E-ink display for Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a powerful but small Linux based computer board that gained its popularity in the hobby world. It has everything you need to build a computer except display. Since there are no DSI based display modules available, people try to solve this problem in several ways. They use HDMI based displays, composite video, serial monitors. Probably most of small projects rely on GPIO where they plug in their custom boards with various types of LCDs. This seems to be OK, but running such displays usually require additional driver/software to run and it occupies I/O pins, that can be used for other purposes. While we are waiting for official Raspberry Pi DSI display we have to deal with those workarounds.

pi_e-ink_display

The choice is really big. You can find may types and sizes of displays driven through GPIO. Percheron Electronics Ltd are running kickstarter campaign where they offer to give a shot with their offered e-ink display solution. It comes on a module board that plugs in to Pi’s GPIO. Display resolution is 264×176. The main advantage of using such display that it practically requires no power supply when displaying statical information. It only draws a bit when changing its contents. Display module comes with RTC clock built in which can be used by Raspberry Pi to track time precisely or work as a clock for display itself. E-INK display is great choice if you plan on building battery powered project where you need to represent information as text or graph. They are not meant for high FPS, but for text information like clock, weather, social feeds or basic B/W graphics it is great.

3 Weird and Wonderful Raspberry Pi Innovations

The Raspberry Pi is one of the most acclaimed inventions of our days – a credit card sized computer with the potential to improve our lives in an incredible variety of ways, and educate a whole new generation of hardware and software engineers. In honor of the recent Pi Day (March 14th, or 3/14) and the recent launch of Raspberry Pi 2, here are five of the most interesting (and sometimes weird) innovations we could find that were built using the microcomputer of the future (strong enough, but hopefully not used to play awesome slots at Platinum Play).

1. Picrowave by Nathan Broadbent

According to his website, Made by Nathan, the web and mobile developer Nathan Broadbent first thought of a smarter microwave after reading a post on Reddit about how food should come with QR codes that tells the microwave what to do with them. He built a better microwave using the Raspberry Pi, with better sounds and a redesigned keypad, automatically updated clock – with voice commands, a bar code scanner, and the possibility to control it remotely using a smartphone. Continue reading

Comparing GPIO speed between Raspberry Pi 1 and 2

Raspberry Pi version 2 has changed playing rules between Linux boards. With raspberry Pi 2 here came faster CPU with four cores, RAM jumped to 1GB, so naturally we would expect faster speeds everywhere including GPIO. Joonas have ran several benchmarks to show the increase in numerical values, so we could make conclusions.

RPI2_GPIO_speed

He run several common tests with available software libraries and GPIO access methods. Results actually look very promising as for almost all methods speed increased twice and more. For instance Python Rpi.GPIO based raw speed increased from 70kHz to 243kHz. Shell command driven IO became also 2.5 times faster. So this is great news for everyone who was struggling to the limits. For more info and benchmark tests go to GitHub.

Another successful implementation of Raspberry Pi cellular phone

There are many implementations of DIY cell phones based on Arduino and Raspberry Pi, so if you want something different than market can offer, you can start working on tour own version. Tyler lately introduced pretty slim version of RasPi phone called tyfone. Here raspberry Pi interfaces FONA – cellular module and 3.5” touch LCD display. Feature list extends with RTC and 5MP camera which enables taking HD photos.

Raspberry Pi interfaces LCD module via SPI interface so, there are plenty of GPIO left for other periphery. FONA talks to Raspberry Pi via UART. Since Pi is a Linux driven board it easily houses other standard interfaces like WiFi. By default it comes with USB, and other RasPi interfaces. Typhone is powered with 1200mah LiPo battery which can be charged from USB. 5V boost circuit ensures right voltage to power the phone. Phone software runs a custom python soft called TYOS which gives easy way to make calls, display info like battery level, time, cell connection status, send SMS, etc.