E-ink photo frame doesn't need charging

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/14/e-ink-photo-frame-doesnt-need-charging.html


Neat. I look froward to five to ten years from now when efficient color e-ink frames are available at a fraction of the price in twice the size.


Might be nicer if e-ink frames like this came with a small solar panel so it can get some charge, similar to calculators. But yeah, also looking forward for the price of these kinds of frames to go down.


Remember the DIY days of BoingBoing? So do I.

I think a nano might work just as well. Oh, and solar is not a problem. A supercapacitor would be even better, but those examples use a much larger solar panel.


And store more than 100 photos. What is this 1990?


“I had to get an e-ink photo frame for an Xmas gift and, after exhaustively researching the matter for about 8 minutes”

That’s a lot to spend for something that’s gonna get regifted at the Goodwill.


I suspect the memory capacity limitations are related to the power limitations of the architecture.

I like @Grey_Devil’s idea of a solar-powered option. It could probably be built tastefully into the frame. I have a digital watch that’s been running maintenance-free on the same solar battery for well over a decade.


Dumb question: how much of a charge would you typically be able to get indoors for solar-powered devices? I assume power requirements are low, so you wouldn’t need much power (and hence light) over the life of the frame, but it’s pretty easy to take a calculator outdoors for a few minutes if you’re not getting enough light to run it.

Well, you can do it with a picture frame, too, but then you’re going to spend all your time getting it level again.

I remember muuch worse days of BoingBoing than the current slightly ad-centric ones

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I’m not sure to be honest. It’s a fair question :slight_smile: the easy answer would be to place the frame by a sunny location but that’s hardly a satisfactory answer. I am curious what the power draw is and if exposure to regular indoor lighting is enough.

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I think the power draw is zero, as long as you don’t change the picture. Although given the requirements to change it, it seems like a little button battery would last for 1000 changes - something like that.

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Right? And no mention if the display actually, you know, looks good.

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Maybe a much smaller version of a Smartflower would work:

yes, this is correct. Same as a Kindle, which will display whatever was last displayed if it runs out of power. And if you figure out how to get an image on a Kindle, you can get a gold-plated frame to go with it for this price.

Speaking of Kindles, this is a pretty neat hack to make an animated framed photo out of one.


Naturally when idle the draw is zero but i meant when in use, particularly i think of an example of one of these frames cycling several pictures throughout the day. And the idea of the solar panel and doing away entirely with a button battery is to circumvent the problem of suddenly needing to replace the battery when it does go out.

So what we’re saying is, we can have a single black-and-white image, in a frame, that never needs charging as long as it’s hanging there. That mimics the aesthetic of real ink.


I like the idea here – potential for calm technology that replaces, say, Facebook – but want to push it a bit more dynamic so that it can passively replace newsfeed type interactions. Instagram integration maybe? Flickr hashtag? Still waiting on the daily frontpage concept to be doable for less than $1000.

Cite: https://onezero.medium.com/the-morning-paper-revisited-35b407822494


In glorious 4-bit Grayscale with limited max brightness and black depth, all for a mere $533.


I’ve had this Nix digital frame running (off an SD card with stored images) for quite some time now:

It is fun to see what images it’ll randomly pick from our past, I just kinda core-dumped a bunch of old iphone image folder backups on it and let it do its thing, which it has been, for years… though I think a limit of 100 images is pretty strict for a year, I guess it depends how often they change?

One aspect of it I do appreciate is that it has a proximity sensor, so it’s not blasting images all night long when nobody is around to see them – it puts itself to sleep. :zzz:

I also love e-Ink and this one is cool too, especially if you want that Ansel Adams vibe.

(I also appreciate the idea of repurposing old Kindles and old iPads to pull double duty as dynamic picture frames.)

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Ok, sure, if you never want to see a different picture, you wouldn’t have to worry about charging it. The battery is lithium-polymer. I believe you might want to periodically charge the battery up just to keep it in good condition if you ever decide to make use of it again.