WiFi-enabled e-paper displays offer flexible updating

Posted By : Enaie Azambuja
WiFi-enabled e-paper displays offer flexible updating

Pervasive Displays (PDi) announced it has made the process of updating displays easier with the rollout of a low power, Wi Fi-enabled EPD. The result of collaboration with Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI), the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 wireless MCU-based EPD design is compatible with any of five different EPD panel sizes, and can be easily and wirelessly controlled, locally or remotely over the internet using the MQTT protocol.

The battery-powered, low power design comprises a SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 LaunchPad development kit that contains a single ARM® Cortex-M4-based wireless microcontroller, and the EPD display placed on a BoosterPack-compatible plug-in board.

This board accommodates a choice of five e-paper display sizes from 1.44 to 2.7 inches and communication between the MCU and the display is via SPI.

Operating from a battery source in the range of 2.3 to 3.6 VDC, which is typically 2 x AA alkaline batteries, the battery life is use-case dependent. One set of batteries will usually last for several years, with polling frequency and number of updates determining the exact lifetime.

The EPD display can be updated locally, via an attached network, or via the internet from anywhere through a cloud-based application. Application firmware running on the MCU permits control of the displayed image either via an embedded HTTP page or via an MQTT client.

The HTTP client provides a variety of text and image format templates to be displayed and configured according to the application requirements. Typical applications for this design include use in indoor signage, IoT applications, smart home and smart factory developments.

The SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 SDK contains an MQTT example together with the Pervasive Displays driver. The MCU uses a FreeRTOS environment with two threads; one for the SimpleLink functions and the second for the display communication.

Scott Soong, CEO, Pervasive Displays, commented, “By combining our e-paper display technology with TI’s easy to use, low power SimpleLink Wi-Fi wireless microcontroller, we have created what we believe is the first Wi-Fi enabled e-paper reference design. This approach will help speed time to market for a wide range of applications, particularly for IoT devices.”

Noa Chorev, director of marketing, wireless connectivity solutions, TI said, “We are pleased to have collaborated with Pervasive Displays on this connected EPD design. Pervasive Displays e-paper products are a great example of using Wi-Fi to connect to the cloud and demonstrates how our highly power-optimised SimpleLink Wi-Fi family of devices is enabling customers to create innovative designs, even under extreme power constraints. These types of products are broadening the standard limits of what can be done with Wi-Fi today.”

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