Portal is one of the most well-reviewed video games of all time, thanks to its clever gameplay and dry humor. If you’ve ever heard someone say “the cake is a lie,” then you were probably talking to a Portal fan. As you move through the game, which takes place in a scientific testing center, each new room contains a sign with the level number and pictogramsdepicting the content of the room. The signs’ art style is a fun play on sterile real world warnings and has become iconic itself. Redditor Wuspy used that Portal sign artwork for this gorgeous digital E Ink calendar.
Like every good calendar, this one displays the date and day of the week. That information fits perfectly into the artwork, with the month spelled out at the top, the day of the month in huge numbers below that, and the day of the week below that. It also displays the day of the month beside the number of days in the month, as well as a tally of the days. Below that are the various symbols from the game, which we assume the sign highlights at random. Finally, the bottom of the sign shows the famous Aperture Science logo. Another mode shows weather information using conventional icons in place of the gamepictograms.
The entire device runs on four AAA batteries and Wuspy says that those should be enough for it to run for at least a year. That seems optimistic, but it may be possible. The display is a 7.5” E Ink model from Waveshare, which is perfect for low-power applications as it only draws current when the display refreshes. Since that only occurs once a day in calendar mode, the display consumes very little power. An EZSBC ESP32 development board controls the display, waking up from deep sleep twice per day to sync the time through NTP (Network Time Protocol), sync the weather information through OpenWeatherMap, and update the display.
All of the components reside inside of a 3D-printed enclosure that looks like a simple black picture frame and mounts to the wall. Because E Ink screens look like paper, most people wouldn’t even realize that this is an electronic device and not just a printed piece of art owned by a Portal fan. If you want to build your own Portal calendar, Wuspy published the files on GitHub.