Inkplate 6PLUS

by e-radionica

Versatile, easy-to-use, Wi-Fi-enabled 6-inch e-paper display with a touchscreen and frontlighting

$41,408 raised

of $15,900 goal

260% Funded! Order Below

Product Choices

$159

Inkplate 6PLUS

One all-in-one, 6-inch e-paper board with a touchscreen and backlighting.


$179

Inkplate 6PLUS With 3D-Printed Enclosure

One all-in-one, 6-inch e-paper board with a touchscreen and backlighting. Includes a 3D-printed enclosure.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

Liliputing

"The Inkplate line of devices are programmable, WiFi-ready E Ink displays... 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."

Good E-Reader

"Inkplate is following up its earlier successful hardware launches with the new Inkplate 6Plus. Featuring an open hardware touchscreen-enabled E Ink display, such devices...are extremely simple to use..."

industriaembebidahoy

"Realizado a partir de pantallas recicladas con una placa ESP32, el display de tinta electrónica Inkplate 6PLUS optimiza su consumo energético, pero sin rebajar unas grandes prestaciones."

CNXSoft - Embedded Systems News

"Refresh performance per pixel is faster and similar to Inkplate 10, which leads to a complete screen refresh being about as fast as on the original Inkplate 6 despite the higher resolution."

Geeky Gadgets

"Following on from the original successfully launched Inkplate, the Crowd Supply Inkplate 6PLUS Wi-Fi e-paper display campaign has now successfully passed its required pledge goal raising over $16,000..."

Hackaday

Hackaday

"This updated version of the original Inkplate incorporates the design additions from the Inkplate 10, such as the Real-Time-Clock, expanded GPIO, and USB-C port, and uses a display recycled from newer readers such as the Kindle Paperwhite."

An Easy-to-Use ESP32 Board With a Recycled E-Paper Display

Inkplate 6PLUS is a powerful, energy-efficient, Wi-Fi-enabled ESP32 board with a recycled 6.0 inch e-paper display featuring touchscreen and front lighting. It is part of Inkplate family and it’s open hardware supported by an open-source software library, and it’s the easiest e-paper board to use, regardless of whether you prefer the Arduino IDE or MicroPython.

Making Complicated Technology Simple

Other e-paper displays are a hassle to work with. For one thing, they usually require additional hardware—breakout boards for connectors and cables, say, or external microcontrollers. And their documentation is often pretty rough, with few examples and little or no sample code. Their refresh times are not the best, either. And many of them lack lack support for grayscale rendering and partial updates. You can make them work, sure, but it takes a lot of effort, and most of us just don’t have the time and resources to go that extra mile.

Plenty of peripherals at your disposal

This is where the Inkplate family comes in. Designed with simplicity in mind, it addresses all of the challenges that e-paper brings with it. Let’s start with hardware: everything is plug-and-play; just connect a USB Type-C cable, press the power button, and you’re ready to go. Inkplate boards contain all of the bits and pieces you need to get started, including a Wi-Fi microcontroller. As for the screen, Inkplate 6PLUS has a refresh time of just over one second and full support for grayscale, dithering, and partial-updates (which complete in just over half a second).

Inkplate has you covered on the software side, as well. If you’re the Arduino type, you’ll have text on your screen in less than five minutes. Install the board definition, download the library, and open one of the many sample applications. Customizing those samples is about as easy as it gets. Using a library based on Adafruit GFX, you can add text, images, and other graphical objects to the screen with just a few lines of code. MicroPython and ESP-IDF libraries and sample code are available as well.

In fact, our obsession with simplicity goes beyond the hardware and the software. Want to make your Inkplate look stylish and keep it safe at the same time? We’ll save you some time (and some resin) by pre-installing your board into a custom, 3D-printed enclosure. Tired of having to complete the checkout process to figure out how much shipping will cost? Inkplate 6PLUS is available with free shipping worldwide.

E-Paper Looks Like Magic

There’s just something about e-paper displays. If you ever saw an e-book reader sitting around and though to yourself, "I want to make something with that," then you’re a lot like us. We find e-paper fascinating for a number of reasons, but let’s start with the fact that it just looks brilliant. Whether you’re indoors or outside in direct sunlight, these screens are lifelike in a way that resembles real paper. What’s even more amazing is the fact that they only consume power when updating the content they display, which means that one small battery is enough to let you use an e-paper screen for ages. And, to top it all off, e-paper provides the widest viewing angle of any screen technology and is virtually immune to glare.

Frontlighting makes the screen crystal clear in low-light environments

Inkplate 6PLUS includes E Ink’s newer-generation Carta e-paper panel, which means that it’s nicer looking and higher resolution. More specifically, it features a 212 PPI pixel density, which is a significant upgrade relative to our previous Inkplates, which had 150 and 167 PPI respectively. This newer e-paper technology also provides a wider viewing angle, an expanded temperature range, and a pure reflective mode. And of course, it offers touch sensitivity (for up to two simultaneous touches) and five-LED frontlighting with support for 64 levels of brightness. As with previous Inkplates, these displays are recycled (in this case, from 1st and 2nd generation Kindle Paperwhites, Pocketbook Touch Lux 3s, and possibly Kobo Nias).

