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I'm a graduate student looking to test an experimental spectral imager. It's basically a camera that can see lots of different colors instead of just red, green, and blue (RGB).

I'm looking for a small display that I can easily use to display our test images:

  • Less than 2 inches in width
  • Less than 2 inches in height
  • At least 256x256 resolution – the higher the pixels per inch the better
  • At least 3 colors, RGB is fine
  • Portable (I need to take this across the US multiple times in the next 6 months)
  • Less than $2,000 USD

Something like the display on the Apple Watch would be perfect.

Here's the important part: A computer program reads the camera output then determines what to display next and does that repeatedly until the calibration sequence is complete. Using a computer, I need to able to set the individual pixels to either red, green, or blue. I would like to use it as a second monitor for my computer. So an HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort connection would be ideal. I'd also be okay with a USB-controlled display.

My technical background: I'm comfortable with MATLAB, Windows 7, OS X. I also have about 6 months of experience with Python and LabView.

I don't have a strong electronics background; don't ask me to use something that requires building/soldering a circuit.

  • Any price limits? – Mark Oct 1 '15 at 20:24
  • Ideally less than $2,000 US. – BeamLauncher Oct 2 '15 at 2:31
  • Is this still needed or have you found a solution? I know of a company that specialises in displays, based in the UK but ship to the US. They have a huge catalogue of displays and no doubt they could find you something. – Ctrl-alt-dlt Apr 14 '16 at 7:49
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“Less than 2 inches” and “ready to use without building a circuit” are difficult requirements to meet, but:

Something like the display on the Apple Watch would be perfect.

Then why not use it?

Pick whichever smartwatch platform looks easiest for you to program for, and write an app that'll display your test images. Or maybe find one that already exists that can do the job (like a slide show or impractically-small-remote-desktop app). You don't need to publish the app, just run it in developer mode.

This doesn't give an external-monitor type connection like you asked for, but hopefully being able to run graphics code on the device does the job.

You can remove the watch band to make it less awkward, and even use the band pins as mounting points to fasten the watch to a test fixture if that's useful.

This will easily fit within your budget unless you decide to use the Apple Watch Edition.


(I also thought to mention Siftables/Sifteo as a tiny-screen product, but it looks like they're not commercially available any more.)

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  • I need to be able to calibrate my spectral imager to the monitor. A computer program reads the camera output then determines what to display next and does that repeatedly until the calibration sequence is complete. I suppose I could sit there and program the next image, but that gets tedious after hundreds of measurements. – BeamLauncher Oct 4 '15 at 16:58
  • @ArizonaWildcats So the app on the watch would obtain the next image from the computer. This is not a hard problem. – Kevin Reid Oct 4 '15 at 19:06

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