$20 Boogie Board is an “Etch a Sketch” LCD Tablet

If you’re old enough (or have followed the US 2012 presidential race), you must know an Etch a Sketch is a drawing board that you can erase by shaking it. The Boogie Board LCD eWriter has basically the same functionality, but instead of using aluminum powder, it’s using a Reflex LCD display and a stylus, and instead of shaking it to erase content, you’ll just press a button. Like E-Ink, reflex LCD displays do not use power when content remains unchanged. The first version was released in 2010, and appears to be relatively easy to find in the US (online retailers, Wallmart…), but not so in the rest of the world.

Boogie_Board

There are 5 versions of the Boogie Board, but the last 2 that will only be available for Xmas 2013:

  • Original 8.5 – 8.6″ display, external adhesive magnets
  • Original 10.5 – 10.5″ display, replaceable batteries
  • Jot 8.5 – 8.6″ display, replaceable batteries, kickstand, and built-in magnets.
  • Jot 4.5 – 4.4″ display, kickstand
  • Sync 9.7 – 9.5″ display, rechargeable batteries, wireless connectivity, and save capability.

The full technical specifications are not available, but here’s what’s listed on Improv Electronics website (The manufacturer) for the original 8.5″ Boogie Board:

  • Solid Colors – Black, Red, Pink, Cyan, Green, White
  • Pattern Colors – Soccer, Flower, Camo
  • Materials – Pressure-sensitive, plastic Reflex LCD with scratch-resistant hardcoating, plastic case
  • LCD Size – 8.6″
  • Power – Non-replaceable 3V watch battery
  • Dimensions – 223mm x 142 x 3
  • Weight – 119

Somebody did open it, however, to find out a Texas Instruments MSP430 MCU powers the thing.

The Boogie Board comes with a Stylus, User Guide, Clip-on stylus holder, and self-adhesive magnets. The magnets allow you to attach the device to your fridge or metallic cabinet. The battery can’t be replaced (in theory), but the company claims it’s good for 50,000 erase cycles. Boogie Board Original 8.5 can be purchased from Amazon for less than $20, but for $31.28 you can get the Jot 8.5 with replaceable batteries, built-in magnets, an erase lock, and a stylus holder, all of which can’t be found in the original version.

Watch the video below if you want to see what the device (Jot 8.5) is capable of.

Alternatively, you can also checkout an article on minimachines.net that includes a video of the original version (in French), and/or visit the manufacturer’s website.

Thanks to onebir for the tip.

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