Sending postcards, as this digital E Ink frame’s creator Cameron puts it, is getting more and more difficult. Not only are stamps hard to find, you actually have to remember someone’s physical address, and for better or worse, you’ll need to wait some period of time for the card to actually reach its destination. Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, etc. bypass these restrictions, but produce something that’s perhaps a bit too ephemeral to be properly appreciated.
To fill this all-too-modern technological gap, Cameron’s postcard frame uses an E Ink display to show photos or other images sent to it from anywhere in the world, which are updated a pace that works for you. It’s powered by an ESP32, allowing for wireless updates, and it currently lasts for around two weeks per charge.
This wireless setup, along with a handsome wooden frame, enables it to be hung unobtrusively next to other wall decorations. The original version of the frame utilized a 16-bit grayscale display with an 1872 x 1404 resolution, which looked almost like a printed image. The current 800 x 480 binary black/white gives it more contrast and a somewhat artistic look.
The system lets you send links to friends where they can upload images. A web interface is available to change and delete photos if you get one (or more) that you don’t find appealing. An earlier version, which ran on a Raspberry Pi Zero, used email as the image sending interface. While this worked well, actually setting it up in reliable manner was challenging. Cameron isn’t sharing all the software details of the build per security concerns, but the frame should provide inspiration for others that want a bit of subtly-changing art in their lives.