Introduction of EVE platforms supporting development of HMIs with capacitive touch
Published: 17 December 2014 - Marianne Evans
FTDI Chip has further enlarged the portfolio of development modules accompanying its Embedded Video Engine (EVE) technology - which has helped change how human machine interfaces (HMIs) are implemented thanks to its innovative object-oriented approach. These latest EVE platforms are targeted at the creation of intelligent display systems using capacitive touch and are based on the FT801 EVE chip released earlier this year. Both of the new modules’ touchscreens are able support from 1 to 5 independent touch points (thus allowing determination of a wide variety of different gestures; rotations, swipes, pinches, zooms, etc.). They can source power at 5V via their 2.1mm power jack, USB Micro-B port or SPI master connector. Alternatively they can be linked to a 3.3V supply via their I2C interface.
The VM801B (where B refers to Basic) is a compact (106.7mm x 68.6mm) development module with a choice of a 5” or 4.3” display, plus an integrated projected capacitive touchscreen and a fitted, plastic bezel (in a choice of black or pearl finishes). Also included in this module are an audio power amplifier, a micro speaker unit and a real time clock (RTC).
The VM801P (where P signifies Plus) has exactly the same size format and all the same features as the VM801B, but on top of that boasts a built-in ATMEGA328P Flash-based microcontroller. This microcontroller (which operates at 16MHz) allows all the necessary data processing to be taken care of and means the module acts as a fully integrated, stand-alone display system which is compatible with the Arduino open source ecosystem. The module is backed by a comprehensive set of Arduino libraries. Its Micro-SD socket can be used for storing application data. A 4GByte SD card packed with useful application examples comes with the module, enabling engineers to get started on their HMI designs straight away. The recently announced Plus board daughter cards can also be made use of - thereby expanding the scope of what engineers can achieve.
The EVE technology incorporated into the two new modules addresses the display, audio and touch functions. Since it treats images, fonts, sounds, etc. as objects, it dispenses with the large Flash memories, frame buffers and separate audio/touch controllers required by conventional intelligent display solutions, thus lowering bill of materials costs, reducing the board real estate that needs to be allocated and shortening development times.
“Our EVE platforms are already proving very attractive to engineers, allowing them to quickly prototype sophisticated HMI implementations with the minimum of additional resources. With these two new offerings, it is now possible to make use of capacitive touchscreens - benefiting from their greater robustness and the multi-touch operation they deliver,” said Fred Dart, CEO and founder of FTDI Chip. “The VM801B Basic board is complemented by the VM801P Plus board through which they can tap into the extraordinary popularity of Arduino.”