[Ben Krasnow] Hacks E-Paper For Fastest Refresh Rate

[Ben Krasnow] Hacks E-Paper For Fastest Refresh Rate


[Ben Krasnow] is known for his clear explanations alongside awesome hardware, being one of only a few hackers who owns an electron microscope. This time he’s explaining how E-paper works while modifying the firmware of a 4.2 inch E-paper module to get a higher refresh rate. As for the awesome hardware, he also analyses the signals going to the E-paper using an ultra-fancy loaner oscilloscope.

E-paper explanation diagram
E-paper explanation diagram

After starting out with a demo of the firmware in action before and after his modification, he explains how the E-paper works. The display is made up of many isolated chambers, each containing charged particles in a liquid. For example, the positive particles might be black and the negative might be white. By putting an electric field across each chamber, the white particles would be attracted to one end while the black would be attracted to the other, which could be the end you’re looking at. He also explains how it’s possible to get a third color by using different sized particles along with some extra manipulation of the electric field. And he talks about the issue of burn-in and how to avoid it.

Having given us that background, he then walks us through some of the firmware and shows how he modified it to make it faster, namely by researching various datasheets and subsequently modifying some look-up-tables.

Turning back to the hardware, he shows how he scratches out some traces so that he can attach scope probes. This alone seems like a notable achievement, though he points out that the conductive layer holds up well to his scratching. At that point he analyses the signals while running some demos.

The result is the very informative, interesting and entertaining video which you can watch below.

We have a lot more of these amazing adventures with [Ben] here on Hackaday. We really enjoyed seeing his entry for the flashing light prize where he heated a coin cell to squeeze out some extra current. And his 2016 Supercon talk on rapid prototyping is a pep talk for all hackers.

Filed under: video hacks

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October 31, 2017 at 10:04PM

United Technologies Picks Microsoft for Cloud as Internet of Things Heats Up – Wall Street Journal (blog)

United Technologies Picks Microsoft for Cloud as Internet of Things Heats Up – Wall Street Journal (blog)


United Technologies Corp., the maker of Otis elevators, Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Carrier air conditioners, will use Microsoft Corp.’s Azure cloud and Dynamics 365 customer relationship management tools as it works to optimize operations and make better use of real-time equipment data. Public cloud services can help the company reduce the amount of infrastructure it […]

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October 31, 2017 at 09:54PM

New Zealand business must embrace Internet of Things (IoT) technology, PwC Herald Talk hears – New Zealand Herald

New Zealand business must embrace Internet of Things (IoT) technology, PwC Herald Talk hears – New Zealand Herald


Internet of Things, or IoT, is the latest buzz word in the fast-changing tech world and New Zealand businesses need to embrace it, or else be “steamrolled” by it, a business networking event heard in Christchurch today.

The thought-provoking PwC Herald Talk breakfast event was designed to help Cantabrians learn how their business can benefit from IoT – a network of everyday physical devices, cellphones, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enables them to connect and exchange data.

Keynote speaker Ulrich Frerk told how his company Adroit turns “dumb devices into smart ones”.

It’s a world of light bulbs controlled by smartphones, fridges that order milk when supplies run low, cars that tell you how to drive. Grab-and-go supermarkets with no lines, checkouts or physical transactions are being trialled by Amazon in the United States.

“It allows for endless opportunities,” said Frerk who, to demonstrate his point, was wearing a “smart” jacket. It featured underarm temperature and moisture sensors, and an external thermostat sensor that could connect with a building’s air conditioning system to keep him at the ultimate, comfortable temperature. A light in his breast pocket flashed Twitter alerts.

“Data can help us understand behaviours in a way that traditional research can’t,” said Frerk.

A recent report estimated a staggering 25 billion IoT devices in the world by 2020. PwC believes it will soon become a multi-trillion dollar industry.

Frerk urged the gathered business leaders to be “aware of new technologies that exist and how they can help you”.

“It’s not about when you need to do it, but when you should start,” he said.

Russell Craig, Microsoft New Zealand’s national technology officer, said businesses here are already investing heavily in IoT technology, in a country where the desire for innovative technology has always been very strong.

He is excited by the innovation particularly in the primary sector, as well as transport.
Samantha Ramlu, managing director and co-founder of creative innovations agency Method, said it was important for businesses to work out how they can meaningfully use the technology to improve their business.

While teller-less supermarkets might not seem realistic for New Zealanders today, the technology will “definitely” arrive here, and in the meantime, companies should be looking at smaller ways of utilising the IoT, Ramlu said.

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October 31, 2017 at 09:08PM

Telstra bolsters internet of things network with MTData acquisition – CRN Australia

Telstra bolsters internet of things network with MTData acquisition – CRN Australia


Telstra has bolstered its internet of things environment with the acquisition of Australian-owned GPS and fleet management solutions provider MTData for an undisclosed amount.

The Melbourne-headquartered logistics company provides GPS fleet management and dispatch systems for a range of industries that heavily rely on vehicles, such as transport, government departments and public services.

The company claims to be a “dominant force” in the Australian taxi market and transport sector, commanding 95 percent market share. MTData was founded in 2003 and also operates in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and the Middle East. The company has 70 staff.

Telstra said the acquisition would provide it with the technical capability and software expertise to fast-track its enterprise connected vehicle offering.

“This strategic acquisition will enable us to capitalise on the business ready IoT capability on our network, deliver IoT solutions to our customers in the heavy vehicle industry and support a natural transition towards future autonomous vehicle technologies,” said Telstra Enterprise executive director Michelle Bendschneider.

“The expertise from MTData complements our vision to be a world-class technology company that empowers people to connect. We look forward to working in partnership with the MTData team to continue to innovate for our customers in the months and years ahead.”

Telstra didn’t disclose the buying price for MTData, however, the Australian Financial Review claimed in February that EY had been enlisted to sell the business, seeking between $50 million and $100 million.

Telstra revealed in September that it had activated its national IoT network, enabling CAT-M1 devices to operate on a network already bigger than the telco’s 4G network. Telstra group executive of global enterprise and services Brendon Riley said at the time that the network was already in use in industries like vehicles and logistics, along with agriculture and mining, and would progressively roll out new platforms and capabilities.

MTData chief executive Matthew Belliza said: “We’re an Australian company and we’re proud that in joining Telstra we are still Australian owned. We will continue to work with industry to build solutions for the unique needs of our customers.

“Telstra is the right partner for MTData. There are strong synergies with our technology and customer focused cultures and through our integration we will provide customers with access to new and existing technologies like Telstra’s IoT offerings.”

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October 31, 2017 at 08:53PM