HVGA display shield reduces work-load for Arduino cards

March 01, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Following its previous crowdfunding project, NerO, FTDI Chip has announced an Arduino-related product for which it is using Indiegogo to promote to the global engineering fraternity; the company says that this CleO offering addresses needs of educational, hobbyist and OEM markets.

The objective of CleO is to bring to market a family of intelligent, simple to program TFT display boards through which engineers can develop imaginative, compelling human machine interfaces (HMIs) regardless of their experience level. Using Arduino as a foundation, this hardware is able to make use of FTDI Chip’s high speed bridging and display technology to realise improved perfor-mance and greater functionality.


Asked to expand on its use of crowdfunding for these projects, FTDI Chip comments that the ‘funding’ aspect of the venture is of minor importance to the company; it sees the crowdfunding exercise as a means of exposing the products to a section, or sections, of the market that it might not otherwise access.


The first member of the CleO family to be introduced has a HVGA 320 x 480 pixel resolution, 3.5-in. format TFT display with a resistive touchscreen. The display supports both portrait and landscape implementations. An FTDI Chip FT810 embedded video engine (EVE) second generation graphic controller is responsible for the HMI operation, while the company’s 310 DMIPs FT903 microcontroller deals with any additional processing tasks. Its file system supports up to 8 file operations simultaneously. An 8 MByte eFlash memory is incorporated for embedded data storage purposes, with a Micro-SD card socket adds external storage. Connectivity options include an Arduino UNO SPI interface, a camera interface, FT903 IO expansion and USB DFU port for firmware updates. The PWM audio output and built-in speaker amplifier facilitate incorporation of sound (beeps, chirps, key taps, musical notes, etc.) into the HMI implementation. CleO does not require any prior knowledge of complex graphics programming or mathematical algorithms. Engineers, students and hobbyists will be able to refer to an extensive tutorial – 20 chapters covering over 80 different programming topics combined with 20 fun DIY example projects.


“Though Arduino units have provision for inclusion of a display element, in many cases it will be necessary