A Tshwatch on a table

TshWatch Helps You Learn More About Yourself

TshWatch is a project by [Ivan / @pikot] that he’s been working on for the past two years. [Ivan] explains that he aims to create a tool meant to help you understand your body’s state. Noticing when you’re stressed, when you haven’t moved for too long, when your body’s temperature is elevated compared to average values – and later, processing patterns in yourself that you might not be consciously aware of. These are far-reaching goals that commercial products only strive towards.

At a glance it might look like a fitness tracker-like watch, but it’s a sensor-packed logging and measurement wearable – with a beautiful E-Ink screen and a nice orange wristband, equipped with the specific features he needs, capturing the data he’d like to have captured and sending it to a server he owns, and teaching him a whole new world of hardware – the lessons that he shares with us. He takes us through the design process over these two years – now on the fifth revision, with first three revisions breadboarded, the fourth getting its own PCBs and E-Ink along with a, and the fifth now in the works, having received some CAD assistance for battery placement planning. At our request, he has shared some pictures of the recent PCBs, too!

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Unique Pomodoro Timer Displays Quotes While You Work

[zorbash] came up with a great side project while designing a way to read notes and highlighted sections from e-books without having to use Good Reads or the Amazon tool: build a gadget to display a parade of quotes from favorite authors and their books. The project is called Brain because it’s built on an IoT platform called Nerves.

As a bonus, the gadget functions as a Pomodoro timer of sorts — that’s the time management method where you work for 25-minute periods and take 5-minute breaks in between, with a longer break every four Pomodoros. Brain displays a quote for 25 minutes and then flashes the screen to draw [zorbash]’s attention to the fact that time is up. We think this is a nice, unobtrusive way to do things. There are no breaks built in, but that’s just how [zorbash] rolls.

The quotes are fetched using Bookworm, a script [zorbash] wrote that’s available on GitHub. It uses a Raspberry Pi 2 B, an SD card to store the JSON’d quotes, and a Wi-Fi dongle to allow the fetching. If you’re wondering about the enclosure, it’s made of clay.

If you like your Pomodoro timers a little more physical, here’s one that starts as soon as you plug it in to a USB port.

Paper Pi Is An Ergonomic Cyberdeck Meant For Thumbs

What’s the fastest way to master console stuff like screen or emacs? Force yourself to use it exclusively, of course. But maybe you’d be tempted to cheat with a desktop. We know we would be. In that case, you ought to build a console-only cyberdeck like this sweet little thing by [a8skh4].

This cyberdeck serves another purpose as well — the keyboard layout is Miryoku, so [a8ksh4] can get more practice with that at the same time. Fortunately, the layout is built for emacs.

Inside is a Raspberry Pi 4 and what looks to be an Arduino handling the keyboard input. The Paper Pi spotlights a 4.2″ e-ink screen between a split thumb keyboard that’s made of soft, silent, tactile switches.

Since they’re SMD, [a8ksh4] made clever use of header pins to get them to work with protoboard. As much as we love the keyboard, it would be awesome to see a few switches on the shoulders or even the back that make use of the rest of the fingers. Check out more build pictures in the gallery.

We love to see cyberdecks with split keyboards, because you shouldn’t have to sacrifice ergonomics in a portable computer. Here’s one that comes in three pieces, making it easy to get the spacing between the halves just right.

Via r/cyberdeck

A Fresh E-Ink Newspaper Delivered Every Morning

[Greg Raiz] recently set out to make it easy to read multiple newspapers in the morning over breakfast. Inspired by a similar project, he built an e-ink newspaper that hangs on his wall, delivering fresh news every ten minutes.

The project started with a 32″ Visionect e-ink display configured as a thin client. With a battery life measured in months thanks to the low power electronics, most of the work here was focused on the backend. A docker container running on a local NAS server collects newspapers via freedomforum.org, formats them to fit the aspect ratio of the display, and serves them up. [Greg] is really trying to preserve the design and thought that goes into the front page of each of these publications as traditional newspaper layouts are often designed by hand.

We love the simplicity and the “it-just-works” feel of this project as there are no buttons, wires, or anything that you need to fiddle with. [Greg] points out that it could also be used for other purposes, and we’d love to see a large calendar such as this e-ink calendar or perhaps even a 32″ version of this e-ink laptop. The code for this is on his GitHub with a video after the break.

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An E-Book Reader, But Just For Haiku

E-ink displays haven’t revolutionized the world so much as served us humbly in e-book readers such as the Kindle and its ilk. Most such readers are designed for extended sessions reading novels and the like, but [Roni Bandini] decided a haiku-sized device was in order.¬†

The diminutive device runs off an ESP32, which has plenty of clock cycles for easily driving displays. It’s paired with a 2.9 inch Waveshare e-ink display, upon which it delivers poetry in the popular Japanese haiku format – 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Writing to the display is easy with the GxEPD library, which is compatible with a variety of common e-ink displays.¬†Presently the poetry is hardcoded in the program, and there’s plenty that could be included with the ESP32’s roomy program storage. However, [Roni] notes it would be simple to have the reader pull poems from an SD card instead.

It’s a fun project, and a great way to get familiar with the basics of working with e-ink displays. We’d love to see a WiFi-enabled version that pulls down the hottest daily haikus fresh from the web, too. Funnily enough, our own archives only feature one other reference to the famous Japanese art, which has little to do with poetry. If you fancy changing that, make something relevant and drop us a line. Video after the break.

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A Digital Guestbook Is A Perfect Hacker Wedding Gift

With his brother’s wedding coming up, [Sebastian] needed a wedding gift. Rather than purchasing something, he elected to build a digital guestbook so guests could share their well-wishes with the happy couple.¬†

The guestbook has a simple web-based interface, which was accessible over a domain name [Sebastian] registered with the couple’s names ahead of the event. There, users could enter text and draw a friendly message for the digital guestbook. The guestbook itself consists of an ESP32 running a e-ink display, packaged in a tidy 3D printed enclosure featuring the couple’s initials. It regularly queries the web server, and displays the messages it finds on the screen.

It’s a great use of an e-ink display, as it made reading the messages in bright daylight easy where other technologies may have faltered. [Sebastian] was also clever to install some LEDs for the night portion of the reception. We’ve featured a few wedding gifts on these pages before, including this particularly amusing sugar cube. Video after the break.

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E-Ink Moon Phase Viewer Keeps Interest From Waning

It’s a shame that so many cool things happen in the night sky, but we can’t see them because of clouds or light pollution. If you missed seeing the comet NEOWISE or this summer’s Perseid meteor showers, there’s not a lot to be done but look at other people’s pictures. But if it’s the Moon and its phases you keep missing out on, that information can be acquired and visualized fairly easily.

This project includes a bunch of firsts for [Jacob Tarr], like designing a custom PCB and utilizing a three-color E-ink screen to show the Moon in its current phase along with the date and time.

[Jacob]’s moon phase viewer runs on an ItsyBitsy M4 Express, which holds data pulled from NASA ahead of time to save battery. Every morning, the board dishes out the daily info on a schedule kept by a real-time clock module.

We particularly like the minimalist case design, especially the little shelf that holds the lithium-ion cell. This is just the beginning, and [Jacob] plans to add more detail for anyone who wants one for themselves.

If you want something more Moon-shaped, here’s a printed version that gets brighter in time with the real thing. Or you could just make a giant light-up full moon like Hackaday super alumnus [Caleb Kraft].