plus all available general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins brought out to an unpopulated header at the top of the board.

On the software side, the display has been added to the same Inkplate Arduino library as its bigger brethren — a fork of the Adafruit GFX library, for those familiar. Alternatively, the Inkplate 2 offers MicroPython support plus "peripheral mode" for sending commands over a serial link to change the display contents directly from any UART-capable device.

The Inkplate 2 is crowdfunding on Kickstarter in three variants: the base model is priced at $45, or $27 for early bird backers, and comes with a USB cable; a $45 tier, $37 for early bird backers, adds a 3D-printed enclosure; and a $55 tier, $45 for Early Bird backers, adds a 500mAh lithium-ion battery. All hardware is expected to begin shipping in March to April 2023.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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