Experiments with e-paper
I enjoy playing with new technology and one thing I hadn't experimented with before was epaper or eink. These are the displays found within ereaders like the Kindle.
The displays come in a wide range of sizes with the smaller ones being targeted towards the retail market.
Most retailers refresh the shelf labels on a weekly basis when prices change or products get moved so an ideal use would be to replace all these paper tickets with epaper displays. Price updates can be transmitted over a wireless connection with the screens coming out of hibernation once a day to check or through a common data bus built into the shelf.
While at university I spent a bit of time working in retail and in my opinion automating this process would definitely be a worthwhile thing.
The larger screens then start moving into the territory of ereaders. I bought a B&N nook last year when they hit £30 and this has a relatively small battery about, 1500mAh, despite this it lasts for 2 months and the epaper display allows for this. The displays consume power when they update but otherwise require no power to maintain a stable image.
The device I was working with was a Pervasive Displays 2.7" screen which was mounted on a breakout board from Embedded Artists.
There are some issues with the display and things I wasn't expecting, all of which are explained in the video below. The biggest potential issue for me is the number of pins the display requires from the microcontroller and the amount of memory needed to display dynamic content; the display will run from an arduino but only just.
Sadly I can't think of a use for an epaper display so my screen will be going into my display draw for now. I might try and find a small screen and include it in something as a serial number display just for the novelty factor.