Newt is a battery-powered, always-on, wall-mountable display that can go online to retrieve weather, calendars, sports scores, to-do lists, quotes…really anything on the Internet! It is powered by an ESP32-S2 microcontroller that you can program with Arduino, CircuitPython, or ESP-IDF.
We consider Newt to be the next step in the evolution of low-power display boards. Perfect for makers, SHARP’s Memory-in-Pixel (MiP) technology avoids the slow refresh times associated with E Ink displays. To support timers and alarms, we’ve also added a real-time clock (RTC). And finally, we’ve designed Newt with battery operation in mind – every component on the board was chosen for it’s ability to operate at low power.
Newt was designed to operate "untethered," which means you can mount it in places where a power cord would be inconvenient – like on a wall, refrigerator, mirror, or dry-erase board. With the optional stand, Desks, shelves, and nightstands are also good options.
Newt was originally designed as a multi-function smart device meant to display weather reports, agendas, and shopping lists right there on your refrigerator. Since it’s creation, the maker community has weighed in with additional use cases…
- Kitchen timer
- Bedside alarm
- Habit tracker
- Weather station
- Sports-score or news-headline display
- Daily quotation, vocabulary word, Bible verse, etc.
- Meeting room status (occupied, available, date when last cleaned, etc.)
- User-productivity (integration with project-management tools, task lists, etc.)
More complex applications that require integration with third-party services:
- Fitbit stats
- Google calendars, to-do lists, or fitness data
- Alexa to-do and shopping lists (require the development of Alexa smart skills)
- Display of current traffic conditions and arrival-time estimates for work, school, etc.
Features & Specifications
- Espressif ESP32-S2-WROVER Module with 4 MB flash and 2 MB PSRAM
- Wi-Fi capable
- Supports Arduino, CircuitPython, and ESP-IDF
- Deep sleep current as low as 25 uA
- 2.7-inch, 240 x 400 pixel MiP LCD
- Capable of delivering high-contrast, high-resolution, low-latency content with ultra-low power consumption
- Reflective mode leverages ambient light to eliminate the need for a backlight
Time keeping, timers, and alarms:
- Micro Crystal RV-3028-C7 RTC
- Optimized for extreme low-power consumption (45 nA)
- Able to simultaneously manage a periodic timer, a countdown timer, and an alarm
- Hardware interrupt for timers and alarms
- 43 bytes of non-volatile user memory, 2 bytes of user RAM
- Separate UNIX time counter
- Speaker/buzzer with mini class-D amplifier on DAC output A0 can play tones or lo-fi audio clips
- 10 capacitive touch pads
- Power switch
- Two programmable tactile buttons for Reset and Boot
Newt is designed to operate for one to two months between charges using a 500 mAH LiPo battery. The exact run time varies. (Heavy Wi-Fi use, in particular, will reduce battery charge more quickly.)
- USB Type-C connector for programming, power, and charging
- Low-quiescence voltage regulator (TOREX XC6220) that can output 1 A of current and operate as low as 8 uA.
- JST connector for a Lithium-Ion battery
- Battery-charging circuity (MCP73831)
- Low-battery indicator (1 uA quiescence current)
- Newt hardware is compatible with open-source Arduino libraries for ESP32-S2, Adafruit GFX (fonts), Adafruit Sharp Memory Display (display writing), and RTC RV-3028-C7 (RTC)
- Arduino libraries and sample programs are under development and will be available in our GitHub repository before launch
- CircuitPython libraries and registration are on the roadmap, with the development of a CircuitPython library for the RV-3028 real-time clock as a key dependency
Optional hardware for mounting and desktop use:
- Acrylic mounting bracket with magnetic fixtures and expander for "flat" lithium-Ion batteries (up to 2500 mAh)
- Putty for non-magnetic adhesion
- Stand for use on a desk or nightstand
Links to software and firmware will be added soon.
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