The Inkplate 4 TEMPERA is a small electronic paper display that packs a whole bunch of features that could make it an interesting option for DIY electronics projects.
It has a 3.8 inch, 600 x 600 pixel E Ink touchscreen display with a front-light, a built-in battery for portable operation, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and an ESP32 microcontroller plus a whole bunch of sensors. It’s now available for pre-order through a Crowd Supply crowdfunding campaign for $149 and up.
The base model has a plastic cover over the display, while you can also opt for a $169 model with a glass cover. Both are expected to ship March 29, 2023, and both come with free shipping to the United States, or $12 shipping to anywhere else in the world.
And both are limited edition devices: there will only ever be 300 Inkplate 4 TEMPERA plastic units, and 370 models with glass screens.
That’s because the one of the key components used to make the Inkplate 4 TEMPERA is only available in limited supply: the screen was “originally made by E Ink Corporation for a now-discontinued product,” and so there are no plans to manufacturer any more versions of this gadget after the production run for the crowdfunding campaign.
The Inkplate 4 TEMPERA is the latest in a line of Inkplate-branded devices from Soldered Electronics that incorporate recycled or repurposed ePaper displays. The original Inkplate 6 that was unveiled nearly four years ago used a recycled Amazon Kindle display, for example.
A few things make the new Inkplate 4 TEMPERA stand out from the company’s previous models. It’s the first with:
- A built-in 1200 mAh battery for standalone operation without a power supply
- Accelerometer and gyroscope (LSM6DS3)
- Temperature, humidity, air pressure, and air quality sensor (BME688)
- Gesture sensor (APDS-9960)
- Sound output (buzzer)
It also has a quicker screen refresh rate than some other models, with partial refresh times of 0.18 seconds (or a little faster than five frames per second) and full screen refresh rates times of 0.86 seconds.
So what are you supposed to actually do with this thing? It’s programmable via Arduino and MicroPython tools, and Soldered Electronics lists some possible uses for the palm-sized, battery-powered ePaper display, including:
- Digital art frame that pulls images from an SD card or the internet
- DIY eBook reader
- Smart home controller
- Interactive calendar
- Weather, news headline, or stock tracking display
Soldered Electronics has already released the software source code, and the company plans to release hardware design files under an open source license soon as well.
The E Ink display is a 3-bit grayscale screen that can show black, white, and six shades of display. You can also enable a 1-bit black and white only mode though. There’s an LED front light that makes the screen easier to see in dimply lit settings.
Other features include an ESP32 microcontroller with 8MB of flash storage and 4MB or RAM, support for WiFi and Bluetooth LE wireless connections, a USB-C port for power and programming, and a microSD card reader.
The whole thing measures 90 x 83 x 24mm (3.54 x 3.27 x 0.94″).
You can find more details at Crowd Supply.