Newt

A low-power, open source, 2.7-inch IoT display powered by an ESP32-S2 module and featuring SHARP's Memory-in-Pixel (MiP) screen technology

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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.

It’s Cordless!

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.

Useful Anywhere

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…

Home applications:

  • Kitchen timer
  • Bedside alarm
  • Habit tracker
  • Weather station
  • Sports-score or news-headline display
  • Daily quotation, vocabulary word, Bible verse, etc.

Professional applications:

  • 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

Microcontroller:

  • 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

Display:

  • 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

Buzzer:

  • Speaker/buzzer with mini class-D amplifier on DAC output A0 can play tones or lo-fi audio clips

User Interaction:

  • 10 capacitive touch pads
  • Power switch
  • Two programmable tactile buttons for Reset and Boot

Power:

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)

Dimensions:

  • 91 x 61 x 9 mm

Software:

  • 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

Open Source

Links to software and firmware will be added soon.

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