Developed on Hackaday: We Have Pixels!

It has been a while since we kept you informed about the current state of the Mooltipass project. Well, several days ago we finally received the PCBs we got produced at Seeedstudio. Keep in mind that this first version (shown in the picture above) is only meant to check that the chosen components can suit our needs while our mechanical contributors work on their designs. Moreover, we may add empty footprints for our readers that may want to hack the device.

After a few hours of soldering and a few days of coding, we finally got a basic firmware running. The OLED screen is easily readable and has an amazing contrast (the picture doesn’t do it justice). So far we checked all basic functionalities of the on-board components and it’ll still take a few days/weeks to be certain that we can settle with them. We are therefore starting to ship a few platforms to the firmware developers that want to work on the core functions of the Mooltipass. So if you’re an experienced C developer and have some spare time, you may get onboard by contacting me at mathieu[at]hackaday[dot]com or by joining the Mooltipass Google Group.

In a few days we will publish the designs that our mechanical guys came up with and we’ll ask you to let us know which ones are your favorites. Depending on how things will go, we may produce PCBs for several of them to select our final design based on user experience and ease of use. We look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments section below!

32 thoughts on “Developed on Hackaday: We Have Pixels!

  1. Kudos for keeping the project moving forward. Procrastination, hesitation, indecision, and committee bs are what kills most projects. Right or wrong, move the ideas forward and you have a much greater chance of success. If it’s moving, you can always shift direction, if it’s stalled to a stop, then no changes (right or wrong) get made. Good work so far – keep it up.

      1. I know I could just tell you to do this. But I’m loving this project from a reader’s perspective and was hoping you would do a follow-up post on the bumps along the road for the electronics.

        Do you wish you had chosen different components? Any concern about fitting your design into the target form-factor? Is there any tension between the electronics, firmware, or mechanical teams on decisions being made and the effect it has on them?

        We want the dirt on the project!

  2. Is that a Newhaven Display OLED module? Bloody bastard of a thing took me weeks to get initialised due to Newhaven making a typo in their init sequence! I wound up buying their devboard and sniffing the initialization sequence using a logic analyser

    Once they’re up and running, they look fantastic though

    1. Not exactly, though it may be based on the same controller (SSD1322). Luckily it was not the first time I was using this controller, so it wasn’t so long until we made it work. At least your learned from your adventures!

    2. Newhaven use very similar OLED displays within their products, but these are just the raw panels. Newhaven bolt them to a PCB, along with a booster for the OLED drive.

      I used their init sequence to power up a raw panel of my own, tweaked to take into account the differences in HW setup. Worked an absolute treat!

  3. Only problem I have with OLEDs is the burnout/dimming effect they have. I have a small one in my CM Storm Sentinel Advance II mouse and some of the pixels are very dim compared to when new. This is especially noticeable when switching from my default 4000DPI to any other setting and the pixels not used in the “4000″ are much brighter than the ones used in “4000″.

    1. I’ve read about this within the datasheets for a few of these displays, and unfortunately, it is a known problem with OLED tech.

      The only advice I’ve seen is to avoid static displays where possible, and to try have a periodic display of something that changes the pixels about (screensaver or otherwise).

      1. It used to happen with every display, except possibly LCD. My old Atari XE had a routine in the ROM to colour-cycle after 7 minutes of no activity. I *think* they solved it in CRTs eventually, been a while since I saw one. I recall seeing a CRT monitor on the pavement in town a couple of years ago going free, nobody wanted it.

        Sure they’ll fix it eventually in OLED, either through better waveforms, better multiplexing (maybe they don’t like high-current pulses), or better chemistry. After all they make OLED TVs now, wonder how they cope? Especially lifespan-wise. People leave the TV on a lot, if mine faded or burned in within, say, 8 years, I’d want my money back. Don’t suppose those stupid logos the channels put in the corner of the screen help.

  4. Sorry for being the ignorant fool here, but what kind of coding do you need? I would be happy to chip in but I think I would be best at the low-level stuff which you might already have finished by now. Great project – can’t wait to see where it ends up!

  5. Has anyone gave a thought on how to unlock the passwords? Is it going to be a keyboard input or a pin system on the controller? I would like to see a 4 digit pin on the controller that allows for N (5?) false pins before it destroys the data/encryption key.

  6. As a reader, I wonder if you could put in a footprint for me? I’m a size 10. I’m very keen to be an electronic component, but you’ll have to contact me for availability.

    1. The next iteration will be more like Dr.Who’s Psychic Paper…

      Further along that (derailed) train of thought…
      A guy once showed me a business card sized paper in his wallet.
      It said

      Free Pass
      and in smaller print
      Good anywhere, anytime.

      He then showed it to the bouncer, who looked at it, laughed, and let him in without having to pay the cover charge.

    1. What’s wrong w/ white solder mask? I’ve only seen a few white boards in my time, but I don’t recall it being any harder to see the traces than the typical green mask.

  7. I can’t wait for that thing to be usable :) It looks really nice and I think this is the solution I desperately need.
    One question though about the whole project:
    You said it has to use USB connectivity.
    Will it be usable on “read-only” computers?
    You know, the windows computers in companies which are administrated by a global IT which disables all write-functionality to USB mass storage devices.
    I’m just asking because you mentioned on the website that this thing will identify itself probably as an HID device. As far as I understand it just needs access to push data to the computer, which is allowed in my special case. But I can’t send nor save anything to a mass storage device to keep the data inside the company and thus “safe”.

    Would be a shame to not be able to use that nice looking thing at work.
    (PS: For refreshing passwords and creating data on that device I still got plenty of other computers which are capable of writing to USB – so that shouldn’t be a problem. Just the “usage” has to be done on the locked down computer).

    1. Yep, that’s one of the core ideas behind the Mooltipass: No installation/setup/drivers/etc. You should theoretically be able to use this on *any* device that supports USB keyboards. :-)

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