Introduction: World's First E-Ink Shirt (Ghetto Version)
Or Maybe just The World's First E-Ink Name Tag (Only if your name happens to be 'The 21st Century Begins Now ;)' Eesh, that would kind of take the drama out of killing Count Rugen.)
Anyway, having just purchased Esquire's 75th Anniversary Special with the "World's First E-Ink Magazine Cover", I immediately commenced the deconstruction as soon as I returned to the dank depths of my luh-BOR-atory.
Fresh off my previous Sony/Kindle E-Ink screen transplant, I figured it would be cool to play with.
Various ideas entered my mind as I hacked the magazine to shreds, but why not see what I can make in a few minutes first?
Hence, the World's First E-Ink Shirt (Tank Top, in this case) was born- in under five minutes and only cost me the cost of the magazine. ($5.99, without Tax)
And yes, this whole build is a rather tongue in cheek joke ;)
Step 1: Gather the Tools and Materials
First off, of course, you'll need the 75th Anniversary edition of Esquire Magazine. I think something like 100,000 of them are out there (99,999, now).
I live in San Francisco, and the little Borders Newsstand I went to at Powell Street Station had about a dozen.
Next up, just some electric tape (or similar), safety pins, scissors, and...
...Umm, that's it. This is probably my simplest project to date (and boy, does it show ;)
Step 2: Deconstruct!
Ahh, my favorite Gadget Hack step- even if it is essentially just tearing up a magazine.
First you should remove the cover, sticking close to the spine when you cut. It's up to you what to do with the rest of the magazine.
Once the cover is separated, just pull the edges apart slowly and the glue will begin unsticking. The electronics are near the middle. Though the E-Ink screen is flexible, the circuit board is not, so try not to use too much force.
Step 3: Exposed!
There it is- the cheap PCB, and upper and lower E-Ink screen. There's a bit of light foam cushioning them, and a plastic sheet that lies on top of the screens. I removed these but kept them handy.
As you can see, the PCB has six button cell batteries, which should last about three months. They're easily replaceable.
The lower screen is simpler and ugly, so I removed it by pulling the flex cable from its slot on the board. That did not seem to interfere with the top screen and it still flashes normally.
Step 4: Play!
It's hard to resist the urge to play around with the screen a bit once it's free, and I indulged my id.
Most LCD's and similar displays that we interact with are rigid, so it feels really cool, and a tad weird, to have one rolled up in my hand.
It seems pretty durable, but I wouldn't bend it too far.
Step 5: Science!
Ok, let's keep going. Using the bit of foam that came with the magazine cover, cut out two pieces that will cover the PCB and stick out about an inch on both sides.
After that, just apply a liberal amount of electric tape to the foam, wrapping around so it keeps the PCB in place and covers up the glare of the foam. Everything looks better in black.
After that, just flip the Screen back so it rests on the PCB and use some more tape to keep it in place. If you want, you can also put some of the plastic sheet with pictures back on it, if only to liven the thing up a bit.
Step 6: Apply to Shirt
So I suppose the seamstresses in the audience could make a little 'Window' and 'Pouch' in a shirt to stick this thing in, making it look ten times better. So hop to it! Me, my sewing skills end with buttons, and I usually mess those up too. (Why do I need to learn to sew when I have Duct Tape?)
Anyhoo, I, in keeping with my self-inflicted five minute time frame, opted to just use a couple of safety pins to attach it. You should probably take the shirt off FIRST, Genius ;)
Step 7: Wear!
As I said, I had a few ideas that maybe I'll try later, and this was just a quickie to hopefully inspire smarter and more creative people than I into taking a crack at it.
Good luck, and for Goodness Sake, stay out of the Rain.