Dheera Venkatraman’s ePaper photo frame is a window on an endless scrolling landscape

Robotics and machine learning engineer Dheera Venkatraman has developed an electronic photo frame with a difference: it generates infinite, repeat-free landscape art on an ePaper screen.

“[EPaper] fascinates me a lot,” says Venkatraman. “It’s excellent in full sun, and although most [ePaper] the screens on the market are grayscale, it’s extremely nice to look at and much better suited to something hanging on the wall. And so I built a new framework using [ePaper].”

The resulting digital illustration system houses a full-scale 10.3″ Waveshare ePaper display HAT in an attractive wall frame, featuring 1872×1404 resolution with 16 shades of gray. The display is connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero single board computer, hidden behind the frame.

Venkatraman’s creation is, so far, a fairly standard display piece – but rather than uploading images for display, it generates them itself. “I wanted to focus on generative art,” says Venkatraman. “The first display I built is based on Lingdong Huang’s {Shan, Shui}*, which procedurally generates scrolls of Chinese scenery, but are infinitely long, driven by pseudo-random numbers. The idea is that the landscape on this frame is constantly changing, never repeating itself, and scrolls very slowly.”

Huang’s code, which is inspired by traditional Chinese scroll art, creates vector-format landscapes with mountains and trees based on mathematical functions, each unique and never repeating. These vectors are then converted by Venkatraman’s code for display on the ePaper panel – providing illustrations that combine tradition and technology.

“For my next frame, I want to build something based on [a] PyTorch implementation of DALL-E,” adds Venkatraman — referencing the popular generative adversarial network, which can turn text prompts into high-quality visuals. you shout at it. We’ll see how it goes, given the limited training data available.”

More project details are available on the Venkatraman website; source code not released, but Huang’s {Shan, Shui}* is available on GitHub under the permissive MIT license — or can be used in the browser on Glitch.me.

About Debra D. Johnson

Check Also

Luca Guadagnino: 5 films that I consider to be cinematic masterpieces

On paper, it’s easy to guess what attracted Luca Guadagnino to lead bones and all. …