SailRacer inkDisplay, e-paper fit for a boat?

The just-announced SailRacer inkDisplay seems impressive. For about $360 you get a sunlight readable 6-inch Android wireless tablet so waterproof that it can purportedly run in that aquarium forever. In fact, the video shows it bouncing onto concrete –hey, it’s also rubberized — and then into an icy Lithuanian puddle, with the screen still running. What it’s running is a special remote display version of SailRacer, so the app is controlled on a phone anywhere on the boat while the inkDisplay can even be attached to the lower mast (somehow) like the fancy racers do.

What may be most interesting is the display’s E Ink technology, specifically the 768 by 1024 pixel, 16-level greyscale Carta variety seen on the early Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-readers. “Fantastic for reading on the beach, in broad daylight” was one rave at the time, and doesn’t that sound perfect for an instrument display?

Note that the inkDisplay does not have any internal lighting for night use, and the last e-paper marine displays I enthused about are long gone, but isn’t there a chance that this sort of display could become common and useful on boats? For instance, maybe or a similar company can source the tech behind Amazon’s latest Kindle Oasis, and at an interesting step up there’s the Racegeek d10.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

3 Responses

  1. I think this is a great idea. I have had every kindle they have made, and love the paperwhite screens for when I am in bright sun on the boat or on a beach somewhere. Making a marine instrument seems like a pretty logical next step.

    I wonder how it will do with polarized sunglasses – probably pretty good. Even the best instruments from Ray, Navico, and Garmin have issues offset from them with polarization. I would imagine eInk wouldn’t.

    • Hi Steve, they don’t … I have a couple of e-paper screens in my boat (home grown) and the effect is amazing. The only problem with the Chinese e-reader tech is that the hardware and OS are not of good quality (Joachim owns the screen from this article, which are also based on cheap Chinese e-readers, and he told me he had the same problems).

      If only a Carta2+ e-ink HAT was available for RPi3+! If you’re interested in my solution, ping me on slack.

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