New E Ink driver optimizes e-paper display by minimizing flickering

2024-03-28 / News / 3240 Sees / 0 Comments

E-Ink displays are pretty much awesome. There is a lot going for them, the prime among which is their ability to hold on to an image while drawing zero battery power. Also, while it needs power only when the display changes, it is just the minimum amount of power that it needs. Another bright spot with the E Ink displays is their sunlight readability. While most displays get washed out when out in the sun, E Ink displays remain perfectly readable. Then, they offer high contrast too.

Unfortunately, it has its own set of quirks, and the biggest here is its relatively slow refresh rate. There is also a flickering effect when the display changes. It is here that [antirez] chips in with his new MicroPython driver for the Badger 2040 (and similar displays using UC8151 / IL0373), Hackaday reported. The driver takes things to the next level by dealing with the usual drawbacks of the E Ink displays,

So, what you can have is the usual greyscale image but without that vintage dithering effect. If flickering is something that bothers you a lot, there’s an anti-flicker refresh mode that smooths things out, even if it means sacrificing a bit of speed. Sure, you might encounter a hint of ghosting over time, but it’s a small price to pay for a display that is fast and looks great.

What’s more, the display controllers are also extremely versatile as well. With a little tinkering (and a lot of caution), you can unlock a whole new world of possibilities. That is also where [antirez]’s brilliance shines. His driver, built on computed LUTs, makes experimenting with different refresh modes a breeze. Already, we’ve seen the Badger 2040 E-Ink display pop up in a teapot timer and a custom macropod, but [antirez]’s uc8151_micropython project takes things to a whole new level.

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