Tufty 2040 interactive name badge review

By Phil King. Posted

The Tufty 2040 badge (£24) is based on Raspberry Pi’s RP2040 microcontroller chip, as used on Pico. It goes one better than the Badger 2040 (reviewed in issue 116) with the use of a 2.4-inch colour LCD screen in place of a monochrome e-ink display.

With a rapid refresh rate, the LCD enables the Tufty to do a lot more, including showing animated text and graphics. A simple game is even included as one of the preloaded examples, selectable via a menu when you turn it on. Others include wavy scrolling text, Pride and retro badge layouts, and an old-school ‘Sketchy-Sketch’ drawing tool. As on the Badger, control is via five programmable user buttons.

Connecting the Tufty 2040 to a computer via USB enables you to program it in MicroPython or C++. The PicoGraphics library makes it relatively easy to write text and draw shapes. JPEGs can also be rendered, and sprites imported from a sprite sheet.

Wear it well

For portable use, a JST-PH battery connector accepts input from 3 V to 5.5 V. An optional Accessory Kit includes a 3×AAA battery pack, Velcro pad to fix it to the rear, and lanyard. A less bulky alternative is to use a LiPo battery, although the Tufty has no circuitry to charge it. Naturally, power drain is higher than using an e-ink display: around 100 mA in total. The on-board light sensor could be used to auto-dim the display via PWM, however.

A neat bonus feature is the Qwiic/STEMMA QT port which can be used to connect I2C sensors and other add-ons. So you could even use the Tufty 2040 as a data display instead of a badge.



The crisp colour screen makes for a super-cool interactive name badge that is versatile and fairly easy to program.


Display: 2.4 in colour IPS LCD display, 320×240 pixels

Power: JST-PH battery connector (input range 3–5.5 V), USB-C

Features: 5 × user buttons, LED, Qwiic/STEMMA QT port, breakout edge connector (I2C, UART, SWD), 8MB flash storage


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