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Coming Soon: an Open Source eBook Reader

Published by Slashdot on Sun, 26 Jan 2020

Electronic component distributor Digi-Key will be producing a small manufacturing run of the "open hardware" ereader from the Open Book Project, reports Gizmodo:The raw hardware isn't as sleek or pretty as devices like the Kindle, but at the same time there's a certain appeal to the exposed circuit board which features brief descriptions of various components, ports, and connections etched right onto the board itself for those looking to tinker or upgrade the hardware. Users are encouraged to design their own enclosures for the Open Book if they prefer, either through 3D-printed cases made of plastic, or rustic wooden enclosures created using laser cutting machines. With a resolution of just 400x300 pixels on its monochromatic E Ink display, text on the Open Book won't look as pretty as it does on the Amazon Kindle Oasis which boasts a resolution of 1,680x1,264 pixels, but it should barely sip power from its built-in lithium-polymer rechargeable battery -- a key benefit of using electronic paper. The open source ereader -- powered by an ARM Cortex M4 processor -- will also include a headphone jack for listening to audio books, a dedicated flash chip for storing language files with specific character sets, and even a microphone that leverages a TensorFlow-trained AI model to intelligently process voice commands so you can quietly mutter "next!" to turn the page instead of reaching for one of the ereader's physical buttons like a neanderthal. It can also be upgraded with additional functionality such as Bluetooth or wifi using Adafruit Feather expansion boards, but the most important feature is simply a microSD card slot allowing users to load whatever electronic text and ebook files they want. They won't have to be limited by what a giant corporation approves for its online book store, or be subject to price-fixing schemes which, for some reason, have still resulted in electronic files costing more than printed books.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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