The paperd.ink smart ePaper display has begun shipping, after an initial crowdfunding campaign faltered only for the project to be saved by a FOSSUnited grant — and its co-creator says demand is strong with half the inventory sold within the first day.
Engineering duo Rohit and Prasad unveiled the paperd.ink in June last year, promising an easy-to-use low-power sunlight-readable ePaper display in an attractive 3D-printed case. Based on a 4.2" panel, the paperd.ink was to be driven by an Espressif ESP32 microcontroller — and the whole project was to be published under an open source license following the successful completion of a crowdfunding campaign.
Said campaign, however, failed to reach its goal — but the project didn't end there. "While our Indiegogo campaign won't be successful," co-creator Prasad told backers at the end of the campaign, "rest assured we would be fulfilling all the orders we have gotten so far. We got a grant through FOSS United so now we are in a position to manufacture and deliver paperd.ink to you!"
A non-profit founded in 2020, the FOSS United Foundation was formed to encourage the adoption of free and open source software and hardware ideals for projects in India. "India is now a hub of startups, innovative consumer software, developer communities, and large-scale technological infrastructure," its founders explain. "However, somewhere along the lines, the spirit of FOSS and hacking seems to have been overshadowed."
One of the ways FOSS United supports projects is with grant funding — and it's this funding, which has allowed Rohit and Prasad to finally launch their creation. "We are shipping the first batch of paperd.ink," Prasad tells us via email, "and have already sold half of our inventory within 24 hours of launch."
As promised, the final paperd.ink is a 4.2" smart ePaper display with a bundled 3D-printed case and an ESP32 module inside offering processing capabilities along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. Programming via the Arduino IDE, MicroPython, or ESP-IDF are all supported, while there's a piezo buzzer for notifications and a microSD slot for additional storage — but you'll have to supply your own battery.
More details are available on the paperd.ink website, where the device is available to order for $89 with free global shipping; true to the pair's word, the PCB design files have been published to GitHub under the permissive Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license along with the 3D-printable enclosure design.