Plato's Republic Electronic Display

Raspberry Pi powered display for Plato's Republic.

Plato's Republic Electronic Display

This summer, two of my friends for married(congratulations). For their wedding gift I decided to make something special. Both friends were big fans of Plato’s Republic. For their gift I decided to make an electronic box that displays the content of the republic slowly over time. The idea being that this device would sit on a desk and could be glanced at. Over time, the entirety of the Republic would be displayed.

Growing up Catholic,I was always been intrigued by the lectionary calendar. The Catholic missal includes readings from the old and new testament. Depending on the day the missal contains 2 or 3 readings. The homily given by the priest usually connects or explicates the content of these readings. Over the course of a two year cycle 71% of the New Testament is read and 13.5% of the Old Testament is read. I was always struck by the idea of reading a book at this snails pace, giving an ample amount of time to consider each and every word. I wanted to adapt this idea to another text - Plato’s Republic.

I designed and laser cut the box itself out of birch sheet wood. The front of inscribed with the word “ΠΟΛΙΤΕΑ, ΠΛΑΤΩΝ” or “REPUBLIC, PLATO”. The back is inscribed with a message to the bride and groom, also in Attic greek.

left all frame pieces assembled and ready for varnish. middle: closeup of the faceplate, right: varnished pieces.

I then fitted the pieces together and wood glued the frame together to let it dry.

The finished and constructed frame.

The box is powered by a raspberry pi 4 with an OLED screen. The display itself is a simple webpage displayed with Chromium’s kiosk mode. The changing script is made using python. The text scrolls over time so every five minutes, a new line is added to the bottom of the text and the top line is removed.

The raspberry pi 4 and OLED screen mounted inside the frame.
The completed display showing republic text.