wHAT is the Inky wHAT?

wHAT is the Inky wHAT?

 

The Inky wHAT is a 400x300 pixel electronic paper display for the Raspberry Pi – if you connect it to a Raspberry Pi, you can program it to display whatever you want it to, and whatever is on the display persists even after you disconnect it from the Raspberry Pi.

What comes inside the box (from manufacturer’s website):


There is an online guide on how to use it:
https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/sandyj/getting-started-with-inky-what

It uses Python, external libraries like the Python Imaging Library, and their own custom Inky library – which sounds complicated, but the use of these libraries actually simplify the code required greatly.

And you don’t even have to code to start using it! To begin with, there are some basic example scripts you can run included in the guide.



Just connect it to your Raspberry Pi, open the terminal, and you can begin running scripts!


This script lets you input your name, and prints it on a name badge!


This other script randomly pulls a quote from an online list, sorts the text such that each line is the right length, then prints it out on the Inky wHAT. After reading through their code and understanding how it works, you can write your own scripts too!

 


I wrote a script that pulls data from the API monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, and prints relevant info out on the screen! It required some references to the Python documentation and other libraries to find the appropriate tools to do so, but with some googling it could be applied to any sort of API.


It can even display images, albeit only in red, black and white.

The verdict

The Inky wHAT is kind of pricey ($93 as of date of article published) for a three colour, 400x300 screen, and on top of that you’d need a Raspberry Pi, a monitor, keyboard and mouse to be able to use it – but if you already have those things, it is a pretty interesting device. You could write scripts to pull from APIs regularly and update the screen like the COVID-19 info tracker, or cycle through pictures like a changing photo frame on your desk. The possibilities are endless! (Although only as endless as how far a 400x300 tricolour screen can take you) 

 

This review was written by Zhi Yi, interning with us while deciding on his university course.