Inkplate 6

by e-radionica

Versatile, easy-to-use, Wi-Fi-enabled e-paper display

Crowdfunding Page History

This page is an archive of the original crowdfunding campaign for this project. It may not be up-to-date with the latest updates and product availability. Return to the current project page.

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$99

Inkplate 6

One Inkplate 6, fully assembled and ready for use.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

Geeky Gadgets

"Developers, makers and electronic enthusiasts patiently waiting for the arrival of the Inkplate 6 ESP32-powered e-paper display will be pleased to know that it is now available"

Linux Magazine

"Combining open firmware with recycled hardware, Inkplate launches a crowdfunding campaign for an open source e-paper display."

Hackster News

"Featuring an ESP32 WROVER microcontroller on a board with three capacitive touch inputs, the Inkplate 6 aims to make ePaper displays easy."

Liliputing

"Folks have been hacking Amazon Kindle devices for years... The Inkplate 6 project goes a few steps further by recycling the E Ink screens from old Kindles and transforming them into versatile, programmable displays with WiFi and Bluetooth support."

CNXSoft - Embedded Systems News

"The 6″ e-Paper display can easily be updated over WiFi, and used for a variety of applications or projects such as high-latency digital signage displays, collaborative task trackers, e-Paper typewriters, open-hardware E-readers, art projects and so on."

Heise Online

"Wer Amazon kritisch sieht, aber Interesse an der E-Paper-Technologie des Kindle hat, der kann sich über das Inkplate freuen..."

Hackster News

"We got this screen from Crowd Supply...and we can't put it down. It's a fantastic platform for learning to code graphics, using the Adafruit GFX library and beyond!"

Built on ESP32 & programmable with Arduino IDE or MicroPython

A powerful, Wi-Fi enabled ESP32 microcontroller makes this six-inch e-paper display – recycled from a Kindle e-reader – incredibly easy to control. Just plug in a USB cable, open Arduino IDE, and change the contents of the screen with few lines of code.

There’s Just Something About E-Paper

If you’re like us, the first time you saw an e-reader, you thought to yourself, "I could do something with that." Thanks to clean lines, high contrast, daylight readability, and the remarkable level of energy efficiency that comes from drawing power only when changing the contents of the screen, e-paper is uniquely suited to many applications.

After experimenting with the handful of readily available e-paper screens, however, we just couldn’t shake the sense that none of them was really a finished product. We had to wire them up to external microcontrollers, learn device-specific commands to update their screens, locate hard-to-find sample code, cobble together our own power management, and provide whatever interfaces our project ideas might require. It was a mess.

E is for Easy

With Inkplate 6, our goal is to make e-paper accessible to hobbyists and DIY product designers by offering a plug-and-play hardware platform that has it all:

  • A 6-inch, 800x600 pixel e-paper display with support for greyscale, partial updates, and accelerated refresh cycles
  • An on-board ESP32 microcontroller with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE)
  • Extremely low-energy, battery- or USB-powered operation (including a 25 µA sleep state) that wrings days, weeks, or months out of a single charge
  • A MicroSD card reader from which Inkplate 6 can pull images to display
  • Three capacitive touch pads
  • A form factor that's optimized for the design of custom enclosures
  • Additional GPIO pins, easyC/Qwiic compatibility, and support for I²C and SPI
  • Arduino libraries (100% compatible with Adafruit GFX) and a MicroPython module that facilitate the rendering of text, images, and line art

Limited Only by Your Imagination

Here is a random sampling of things you might want to see hanging from your wall, sitting on your desk, stuck to your refrigerator, tucked away in your bag, or surrounded by a custom frame:

  • High Latency Information Panel - Show calendar, temperature, weather, and air quality data. Track your stocks, learn a new word each day, display information about whatever song is playing, or tally up your likes on social media (if you must). Download updates, and only hit the battery when you do.
  • Collaborative Task Tracker - Maintain shared lists of groceries to buy, chores to do, and birthdays to remember. Or replace the power-hungry wall monitor in your office with an e-paper kanban on each desk. Give away your dry-erase markers.
  • Minimalist E-Paper Typewriter - Get those words out. Sync them to the cloud or store them on an SD card. And keep distractions like social media and email away from your line-of-sight.
  • Open Hardware E-Reader - Sweep aside the barriers put in place by restrictive, centralized platforms and e-read whatever you want.
  • Art - Frame photographs pulled from an SD card or an online cameraroll, sure, but why not generate abstract art from sensor data? Or torment your house guests with a modern take on the classic, four shot, black-and-white photobooth?

Whatever your e-paper idea might be, as long as it’s compatible with a six inch screen, Inkplate 6 probably represents your quickest path to it. And even if you’re working toward something larger or smaller, Inkplate 6 can still save you some headaches while you’re prototyping.

