22-Year-Old Maker and Harvard Student
Hopefully it’ll impress some college interviewers.
Above is a video of my business card in action. As you can see, it’s pretty simple, and in my opinion it has quite a nice asthetic to it. The screen is clear with tons of contrast and the buttons are responsive and tactile. It’s also only a quarter-inch thick, meaning that it can be slipped into a wallet without much difficulty. If you’re just interested in making the card (or want a more technical description) and don’t want to read the rest you can take a look at the Instructable I made for it.
The whole idea for this project came from that display. I found it on Amazon while I was looking for food for my hedgehog. It amazed me how cheap it was (only $6??!!) and it was compatible with my favorite microcontroller, the ATtiny85. I glanced over at my paper business cards strewn over the surface of my desk, looked back at the Amazon page, glanced back at the cards, and proceeded to unceremoniously throw them out. Time to get cracking.
The truly fun part of this project was designing the on-screen graphics. I develop mobile apps in my spare time to support these projects, and I’d gotten really spoiled working with fancy shmancy HD retina displays. Going from that to a 128x64px monochromatic screen took some adjustment. It teaches you to appreciate each and every pixel for the marvel of engineering that it is when they’re big enough to contain like 4 iPhone screen pixels.
Above is one of the informational pages on my business card. Sure, the screens might look a little rough up close, but I think that there’s a certain beauty to them. Retro graphics are going back in style! The printed circuit board I designed for my business cards also looks pretty nice. There’s an image of that below.
The first thing I did with it was just put my contact information on the card. You can use the two lower buttons to navigate around menus, and the top button to select things. It also wasn’t lost on me that with a few pixels and some buttons I could make some pretty sweet retro games. Flappy Bird infuriates me to no end, so I decided that that’d be my first victim.
Above is a mockup of what the little game I created looks like. That little bird on the left has to avoid the scrolling pipes, much like in the actual Flappy Bird game. The ATtiny85 only has about 8kb of useable program memory for storing images and files, so hopefully you’ll forgive me if you think it’s a bit crude.
If you’ve got any ideas for other things I can do with my business card, let me know! If you liked this please follow me for other cool projects. Thanks!
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