FTDI Chip’s HMI modules focus on capacitive touch

December 16, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
FTDI Chip has added development modules to accompany its Embedded Video Engine (EVE) modules, that employ an object-oriented approach to creating human machine interfaces (HMIs).

The additional EVE platforms are targeted at the creation of intelligent display systems using capacitive touch and are based on the FT801 EVE chip released in 2014. 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 2.1 mm 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 (106.7 x 68.6 mm) development module with a choice of a 5 in. or 4.3 in. 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 the same size format and all the same features as the VM801B, but adds a built-in ATMEGA328P Flash-based microcontroller. This MCU (which operates at 16 MHz) handles the necessary data processing allows the module to act 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 4 GByte SD card loaded with useful application examples comes with the module, enabling engineers to get started on their HMI designs. The recently announced Plus board daughter cards can also be used

The EVE technology in these modules addresses 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