Newt, a low-power open source display powered by an ESP32-S2 module

Newt, a low-power open source display powered by an ESP32-S2 module


A campaign was launched on Crowdsupply for Newt, which is a battery-powered, always-on, wall-mountable display that can go online to retrieve weather, calendars, sports scores, to-do lists, quotes. Newt is powered by an ESP32-S2 microcontroller which enables you to program with Arduino, CircuitPython, MicroPython, or ESP-IDF.

About Newt, the company says:

“We consider Newt to be the next step in the evolution of low-power display boards.”

Newt is the ideal tool for makers because its Sharp’s Memory-in-Pixel (MiP) technology avoids the slow refresh times associated with E-Ink displays. Newt operates “untethered,” meaning it can be mounted on places where it will be hard for a power cord to be placed would be like on a wall, refrigerator, mirror, or dry-erase board. It comes with an optional stand, so you can mount it on desks, shelves, and nightstands.

The idea behind Newt was primarily to serve as a multi-function smart device to display weather reports, agendas, and shopping lists right there on your refrigerator. However, users have come up with additional uses like:

Home Applications:

  • Kitchen timer
  • Bedside alarm
  • Habit tracker
  • Weather station
  • Sports-score or news-headline display
  • Daily quotation, vocabulary word, bible verse, etc.

Professional Applications:

  • Meeting room status (occupied, available, date when last cleaned, etc.)
  • User-productivity (integration with project-management tools, task lists, etc.)

More Complex Applications

Some of which might require integration with third-party services:

  • Fitbit stats
  • Google calendars, to-do lists, or fitness data
  • Alexa to-do and shopping lists (require the development of Alexa smart skills)
  • Display of current traffic conditions and arrival-time estimates for work, school, etc.
  • Movie clips and animations

Newt features a 2.7-inch, 240 x 400-pixel MiP LCD which can deliver high-contrast, high-resolution, and low-latency content with ultra-low power consumption Reflective mode leverages ambient light to eliminate the need for a backlight. It also features a speaker/buzzer with mini class-D amplifier on DAC output A0 which can play tones or lo-fi audio clips. Newt can operate for one to two months between charges thanks to its 500 mAH LiPo battery. It features a USB Type-C connector for programming, power, and charging. Its low-quiescence voltage regulator (TOREX XC6220) is capable of providing an output 1 A of current and operating as low as 8 uA. Additional features include a JST connector for a Lithium-Ion battery, battery-charging circuity (MCP73831), and a low-battery indicator (1uA quiescence current).

Newt is open-source therefore, all design files and libraries are available for review, use, and modification. Each Newt comes with working code with the following features:

  • Current weather details
  • Hourly and daily weather forecast
  • Alarm
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Air-quality forecast
  • Habit Calendar

You only need to follow the Wi-Fi provisioning instructions (no app downloads required) to get started. For more information, visit the campaign page on Crowdsupply.

About Tope Oluyemi

I am passionate about technology especially consumer electronics and gadgets and I love to talk and write about them. At my spare time I play video games, watch movies and I love biking.

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