Project W.I.S.E.

Worldwide Informational Support E-reader

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More than 785 million people in the world are unable to read.
Putting knowledge in the hands of millions - this is the W.I.S.E. Project.

The goal of the W.I.S.E Project is to create a solar powered e-reader and distribute it to those who need it in an effort to increase literacy rates. These devices will be life changing anywhere they are used. While the primary target area of this device are places with little access to books or print media, such a device has infinite applications in disaster relief, homeless shelters, impoverished areas, and developing countries.

As members of the Hackaday community, we all have a thirst for knowledge. Whether it comes from books, websites, or friends, it is this thirst drives us. Knowledge is the key to enlightenment and happiness. It is what motivates us and makes us human. The constant effort to make each day better than the last; to advance. This is the vision behind the W.I.S.E project.


The ultimate goal of the Worldwide Informational Support E-reader Project is to create a solar powered device that is so cheap and rugged that it can be shipped all over the world and handed out to those in need. Some of the key features of the W.I.S.E device include:

  • Integrated solar panel for a self sustaining device
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • 6" E-Ink display
  • Water/Dirt/Dust Proof
  • On board storage for offline information
  • Simple and easy to use interface
  • Rugged housing for a rugged world


I hope to start a nonprofit that would focus on the distribution of these world changing devices. The applications for this device will be infinite. While the primary purpose of this device would be to help educate those with little access to books and other print media, there are numerous other uses for such a device. Just to name a few, they could be:

  • Teaching children how to read despite lack of access to books
  • Replacing aging/outdated/damaged textbooks and print media in schools in developing countries
  • Handed out to victims of a natural disasters and could provide life saving emergency information
  • Distributed to remote villages and provide information on first aid and diseases
  • Given to refugees who do not speak the native language and provide them with a translation dictionary

With the proliferation of smartphones throughout the world, there is also an eventual goal for users to be able to connect the W.I.S.E. to smartphones and download information for offline reading. This idea could even be taken one step further and have the devices connect to each other, creating a solar powered ad-hoc network.


V1 of the circuit board for the WISE. Calling it WiseboardOne

sch - 834.59 kB - 06/11/2017 at 04:44

See BOM Download

  • 1 × ED060SC4 6" eink display
  • 1 × ESP8266 This is the brain
  • 1 × 6" Solar Panel Exact Model TBD

  • Final Mk1 Schematics!

    Chris06/11/2017 at 04:44 0 comments

    So as promised (better late than never) here is the first revision of the schematics. I based the design very heavily off the work of [sprite_tm] with a few simple modifications of my own. Additionally I swapped out the charging IC with one capable of handling solar charging. It is pretty expensive.

    One of my favorite little tricks that I used was in regards to the single ADC on the ESP8266. I needed to sense both battery voltage and the resistance of my input buttons. In order to get around the limitation imposed by one ADC I am using a analog switch IC. So when I need to sense battery voltage all I need to do is briefly toggle the switch.

    I am sure that I hooked something up wrong; this is the most complex schematic I have ever made. If anyone would like to double check my work please let me know! The eagle .sch will be available below in addition the BOM on

    Please disregard the BOM upload under the files section of the page. I will update the .sch so that it will upload correctly. Use this link instead

  • Schematic Update

    Chris05/24/2017 at 02:05 0 comments

    Just thought I would give another quick update. The schematics are still being created but they are in the home stretch. For now please gaze upon this wonderfully artistic outline of the schematic. It's not much but it's what I have for now. As soon as the real schematic is finished I will post it. After that it will be a PCB and components and hopefully we will have something that at least sort of works!

    This is the most complex project I have taken on thus far and I have to say that I am learning a lot. It is a bit scary to think that this may not work the first time around but I guess that is part of the fun, right? If anyone would like to take a once over my schematics and board files before I have them shipped off please send me a message! Until then, enjoy this wonderful picture.

  • Ripped Ribbon Cable and Slow Progress

    Chris05/15/2017 at 01:45 0 comments

    Finals are almost over which means more time for projects! Yay! I have been working on the schematic and the BOM for this first prototype, albeit slowly. One of the first things that I ordered was the eink display (ED060SC4). Now for those of you keeping score at home you, will recognize that this is the same display that [sprite_tm] used in their wifi-whiteboard project. The bad news is that it was accidentally routed to the wrong address and after some futile attempts to intercept the package I had no choice but to let nature take it's course.

    Eventually that package arrived but unfortunately the bottom of the ribbon cable was torn! I have contacted the seller and hopefully will be receiving an exchange soon.

    Within the next few days I hope to have the BOM and pcb finalized so I can actually start melting some solder!

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