Kindles Have Nice Screens

We’d rather see them in your hands than in a landfill somewhere. And by recycling used Kindle screens, we are able to offer high-end features at an affordable price. You can find more information in the comparison table below, but some of the highlights include:

  • 3-Bit Greyscale, which allows Inkplate 6 to display black, white, and six different

shades of grey (1-bit black & white mode also available)

  • 264 ms Refresh, which is unusually fast for an e-paper screen of this size
  • Partial Updates, so you don't have to reset the entire screen to add content

Fast Partial Updates

ESP32 is the Place to Be

Inkplate 6 is built around one of today’s most popular microcontrollers. If you already have experience working with ESP32, then you’re in good company. Developing for Inkplate 6 should feel mighty familiar. And if you’re new to ESP32, this is a great way to start learning a set of skills that will serve you well for a long time to come.

The ESP32 WROVER module at the heart of Inkplate 6 features:

  • A dual-core microprocessor
  • 8 MB of RAM
  • 4 MB of flash
  • Integrated Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE)

Help Us Build an Open E-Paper Community

Inkplate 6 is open hardware, and the software that powers it is open source. You can find both our design files and our source code on GitHub. That includes:

Our MicroPython module remains a work-in-progress, as does the datasheet for our board, but we will have both online by the time you receive your Inkplate 6.

We have already done a great deal of work to make Inkplate 6 easy to use, but a larger community could accomplish even more. Inkplate’s Arduino and MicroPython ecosystems will only get healthier over time, and we invite you to contribute to the libraries, tools, and frameworks that will help Inkplate 6 (and subsequent models!) mature into the hundreds of different consumer products they want to be when they grow up.

Comparisons

Inkplate 6Waveshare EPDAdafruit EPDPimoroni Inky wHAT
Screen Size 6" 7.5" 2.13" 4.2"
Resolution800 x 600 640 x 384 250 x 122 400 x 300
All-in-one BoardYes Requires controller & 2 add-ons Requires controller Requires controller
Low-Power Mode25 μA No No No
Wi-FiYes No No No
Battery ChargerYes No No No
Touch PadsThree Zero Zero Zero
MicroSD slotYes No Yes No
GreyscaleYes Yes No No
Partial UpdateYes No No No
Refresh Time0.264 s ~6 s ~2 s ~10 s

Features & Specifications

Front-Mounted Components:

Rear-Mounted Components:

Other Technical Specifications

  • Physical Interface:
    • Three capacitive touch pads
    • Hardware power switch
    • One LED battery indicator
    • Hardware reset button
  • Connectors: Micro USB, easyC, and GPIO
  • Wired Connectivity: USB, I²C, and SPI
  • USB to UART converter: CH340C
  • Storage: MicroSD card reader
  • Power Management:
    • Based on Texas Instruments (TI) TPS65186
    • MCP73831 lithium battery charger with a standard JST connector
  • Temperature Sensor: Internal TPS65186

Support & Documentation

All hardware and software documentation for Inkplate 6 will be published and openly maintained in our GitHub repositories. We provide free technical support for all products manufactured by e-radionica. An English language forum for this purpose is currently under development. Meanwhile, please contact us through the campaign page if you have any questions.

Manufacturing Plan

We made several test runs prior to this campaign, and the Inkplate 6 design has been verified and is ready for production. E-radionica has its own in-house electronics manufacturing line staffed by a team with experience handling large manufacturing runs. We will produce batches of 100 Inkplate 6 boards, and we will ship them as soon as they are off the manufacturing line.

Fulfillment & Logistics

Once they are manufactured and tested, all Inkplate 6 boards will be sent from Osijek, Croatia to Crowd Supply’s facility in the United States for final delivery to backers. All Inkplate 6 boards will be protected for shipping by custom-cut foam, a sealed plastic bag, and a sturdy cardboard box. We expect to begin shipping by the end of February, and all products should be delivered to backers by mid-April.

For more information about ordering, paying, and shipping, please see Crowd Supply’s Guide. For many non-US backers, VAT will be pre-paid, and products will be pre-cleared through customs.

Risks & Challenges

We have throughly tested both the Inkplate 6 hardware and the Arduino library, and we believe we have worked out any technical issues. We have gone through multiple prototyping runs and, with one notable exception, have identified backup suppliers for components. The e-paper screen at the core of Inkplate 6 is recycled, and our supplier currently has around 4000 pieces available. If demand exceeds this quantity, we will try to identify additional suppliers, but there is no guarantee that we will succeed.

While shipping delays are always a risk, we have quite a lot of experience moving products around the world, and we intend to use that experience to keep those risks to a minimum.


Credits

e-radionica

e-radionica.com/e-r.io is a company oriented to makers community. We design & manufacture electronic boards and add-ons for hobbyists, companies and schools. We manufacture our designs in-house, provide educational content at the blog and open-source everything(from hardware to Fritzing & Eagle libraries).


David Zovko

Borna Biro

Bruno Matković

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