Startup crowdfunding high refresh rate e-paper monitors • The Register


Electronic paper-based display startup Modos wants to make laptops, but is starting with a standalone, high-refresh-rate monitor first.

The initial plan is for the “Modos Paper Monitor”, which the company describe like: “A self-contained, open-hardware portable monitor designed for reading and writing, especially for people who need to stare at the screen for a long time.”

The specs listed sound good: a 13.3″, 1600×1200 e-ink panel, with a DisplayPort 1.2 input, powered by MicroUSB as it only takes 1.5-2W.

The company also offers some pretty impressive demo videos, showing that the screen is fast enough to play videos, albeit in monochrome. There is also a technical explanation of how this is accomplished.

Youtube video

Sounds good, but it also felt familiar to The Reg FOSS office. It reminded us a lot Paper-like e-ink monitor which was announced by a Chinese company called dasung: a 13.3″ monochrome high definition desktop monitor. These have been on sale for a few years – here’s a 2018 exam.

Modos launched earlier this year with plans for an e-paper screen laptop, simply called the paper notebook. We asked for more information and founder Alexander Soto told us that the company was working on a community prototype model called Lancer, based on a Lenovo Thinkpad T42 chassis – partly for its construction and the quality of its keyboard, and also due to secondary market availability. Battery.

That seems perfectly plausible so far – we’ve already reported on the booming market for replacement motherboards for older ThinkPads.

Modos’ initial plan was a community pilot program, building prototype laptops around the T42 chassis plus an e-ink display and replacement motherboard. Soto gave us detailed specs for the motherboard:

SoCs: Amlogic A311D (4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2 GHz + 2x Cortex-A53 @ 2.0 GHz)

RAM: 4GB DDR4 32bit

SSD: User-replaceable M.2 SSD

Network: Wi-Fi/BT M.2 user replaceable

Ports: USB 2.0 Type-A Host ×2; 3.5mm headphone jack; 3.5mm microphone jack; Gigabit-Ethernet

He also detailed the e-paper display controller:


EPDC: “Caster” EPDC on Lattice ECP5 (LFE5U-25F) with 128MB DDR3

The display is a ES133UT2 of eInk Corporation – which is indeed the same display used in the Dasung monitor, as this tear down confirmed.

So the screen itself is an actual, commercial shipping kit, but it’s not cheap, at $450 a piece. It might be a relatively underpowered Arm-based laptop, and it should have superb battery life, but it won’t come cheap.

Soto told us, “One of the areas we would like to focus on is creating the necessary Linux drivers and Wayland protocols. electronically and, hopefully, with the support of community members, patch existing free open source software.”

He said the pilot program for the Lancer laptop would involve 25 to 50 participants, and that would feed into the design and software of a final production model, as renders on the site show.

In a way to has been interested in this type of product for some time and has already launched a project called EI2030 to try to generate interest. Its home page has disappeared, but its GitHub and forums Are still there.

Fashions is looking for around 50,000 respondents for its investigation show enough interest to move the project forward. ®


About Author

Comments are closed.