Crafting a Personalized Memory Box with Raspberry Pi Zero W and E Ink Display

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, cherished memories often fade into the background. Software engineer Mike Buss sought to change this by embarking on a heartfelt journey to create a one-of-a-kind keepsake box for his three-year-old son. What began as a simple project blossomed into a sophisticated “memory box,” seamlessly blending technology with sentimental value.

As stated, Buss was inspired by a vision of a keepsake box that not only safeguarded precious mementos but also doubled as a digital photo frame. His dream? A display solution that consumed minimal power—a criterion perfectly met by E Ink displays. Renowned for their energy efficiency and ability to retain images in sleep mode, E Ink displays provide the ideal canvas for associating individuals with treasured photographs via fingerprint recognition.

To power his innovative creation, Buss enlisted the Raspberry Pi Zero W—a compact yet robust microprocessor boasting ample processing power. Complementing this, the PiSugar 3 module, equipped with a generous battery and energy-saving features, ensured seamless operation for both the display and Raspberry Pi. Designing the physical layout of the box was a meticulous process, with Buss utilizing Fusion 360 to seamlessly integrate the E Ink display into the lid. Inside, custom 3D-printed inserts provided a secure housing for the electronic components, ensuring durability and stability.

While E Ink displays excel in power efficiency, their monochrome nature presents challenges in image processing. Leveraging the Floyd-Steinberg algorithm, Buss implemented sophisticated dithering techniques to achieve nuanced shades of black, white, and red—enhancing the visual appeal of the displayed images. An ingenious custom iPhone app facilitated image uploading, cropping, previewing, and tagging based on contacts and notes, further enhancing the box’s functionality and personalization.

Buss’ memory box stands as a testament to innovation and sentimentality, offering a timeless means of preserving and reliving cherished memories for generations to come. A true fusion of technology and nostalgia, this heartfelt creation exemplifies the power of personal expression through DIY projects.

For a detailed walkthrough of the project, check out the YouTube video linked here.

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