Over the past few years e-radionica has launched a series of WiFi-enabled, hacker-friendly E Ink displays powered by ESP32 microcontrollers. The original InkPlate 6 used recycled Kindle displays, while the InkPlate 10 uses larger screens taken from a variety of eReaders.
But the new Inkplate 6COLOR is the first to feature a color E Ink display with support for 7 colors (black, white, red, yellow, blue, green, and orange). You can reserve one for a pledge of $99 or more through a Crowd Supply crowdfunding campaign, and the InkPlate 6COLOR is expected to begin shipping to backers in September, 2022.
While there’s always some risk involved in backing a crowdfunding campaign, e-radionica has a pretty good track record of delivering crowdfunding products. This is the company’s fourth Inkplate-branded device and all of the previous models were initially funded through successful Crowd Supply campaigns.
In addition to being the company’s first Inkplate with a color screen, this is the first model that doesn’t use a recycled display. Instead e-radionica is using E Ink’s AC057TC1 display, which is a 5.56 inch, 600 x 448 pixel display with 132 pixels per inch. Each pixel can display one of seven colors.
This sort of color E Ink display is geared toward things like digital signage (think supermarket price tags) than consumer products like eReaders (for which E Ink’s Kaleido displays with support for 4096 colors might be more appropriate).
With an official full-screen refresh rate of 25 seconds, this display is clearly not designed for games or videos, but e-radionica says the real-world refresh times are closer to 11 seconds, which could make the display appropriate for DIY projects like task trackers, info panels, or digital art displays.
The company describes the display as a 5.8 inch screen, which makes it sound a little larger than the 5.6 inch display described in E Ink’s marketing materials, but I think that might just be the difference between the total display area and the active display area (there’s a bit of a bezel around the screen).
The Inkplate 6COLOR comes on a board with an ESP32 microcontroller, microSD card reader, USB-C port for power and programming, three touch input pads, a real-time clock, a user wake button, and GPIO pins, among other features.
You can find more details, or reserve one at Crowd Supply. The board + display are going for $99, or you can pay an extra $20 for a kit that includes 3D-printed enclosure.