Working with very cool LCD modules from Sharp

LCD

Here’s some interesting hardware for you: Sharp came out with a very cool series of LCD displays, gong by the name Sharp Memory LCD. Not only are these displays very low power – on the order of about 5 microAmps to keep the display alive – but some of the smaller displays are reflective, making them eminently readable even in daylight. [Mike] decided he’d take a look at these displays and liked what he found.

While these displays are still pretty new, there are a few breakout boards available to make them accessible to desktop tinkerers. The folks at MakerDyne have a breakout board available and there’s one by kuzyatech over on Tindie.

While these displays are readable in daylight and are extremely low power, don’t expect to display LCD video on them anytime soon. The refresh rate is still fairly slow, but you might be able to get away with simple animations with interlacing and so forth. Still, outside of eink, you’re not going to find a better display in terms of power consumption and daylight readability.

Comments

  1. biozz says:

    i got a demo board using these LCDs for a project making a watch … there extremely interesting and on par with eink with power consumption vs cost!

  2. Adrian says:

    Interesting display technology (used in several of the recent smart watch kickstarters). But wow, is that old news! The video is from 2011.

    • biozz says:

      well its new to some and many of these dev boards are just getting out … i was lucky with getting mine from someone at silicon labs but there really JUST getting mainstream and just getting out in some products

  3. r4k says:

    Does anyone have a good source on these? (Reliable seller + low price…)

  4. Adafruit just started selling these displays and breakouts too. I picked one a few weeks ago to connect with a low-power MSP430 (only 100 uA @ 1 MHz.). If you’re interested in driving it with an MSP430, I found some demo code that works fine: https://github.com/astuder/MSP430-sharp-LS013B4DN02-memory-display

  5. Wonder how these Sharp displays are related to PixelQi technology. Sounds suspiciously similar. Anyway, check pixelqi.com — they sometimes have hobbyist components available, and have just announced a daylight-performant LCD display with touchscreen.

  6. notmyfault2000 says:

    Sharp made an experimental z80 CPU on glass back in ’02 or ’03, so them having the electronics built directly into the glass here (on the module at the end of the video) is not too surprising (but still neat). I was hoping this tech wouldn’t stay experimental!

    • AKA the A says:

      This (glass as substrate) is how the first (and I mean the first ever, not first production) microchips were made, it’s just that using monocrystalline silicon was easier, so this method fell into obsolescence ;-)

      • ar0cketman says:

        I remember a completely transparent pocket calculator in the mid ’80s that had LCD display, conduction paths, key contacts and the logic all built directly onto a monolithic glass substrate. I found it especially interesting that the conduction paths were very nearly transparent.

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