Folks have been hacking Amazon Kindle devices for years, using them as E Ink monitors or thermometers, among other things. But the Inkplate 6 project goes a few steps further by recycling the E Ink screens from old Kindles and transforming them into versatile, programmable displays with WiFi and Bluetooth support.
The creators of the project have launched a crowdfunding campaign at Crowd Supply and if all goes according to plan, folks who pay $99 for an Inkplate 6 should receive the device in April, 2020.
While the recycled Kindle screen is the first thing that stands out about the Inkplate 6, it wouldn’t be very useful without some additional hardware. So in addition to a 6 inch, 800 x 600 pixel e-paper display, the device consists of:
- ESP32 WROVER microcontroller with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, a dual-core processor, 8MP of RAM, and 4MB of flash storage
- MicroSD card reader for stroage
- Three capacitive touch pads for input
- Micro USB port for power and/or data
- GPIO pins
The system is programmable using Adruino IDE and MycroPython, allowing you to program it to use in a variety of ways. For example, you could make your own eReader that’s not subject to the same restrictions as a Kindle. You could make a grayscale digital photo frame. You could create a E Ink typewriter/word processor. Or you could use the Inkplate 6 for DIY digital signage.
The Inkplate 6 is also open hardware — meaning it’s powered by open source software and the design files for the project are all available. You can find all of the documentation at github.