Hacked Kobo Becomes a Weather Display

The Kobo e-reader has been hacked for a while now. It’s pretty easy to enable telnet access by modifying some files. Once [Kevin] was able to telnet into the device and draw to the display, he created the Kobo Wifi Weather Forecast. This hack was inspired by the Kindle weather display that we discussed in the past, but this version runs entirely on the Kobo.

The weather report software is written in Python using the pygame library. After loading the software package onto a Kobo, a few commands are run over telnet to set up Python and run the display. Since Python and pygame run on the Kobo, it allows for direct access to the e-ink display.

There’s a lot of possibilities for a internet connected e-ink device running custom graphics code. It’s asking to be turned into any kind of display you can imagine. What ideas do you have for a custom e-ink display? Let us know in the comments.

23 thoughts on “Hacked Kobo Becomes a Weather Display

  1. I was thinking this might make for an interesting site dashboard but based on price I’m better of using a cheap android tablet. The power use will be greater and the resolution lower but I get the secondary benefit of a touch screen and of course a color illuminated display.

    Will have to keep looking.

  2. Is it possible to get cheap (and small) e-ink display modules from somewhere? I’ve been looking into them for one of my project but haven’t really found anything promising…

    1. Fingers crossed that one day soon e-ink displays will become as ubiquitous and interface standardised and as cheap as the HD44780 LCD displays out there.

      Heck, HD44780 interface e-ink displays would be extremely welcome.

      1. I got hung up in all the google calendar authentication settings. I was a novice programmer back then.

        I am looking into using them to monitor my any.do task lisk. Here is a good python code base for doing that that I found. https://github.com/gvkalra/python-anydo

        Still need to hammer out the GUI Side but I’m mostly done with the code to grab tasks which are incomplete, and display the first few that are not done, and due soon.

  3. Every time there is a hack with e ink display i read it. Because i am a hardware hacker and i don’t code i need help with my system. My idea is to use these cheap e-readers with Tacktick marine gear, because the real one are way too expensive. (no more Suunto’s now adays Raymarine’s)

    So if anyone is interested to hack e-reader in to marine use, feel free to “steal” my idea! You just have to know somthing about NMEA and python and you are god to go, in my dreams there is allsow iphone and ipad link with bluetooth/wifi to the weather/speed/deapth info…

    Anssi
    (english is not my first language, i am Fin ;) )

  4. So cool! So bad the script queries a weather site that only covers USA! :-|

    But this is a grat example that will help others develop stuff or the old kobo :-))

  5. I have some young kids at home, and I can never remember what day of the week corresponds to their rolling schedule at school. I want one for a general display in my house, post it at a crossroads of hallways that everyone passes on a regular basis, and have the display flip between weather, clothing recommendations, class schedule and if the kids need their instruments or not.

    After school, I want it to display a list of chores they must complete to earn their allowance.

  6. Just in case anyone is wondering how to change to celcius, you can simply change the ‘unit=”e”‘ to unit=”m” in the weather request of the main script. I’m sure most people are familiar, but in case you’re not, it’s in the kobo’s .apps/koboWeather/weather.py file. Hope this helps. In case this is available elsewhere, my fault on the repost.

  7. Kevin and I have been going back and forth trying to figure out how to get it to work on Kobo’s that have a 4 bit display. The one he has uses an 8 bit display, and mine has a 4 bit. If anyone has some ideas, that would be great. Pygame errors when calling display.init due to the 4 bit screen.

  8. With Aaron’s help, I figured out how to display images on Kobos with a 4-bit framebuffer. The app should now work on any Kobo Wifi.

  9. Thanks to Aaron’s help, I figured out how to display images on Kobos with a 4-bit framebuffer. My app should now work on any Kobo Wifi, both 4-bit and 8-bit.

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