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blueChute is a demonstrator platform for active matrix electronic ink displays I am working on for my job at E Ink. The idea is to have an ultrathin, lightweight, and relatively rugged portable screen linked by bluetooth to others of its kind and the world in general. Exact functionality is TBD and depends on software which probably won't ever get written, but at minimum it needs to be able to replace our current demo platform and so needs to function as a rudimentary image viewer.

It is built from two thin layers of aluminum sandwiching an acrylic core. At just over 5mm thick, it is thinner than an ipod nano. About as thick as a stack of three US quarters, as shown below. Power is from four 2.6mm thick lithium polymer cells which have a combined capacity of 1360mAh. If the software does good power management this should be able to give a pretty long life.

Expected Features:

  • microSD storage card slot
  • bluetooth communications
  • long battery life
  • case design easily produced at machine shop
  • 8Track display controller board
  • LPC2148 ARM 7 host processor
  • hybrid (custom hardware/software) frame scanner
  • short animation sequences (with fast display panels)

This project was started to bring together two efforts I wanted to pursue in the first half of 2007. First, to improve E Ink's demo ebook case system and make it more production friendly, and second to provide a compelling example of using our upcoming 8Track display controller to its fullest but without hammering the host system and consuming all its resources.

Things you might do with this device:

  • navigate file tree on card, read txt or prerendered pages
  • send your favorite files to your friend's blueChute
  • send emails or maps to your blueChute from your phone (this is the Osprey concept promoted by E Ink a few years ago)
  • have you computer send weather updates, google news, or daily schedule automatically
More pics of my first handbuild unit (with no controller, since I'm still working on that):

Some size comparisons

Side view

The pictures shown here are for the 6 inch 800x600 model, which will be used with production panels from PVI, research ink panels from E Ink, and color displays built on old Philips TFTs. I also plan on designing a similar system for PVI's 9.7 inch 1200x825 display. Eventually I would like a flip out white led reading light from the back of the case, and possibly some pull-out solar panels to charge the device while you are reading in the sun...

Design partially original and partially ripped off from other websites
by Holly Gates

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