[Phambili Tech] creates a battery powered mountable display, called “the Newt”, that can be used to display information about the time, calendar, weather or a host of other customizable items.
The Newt tries to strike a balance between providing long operating periods while still maintaining high refresh rates and having extensive features. Many of the battery powered devices of this sort use E-Ink displays which offer long operating windows but poor refresh rates. The Newt uses an LCD screen that, while not being as low power as an E-Ink display, offers extended battery operation while still being daylight readable and providing high refresh rates.
The display itself is a 2.7 inch 240×400 SHARP “Memory In Pixel” LCD that provides the peppy display at low power. The Newt is WiFi capable through its ESP32-S2-WROVER module with a RV-3028-C7 Real Time Clock, a buzzer for sound feedback and capacitive touch sensors for input and interaction. A 1.85Wh LiPo battery (3.7V, 500mAh) is claimed to last for 1-2 months, with the possibility of using a larger battery for longer life.
The different pieces of functionality that take in outside data are brokered through MQTT API services coded into the device. Everything is open source software and open source hardware, including certification, so the enterprising hacker could point the services to anything desired or extend the Newt with their own communication protocol and functionality.
We’ve seen many other great wall mounted projects that use E-Ink displays as well as many projects that take advantage of the high refresh rate and low power consumption of LCD screens. We hope to see more applications that can combine the best ideas of both worlds of the e-paper application devices and devices using LCDs, while still being open source and hacker friendly.