Kindle hack turns reader into a wireless Raspberry Pi terminal

Posted by Shane McGlaun

We've seen some really cool hacks for the Amazon Kindle family of digital readers over the years.

For example, about a month ago a hacker managed to install ClockworkMod onto the Kindle Fire tablet - offering users the ability to easily backup their data. We've also seen a number of interesting projects that revolve around the Raspberry Pi developer board.

One of my favorite Raspberry Pi projects? One that turned the cheap little developer board into a portable console with its own small keyboard. Today another new hack surface, and it employs both the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite digital reader and the ubiquitous little Raspberry Pi.

The project was cobbled together by one Max Ogden after he became unhappy with the glare on his laptop screen on a sunny day. E-ink displays, such as the one used on the Kindle Paperwhite, are perfect for readability in bright light. The project resulted in a small portable terminal that runs the Linux operating system and boasts what appears to be a small portable Apple keyboard.

The setup isn't exactly fully-functional, at least as far as computers go, although it is capable of logging into a SSH session running on the Raspberry Pi. Meaning, this whole setup is really only good for work using terminals. Another downside to the project? There is some lag between the wireless keyboard and the e-ink screen, say about 200ms or so.

Still, as interesting is this project is, it's clearly something that you would most likely do just to say you did it rather than try and create a device that would be particularly useful for most people.

The builder refers to his creation as the Hackstation. If you're so inclined, Ogden offers just about everything you need to build one of these for yourself. You'll need a Raspberry Pi Model B, an 8GB memory card for the Raspbian OS, the Kindle, an Apple wireless keyboard, Bluetooth USB adapter, and several other items, including a USB battery pack.