Modos Paper Monitor is an open hardware 13.3-inch E Ink monitor (crowdfunding)


this Paper monitor mode It is a 13.3-inch, 1600 x 1200 pixel E Ink display that supports screen refresh rates up to 60 Hz for smooth scrolling and animation. But like most e-paper displays, you have to sacrifice image quality to get a high refresh rate.

One interesting thing about the Modos Paper Monitor is that it has a custom display controller that is optimized to balance image quality with refresh rate. Another thing is that it is an open hardware device: documentation for both hardware and firmware can be found on GitHub. Modos has been developing the Paper Monitor for a few years, and now the team is preparing to launch a Crowd Supply campaign for the monitor.

Paper monitor mode

Modos has not announced the display fees during the crowdfunding period (or after the crowdfunding period), but if other E-ink displays are okay, I don’t think Modos paper displays will be cheap. E-ink screens are low-power, high-contrast displays that many people find more eye-catching than LCD or OLED displays, but they tend to be expensive.

While we wait for pricing information, the developers are sharing some details about the hardware and features on the Modos blog and Crowd Supply preview page.

In short, the screen is a small e-paper display with HDMI and USB-C inputs, supporting Windows, Mac and Linux. It features a driver board with a Xilinx Spartan-6 LX16 FPGA running Caster display controller software, and a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller for USB communication and firmware updates.

Caster FPGA Gateware supports four different display modes:

  • Binary (black and white) mode: This mode supports a 60 Hz screen refresh rate, but doesn’t support any grayscale, which means pictures look terrible.
  • Bayer dither pattern: There is some basic support for grayscale in this mode, but text and images look less sharp.
  • 4-level grayscale mode: Designed for typing and the like, this mode offers a fast refresh rate and supports 4 shades of gray, but images and videos don’t look very good.
  • Hybrid automatic binary/16-level grayscale mode: This model offers the best of both worlds…sort of. You can scroll through web pages or other content at 60 frames per second. But once the action stops, the screen performs a full refresh, making text and images look crisp and clear while eliminating any image ghosting that was previously on the screen. In other words, you won’t see the screen go black while you’re scrolling, but once you stop, the screen will go black.

Since this is all powered by open source code running on the FPGA, it is possible for Modos (or users) to develop additional display modes in the future.

In addition to the 13.3-inch Modos Paper Monitor, the team also plans to offer Modos Development Kit It has the same display controller but is paired with a 6-inch or 13.3-inch monochrome or color e-ink display. But since this is designed for developers, there’s no display case.

Modos says its Caster gatewayware can also be used with other types of e-paper displays, including DES Slurry screens.

through tom’s hardware

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