Hacker News on Your Wall: Project E Ink's New Feature Transforms Tech Stories into Art
A couple of months ago I started Project E Ink, a little venture that began with displaying public URLs on a huge 32" e-ink screen. It transforms your wall into a dynamic canvas. Many of you loved it (especially in the Hacker News community) and I can't thank you enough for your overwhelming response!
Your feedback got me thinking: why stop at web sites?
Since then, there's been a lot of tinkering and coding. I'm excited to share the newest feature we've been working on: integrating Hacker News into Project E Ink! Every four hours we'll grab the top stories from Hacker News and turn it into AI art optimized for E Ink.
It looks like this:
You'll get a real time view on the most important stories in tech, summarized on your wall, with striking AI art.
How Does It Work?
Our backend, built on Laravel and hosted in a Google Cloud Run container, has the following workflow for content aggregation and presentation. Here's how it works:
- Step 1: Data Fetching. Every four hours, our scheduler fetches the top stories from Hacker News.
- Step 2: Image Generation. For the top story, we combine the title of the post with a specific prompt ("high-contrast black-and-white digital illustration suitable for an eInk display, digital art, trending on ArtStation") and pass this to a Google Cloud Function. This function interacts with the Stability AI REST API to generate a base64 encoded image. The result? A stunning visual that's perfect for an E Ink display.
- Step 3: Text Summarization. We then extract the plain text from the story's URL and feed it to the GPT-3.5-turbo-16k model with a system prompt tailored for hacker-centric insights: "Summarize the key points in the following text in max 3 sentences as if you're the author."
- Step 4: Storage and Display. Both the generated image and the summarized metadata are stored separately in a Cloud Storage Bucket. This allows us to display them together.
And for those of you who love a bit of DIY, we've built a dashboard that allows you to see all the AI-generated artworks it generated and download them. That way, you'll be able to set your favorites as desktop images. And trust me, the art it produces is so good you'll want to look at for longer than 4 hours.
Project E Ink now requires a €60 (approximately $70) annual subscription for content updates and service maintenance. However, users who prefer can opt out of this fee. By setting up your own server software in Docker and connecting your screen, you bypass the subscription, offering a more personalized and cost-effective solution for those with the necessary technical skills.
As a news junkie, I'm always looking for ways to enhance how we interact with the news. With this new feature, Project E Ink isn't just a news display; it's a conversation starter, an art piece, and a calm lens on the pulse of the tech community.
Until next time,
Alexander Klöpping (@alexandernl)