Olivier Simard-Hanley’s Raspberry Pi project, DispatchPi, brings a unique twist to digital picture frames by allowing users to send personalized photos with custom messages to their loved ones. Using Raspberry Pi and E Ink display panels, the project involves two digital picture frames that connect to the internet and retrieve a new image from a designated email address every day. By sending an email attachment with a custom message, users can regularly exchange fresh pictures with each other.
To simplify the process, Simard-Hanley integrated iPhone shortcuts, allowing the sender to initiate an email with the image and personalized text easily. However, recreating the project can be done without these shortcuts. The hardware used includes Raspberry Pi Zeros and 7.5-inch Waveshare E Ink displays, but alternatives like a Pi 3B or 4 and any E Ink panel or even non-E Ink screens can be used, providing flexibility in component selection.
Simard-Hanley generously shares a comprehensive tutorial on GitHub, detailing the project’s inner workings and providing step-by-step instructions for recreating it at home. The workflow involves an iOS shortcut to send pictures to a shared inbox, periodic checks by the Raspberry Pis for updates, processing the most recent email with an attachment into a grayscale bitmap, overlaying it with the email body text, and displaying it on the E Ink frame. For those interested in exploring this Raspberry Pi adventure, the project page offers detailed information, and following Simard-Hanley provides insights into future creative endeavors. However if you’re interested in using it in a profesional area, check out this article about using the E-Ink display as a calender