Comparing the pixel density and clarity of Inkplate 6 (left) and Inkplate 6PLUS (right)

Screen overview

  • 3-bit grayscale allows Inkplate 6PLUS to display black, white, and six different shades of gray. (A 1-bit black & white mode is also available.)
  • A high-resolution display with 212 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) shows greater detail
  • A 1.27 second refresh time, including cleanup, makes this one of the fastest e-paper displays on the market
  • Partial refresh support means you don't have to reset the entire screen to add content
  • Capacitive touchscreen support, with simultaneous touch detection for two fingers, facilitates interactive applications
  • Frontlighting with 64 brightness levels, allows you to read in the dark

All-in-One Hardware

All of our Inkplates are packed full of hardware capabilities, and Inkplate 6PLUS enjoys more than its share. At its heart is a powerful, dual-core ESP32 microcontroller with 4 MB of flash memory, 8 MB of RAM, Wi-Fi connectivity, and an on-board antenna. Combined with a CH340C USB-to-UART converter, its USB Type-C port simplifies programming. Its power switch takes the form of a pushbutton, which works nicely with our 3D printed enclosure, and its power LED can be disabled, by means of a separate on-board switch, to save energy. Inkplate 6PLUS has an MCP73831 charger that allows it to top up its Lithium battery when it’s connected to USB power and draw power from that battery when it isn’t. An on-board charging LED indicates battery status, and battery-measurement circuitry gives you easy access to your voltage.

And speaking of voltage, Inkplate 6PLUS features a super-low-power Texas Instruments voltage regulator for the microcontroller and a separate (TPS65186) regulator for the display. It relies on MCP23017 IO expanders to drive the display and to provide GPIO pins for your experiments, but it also includes an easyC/Qwiic I²C connector. To properly control its frontlighting, Inkplate 6PLUS has AP5726WG-7 and DAC MCP47A1 LED drivers capable of managing 64 different brightness levels. And finally, it includes a Real Time Clock (RTC) so it can keep track of time while it’s sleeping. That RTC has an alarm option capable of waking up the ESP32 using its interrupt pin—a pin that’s accessible to the touchscreen and the WAKE button, as well, which means your Inkplate 6PLUS can be configured to rise from its ultra-low-power slumber by any number of means, including an alarm, a screen touch, and a button press.

Features & Specifications

  • Display:
    • A 6-inch, 1024 x 758 pixel e-paper display with support for grayscale, partial updates, and quick refresh cycles
    • A 1.27 second refresh time in black & white mode
    • A 1.52 second refresh time in grayscale mode
    • 0.64 seconds for a partial update
    • A capacitive touchscreen with support for two simultaneous touches
    • 5-LED frontlighting with 64 levels of brightness
  • Connectivity:
    • A USB Type-C port for programming and power
    • Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) support thanks to the on-board ESP32 module
    • Plenty of additional GPIO pins and support for I²C, SPI, and easyC/Qwiic connectivity
    • A MicroSD card reader (for storing images to be displayed, among other uses)
  • Power:
    • Extremely low power consumption, including a 22 µA sleep state that can go months on a full charge
    • A JST input and MCP73831 charger for Lithium-battery power
    • An on-board Real Time Clock (RTC) to reduce power consumption and keep time
    • A power supply based on the Texas Instruments (TI) TPS65186
    • A super-low-power TI TPS7A2633 voltage regulator
  • Physical:
    • A pushbutton for power and an additional ("WAKE") user button
    • A form factor that's optimized for custom enclosures
    • An optional 3D-printed enclosure (source files will be available by the time Inkplate 6PLUS ships to backers)
    • Dimensions: 155 x 112 x 8 mm
    • Weight: 120 g
  • Software:
    • Arduino libraries (100% compatible with Adafruit GFX) and a MicroPython module that facilitate the rendering of text, images, and line art. An ESP-IDF driver will be available as well.
    • An Online Image Converter to prepare you images for display on Inkplate 6PLUS
    • A GUI Designer to help you build a user interface for your own application

What Can I Do With It?

Inkplate 6PLUS is a multipurpose screen that can be customized to display whatever information you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, for as long as you want. And that’ll look good doing it. Accordingly, the universe of possible applications is as large as your imagination. Examples might include:

  • A 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 keep tabs on your social media accounts. Inkplate 10 will draw almost no power until it needs to pull new data or refresh its screen.
  • A minimalist e-paper typewriter - Get those words out, store them on an SD card, and sync them to the cloud, all while keeping your distance from distractions like social media and email.
  • An open-hardware e-reader - Sweep aside the barriers put in place by restrictive, centralized platforms, and e-read whatever you want! (Here's an example that already exists!)
  • A collaborative task tracker - Maintain shared lists of groceries to buy, chores to do, and birthdays to remember. No dry-erase markers required. Or replace the power-hungry wall monitor in your office with an e-paper kanban on each desk.
  • Art - Frame photographs pulled from an SD card or an online camera roll. Or generate abstract art from sensor data. Or torment your house guests with a modern take on the classic, black-and-white "photo booth."

