How To: Make A Great DIY Clock From Esquire's E-Paper Cover

How To: Make A Great DIY Clock From Esquire's E-Paper Cover

Range Govindan
Oct 15, 2008

Remember that funky e-ink cover from Esquire magazine that they made to celebrate their 75th birthday? It turns out that someone actually modified the cover to make a digital clock. So instead of just throwing your magazine into the recycling bin, you could try something like this. Read on to find out more.

Electronic paper is found in the new Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle. It's a flexible display made of color changing beads that mimic ink on paper, which makes it easy to read in daylight. Esquire's cover had to be put together quickly, so Ian Lesnet thought that it would be a good idea to hack it.

This build is quite complex for someone who isn't used to dealing with electronics. The e-paper display has to be modified and reprogrammed. Nevertheless, the end result is digital clock that's paper thin. You'll need a microcontroller to reprogram the e-paper. It can be bought for about $20.

The Texas Instruments' MSP430 line of 16-bit microcontrollers is used in this build. With the right configuration, the MSP430 draws so little power that it's only limited by the shelf life of a battery.

I think that this is the part that's most interesting of this build; a digital clock that lasts the life of the batteries, since it uses so little power. This means that the batteries will go bad before this clock runs out of power. That's pretty amazing. See the step-by-step tutorial here.

[via Make]

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