E Ink screens can display a static image indefinitely without consuming any power. So while they’re probably best known for their use in eBook readers, they’ve become increasingly popular options for digital signage such as price tags.

But one hacker came up with another use for small E Ink displays: photography. Cameron Dowd’s e-paper instant camera is like a modern Polaroid camera that saves images to an electronic paper display rather than instant film.

The camera is basically a small handheld design that combines an OV2640 camera, a custom circuit board with an ESP32 microcontroller, and a custom body that’s 3D printed, painted, and outfitted with a custom grip featuring a “wood textile” finish. There’s an 18650 battery cell for power, a USB-C port for charging, and an LED status indicator light.

And the “film?” It’s a 4.2 inch 400 x 300 pixel, NFC-powered e-paper module from Waveshare.

Place that module in the spot where other cameras would normally have a viewfinder Then all you have to do is click a button on the camera body to take a picture. The image will be sent to the e-paper module via an NFC connection. And then you can take the module and stick it on your refrigerator, put it on your mantel, or display it anywhere else you’d like to show off your grainy black and white photo.

The only catch? You can only store one image at a time. The next time you want to take a picture you’ll overwrite the previous image and it will be gone forever.

Is this a practical replacement for the smartphone camera you probably already have? Of course not. But it’s a pretty cool use of Waveshare’s $44 display.

You can find more details about the e-paper instant camera at HackADay, or check out the source code for the camera’s software at GitHub.

via HackADay

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3 replies on “This DIY e-paper instant camera is like a digital polaroid (for ephemeral photos)”

    1. Don’t you think that drawing bullshit false equivalencies means you’re desperate to appear smug?

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