Framework Independence

We designed Inkplate 6PLUS with ease of use in mind, so it’s a breeze to program. Just plug in a USB cable, open the IDE, pull up some sample code, and click upload. Change a few lines, click upload again, and you’re on your way. And it’s 100% compatible with Adafruit GFX, so won’t need to learn any strange new graphics libraries.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned programmer, we’ve got you covered. Inkplate 6PLUS is as versatile as it is intuitive. If you like a good old-fashioned Arduino IDE, our library will have you rendering your own images in five minutes. No exaggeration. For higher level programming, we also maintain a MicroPython module that’s just as easy to use. And for the hardened ESP32 programmers out there, we support ESP-IDF as well. Regardless, our documentation will get you where you need to go.

And if none of those options appeal to you, don’t worry. Inkplate 6PLUS also has a Peripheral Mode that allows you to control its display by sending simple commands over UART. Inkplate comes pre-programmed with support for Peripheral Mode, so it’s ready for use right out of the box. By way of example, once your controller device is connected to your Inkplate’s USB port (or to the ESP32 module’s TX and RX lines), the following command will draw a circle with a 40-pixel radius at location (50,100):

#9(050,100,040,01)*

All other Inkplate functions are available through Peripheral mode as well. To learn more about Inkplate 10’s Peripheral Mode protocol, please see our documentation.

Open Source

As with everything Inkplate related, 6PLUS is fully open source:

We will submit Inkplate 6PLUS for OSHWA certification when we’ve finalized its design.

Comparisons

Inkplate 6PLUSInkplate 10Inkplate 6Waveshare EPD
Screen Size 6" 9.7" 6" 9.7"
Resolution1024 x 758 1200 x 825 800 x 600 1200 x 825
Total number of pixel776,192 990,000 480,000 990,000
Pixels Per Inch (PPI)212 PPI 150 PPI 167 PPI 150 PPI
TouchscreenYes No No No
FrontlightYes, controllable No No No
All-in-one BoardYes Yes Yes Requires controller & 2 add-on boards
Low-Power Mode22 μA 22 μA 25 μA No
Wi-FiYes Yes Yes No
Battery ChargerYes Yes Yes No
MicroSD slotYes Yes Yes No
GrayscaleYes Yes Yes Yes
Partial UpdateYes Yes Yes No
Refresh Time1.27 s 1.61 s 1.26 s ~6 s
Refresh Time per Pixel1.63 μs 1.62 μs 2.63 μs ~24 μs

Support & Documentation

Inkplate 6PLUS is open hardware driven by open source software. OSHWA certification is in the works. Its hardware design files and software are openly maintained in our GitHub repositories, as is our documentation. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, we provide free technical support through our forums. You can also contact us using the Ask a technical question link on our campaign page if you have a question.

Manufacturing Plan

We here at e-radionica.com have years of experience assembling electronic boards for makers. We have an in-house manufacturing line staffed by experts who have handled large productions runs many times. We also have over a dozen 3D printers running run day and night. We do not anticipate any issues during Inkplate 6PLUS manufacturing, and we believe that confidence is justified by our track record, which includes 2000-unit Inkplate 6 batches, 1500-unit Inkplate 10 batches, and other production runs that reached as high as 25,000 units per batch. Inkplate 6PLUS is ready for mass production, and our team is comfortable handling the logistical and quality control aspects of that production as well as the manufacturing itself.

Fulfillment & Logistics

After all Inkplate 6PLUS boards have been assembled and tested here in Osijek, Croatia, they will be sent to Crowd Supply’s facility in the United States for final delivery to backers. Mouser is handling the shipping, and they know how to do it properly. All units will be protected for shipping by ESD foam, a sealed ESD plastic bag, in a sturdy cardboard box. Shipping is free.

For more information about ordering, paying, and shipping, please see Crowd Supply’s Guide. For backers in many countries, VAT will be charged at checkout, and products will be pre-cleared through customs.

Risks & Challenges

As with previous Inkplates, we have thoroughly tested both the hardware and the software of Inkplate 6PLUS. We have gone through multiple prototyping runs, and all of the technical issues have been resolved. We have also identified primary and backup suppliers for all components. The e-paper display at the core of Inkplate 6PLUS is recycled, and our supplier currently has thousands of screens available. If demand exceeds available quantity, we will try to identify additional suppliers, but there is no guarantee that we will succeed.

And let us not forget the silicon Armageddon that’s currently affecting the entire semiconductor industry… Due to supply-chain disruptions, many of the parts we require are out of stock worldwide. Given that reality, we intend to book as much quantity as we can—from authorized suppliers with whom we have done business in the past—as soon as possible. Nonetheless, it is quite likely that some components will have availability issues that delay Inkplate 6PLUS production and thereby push back our delivery estimates. We have quite a lot of experience with this process, however, and we intend to use that experience to stick as close to our published schedule as possible.


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

Ivan Fadiga

Zvonimir Haramustek

Filip Makarijevski

Robert Perić

Vlatka Mesić

Vedran Blažanović

See Also

Subscribe to the Crowd Supply newsletter, highlighting the latest creators and projects: