Scott Baker has been working on making an Etch-a-Sketch using modern e-Paper displays and optical encoders:
Above you can see my prototype. I’m using a 4.2″ e-Paper display from Gooddisplay, together with the Waveshare breakout board. I have a couple of ENS1J-B28-R00128 optical encoders that I attained on eBay. I specifically chose these encoders instead of traditional electro-mechnical encoders due to the high numbers of pulses per revolution. A typical electro-mechanical encoder will net about 24 pulses per revolution. The optical encoders I bought on ebay are 128 pulses per revolution. Our 4.2″ ePaper has 400×300 pixels. To traverse the major axis would require 16 full turns of the electromechical encoder but only 3 turns of the optical encoder.
The hardware is so simple that there’s not much more to say. The encoders are connected to GPIO pins of a Raspberry Pi. Note that there are resistors inline on the encoder outputs as the encoders are 5V and the Raspberry Pi uses 3.3V GPIO. The e-ink display is connected to the SPI bus.
Check out the video after the break.