This DIY digital photo frame allows friends to send digital postcards from around the world

Digital picture frames aren’t exactly new technology. Put a bunch of images on an SD card, pop it in, and they cycle through them all to give you an ever-changing display. They have been around for years and there are millions of them. But this onecreated by Cameron on Hackaday is pretty cool. He allows his friends to send him images over the Internet and he automatically updates with the images that have been sent.

Cameron’s picture frame is not in color. Instead, it uses a mono e-ink display. These are great because they retain the image even when no power is applied to them, which means that when they are not actively changing the image, they use no power. The brain powering it is an ESP32, which is battery powered and Cameron says it should give several hundred updates on a single charge.

Cameron went through a few iterations of his device, starting with just a regular picture frame and an ESP32 development board to understand the code and general process and finally moving to a custom PCB with a milled frame in order to achieve some things looking and working exactly the way it wanted. The list of basic components is quite simple.

That is just about everything. A few threads and some time to code and you’re done. The first version of the display used a Raspberry Pi Zero, but determined that the Pi was overkill for this type of project. He then developed his code on a standard ESP32 development board before moving to a custom PCB. Cameron released both the board diagram and KiCAD files if you want to make it yourself.

He didn’t publish the map code, because it’s tied to his own web server. He says he’s not confident enough in the security of his website to make it public to everyone, but there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube for things like typing files on the web or writing of images on an e-ink screen with the ESP32. , so it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out if you’re so inclined.

You can read more about Cameron’s Postcard Frame project and upload schematic and PCB files to Hackaday.

About Debra D. Johnson

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