There’s no shortage of devices designed for reading eBooks. But whether you’re using a Kindle, Kobo, or Nook device or something else entirely, you’re probably running proprietary software on proprietary hardware.
The Open Book Project is an effort to build… something more open. It’s still a work in progress, but the design files are shared at github which means that not only can anyone try to build their own, but you can also modify the designs to add or remove features.
Castillo says the software is still under development, but as of November, the “Open Book board is probably 90% of the way there.” While the board needs to be custom printed, the bill of materials for all the other necessary components is available at github, showing that it takes about $60 in parts to assemble an Open Book Feather device.
There’s also a cheaper E-Book Feather Wing, but it lacks some features including support for stereo audio output (it’s mono only) and a microphone.
Both versions feature 4.2 inch, 400 x 300 pixel electronic paper displays, microSD card readers for storage, headphone jacks, and 7 buttons for navigation.
Models with mic support can be used not only as eReaders and/or MP3 and audiobook players, but they can also be programmed to support voice input.
One thing that sets the Open Book Project apart from most DIY hardware projects? Not only is there plenty of documentation available online, but there’s documentation printed right onto the board itself.
On the back, each section of the board is clearly labeled, and there’s tiny text that explains exactly what hardware is used and other things you may need to know including voltage, pin layout, and more.
The front of the device, meanwhile, has assembly instructions.
Finally, I love this bit: the front of the PCB now contains detailed step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the book. Final step: “If you see the screen refresh, you’re done! Secure the screen to this area with double sided tape; you don’t need this documentation anymore.” pic.twitter.com/oX6iOSgc84
— joey castillo (@josecastillo) November 28, 2019
You can see a prototype Open Book Feather board in action at about the 15 minute mark in a recent Adafruit Show and Tell video:
Or see what it takes to assemble one in a time-lapse video from Joey Castillo:
— joey castillo (@josecastillo) December 20, 2019