The Inkplate line of devices are programmable, WiFi-ready E Ink displays that can be used for a variety of applications. With prices starting at $99, open hardware designs, and screens that are recycled from older Kindle eReaders, the project ticks a lot of boxes for hardware hackers looking for a low-power, high-contrast display.

Now the folks at e-radionica are getting ready to release a new model that’ll be the first with a display that’s front-lit and it’s also the first to support touch input. The Inkplate 6Plus is available for pre-order from Crowd Supply for $159 and up, and it should begin shipping to backers in November, 2021.

Like the original Inkplate 6 (which was introduced in 2019) and last year’s larger model, the InkPlate 10, the new model features a recycled Kindle screen attached to an all-in-one board with an integrated ESP32 microcontroller, WiFi, and Bluetooth as well as a microSD card reader for storage.

The new model consumes as little as 22 μA of power while sleeping, but thanks to the E Ink display, it can show a static image indefinitely and only wake when it’s time to change the contents of the screen.

While the Inkplate 6PLUS does not have a built-in battery, you should be able to plug in a USB power bank for weeks or even months of battery life on a charge. Or you can just plug it into the wall using a USB power adapter.

The USB port can also be used for programming – the Inkplate 6PLUS supports Arduino libraries, allowing you to turn the screen into a digital art frame, an info panel, or anything else.

Compared with the original Inkplate 6, the new 6PLUS has a higher-resolution display, support for 2-point multitouch input, and a front-light. It also consumes slightly less power while sleeping, and while the per-pixel screen refresh rate is higher, it does take a fraction of a second longer to fully refresh the display since there are more pixels.

Here’s a comparison of all Inkplate models to date:

Inkplate 6PLUSInkplate 6Inkplate 10
Screen Size6″6″9.7″
Resolution1024 x 758800 x 6001200 x 825
Total number of pixel776,192480,000990,000
Front-lightYes, controllableNoNo
All-in-one BoardYesYesYes
Low-Power Mode22 μA25 μA22 μA
Battery ChargerYesYesYes
MicroSD slotYesYesYes
Partial UpdateYesYesYes
Refresh Time~1.35 s1.26 s1.61 s
Refresh Time per Pixel~1.74 μ2.63 μs1.62 μs

The $159 price tag gets you an InkPlate 6Plus electronic paper display, board, touch panel, and backlight. You can also pay an extra $20 for a version that will ship with a 3D printed enclosure.

Or if you don’t need the new features, you can pick up one of the older models – the original Inkplate 6 sells for $99 and up, while the Inkplate 10 starts at $139.

This article was originally published April 30, 2021 and last updated June 2, 2021. 

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