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.


  1. gz says:

    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. Squirrel says:

    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…

  3. Aaron says:

    Just bought 3 of these to duplicate this work, and expand it to include calendar features.

  4. My pop culture filter must be broken. I read that in the RSS feed as “Honey Boo-Boo Becomes a Weather Display.” Sad part is…I clicked it.

  5. AnzelmA says:

    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…

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

  6. pocholo says:

    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 :-))

  7. Mike Holden says:

    rasz points out that I have set up a nook simple touch to be a nmea 0183 display. Sadly not linked under the e-ink tag so maybe you missed it. Try clicking my name above, I put the HAD link there. Or http://www.holdentechnology.com

  8. Ken says:

    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.

  9. Jeff Halpenny says:

    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.

  10. Aaron says:

    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.

  11. kevinofclay says:

    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.

  12. Kevin S says:

    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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