Tackle The Monkey: Raspberry Pi Gets Round Screen

You could argue that the project to add a round screen to a Raspberry Pi from [YamS1] isn’t strictly necessary. After all, you could use a square display with a mask around it, giving up some screen real estate for aesthetics. However, you’d still have a square shape around the screen and there’s something eye-catching about a small round screen for a watch, an indicator, or — as in this project — a talking head.

The inspiration for the project was a quote from a Google quote about teaching a monkey to recite Shakespeare. A 3D printed monkey with a video head would be hard to do well with a rectangular screen, you have to admit. Possible with a little artistry, we are sure, but the round head effect is hard to beat. Honestly, it looks more like an ape to us, but we aren’t primate experts and we think most people would get the idea.

The IPS screen is tiny at only 1.28 inches and has a 240×240 resolution. Interfacing is simple with an SPI interface. You’d think video playback might be tough, but the flexfb library knows how to drive these. The only problem is the library isn’t compatible on Linux kernel 5.4 and beyond.

To solve that problem, [YamS1] used a Raspberry Pi 3 with a specific software load. For a dedicated device like this, that shouldn’t be a problem and gives you a good excuse to recycle those older Pi boards you have sitting around.

We’ll be honest. You probably don’t want a talking monkey sculpture on your desk. But if you do, this is your lucky day. However, the possibilities for a round screen are numerous and one that can play video has even more usefulness. Maybe the thing for your next robot or cosplay mask eyes or why not 3D print a tiny replica of a vintage oscilloscope and use this display for the CRT? Of course, a smartwatch is too easy but would work, too. You could also make some very cool replacements for magic eye tubes.


18 thoughts on “Tackle The Monkey: Raspberry Pi Gets Round Screen

  1. Due to my experience with smart watches I have a pretty low opinion of round screens and so my initial response to the title was a groan. But I stand corrected. For this talking head project the round screen is pretty cool. Good job!

    1. Like everything its what you plan to do with it – round screens (or at least only using a round area of the screen) have for instance been common on dashboards for ages – its a good intuitive at a glance information source to use the clock dial style indicator for many many things…

      If you wish to use your watch exactly like you would a normal square device, it better be a square watch. Or you need a custom UI to suit the round shape for everything you do, which isn’t perhaps a problem, as that depends on what you would ‘normally’ do, its going to be awful for reading webpages, books and the like, but probably wonderful for Haiku…

  2. This is a bit disheartening. Based on the inspiration, all he did was make a pedestal and put the monkey on it. He demonstrated exactly the wrong way to do this. He now has a pedestal and a monkey, but no Shakespeare.

  3. And now I want 4 of these screens, a camera and a set of eyeglasses.

    Two screens to show people what you want them to see, and 2 screens showing an augmented reality.

    May help defeat face tracking, as your eyes can be whatever you want them to be.

  4. Didn’t early “picturephones” haveround screens? Not the Bell ones, but the Gernsback dream type phones.

    Early TV sets had round screens, and of course so did oscilloscopes.

  5. For all those Fallout fans, this would allow for a much more realistic Pipboy screen! Or, what I’ve been really wanting to do,a Madame Leota build for Halloween. Side for the obviously practically projects I’ve listed, I’m sure there are a ton of applications where a round screen would be pretty cool. Maybe even a diving bell helmet with the screen placed in the port hole of the mask with animated fish swimming in it.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.