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Touch-enabled display shield takes workload off Arduino units

01 March 2016

FTDI Chip has announced a new Arduino-related product which addresses the needs of educational, hobbyist & OEM markets.

Following the success of its previous crowdfunding project, NerO, FTDI Chip is once again using Indiegogo to promote to the global engineering fraternity. 

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 leverage FTDI Chip’s high speed bridging and display technology so that improved performance and greater functionality can be benefitted from. 

The first member of the CleO family to be introduced has a HVGA 320 x 480 pixel resolution, 3.5” 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 310DMIPs FT903 microcontroller deals with any additional processing tasks. Its advanced file system supports up to 8 file operations simultaneously. An 8MByte eFlash memory is incorporated for embedded data storage purposes, with a Micro-SD card socket allowing external storage up to 32MB. 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 to connect the display to the outside world, so that data can be acquired from sensors, actuators, switches and various communication mechanisms, “ explains Fred Dart, FTDI Chip’s CEO and Founder. “Having so many different tasks to address will put a lot of strain on the UNO architecture. However, via CleO, a large proportion of the heavier computational tasks can be offloaded, not just the HMI, but also file system, camera and sound output can all be taken care of. This means that more exciting and ambitious Arduino design projects may be embarked upon, while still having access to the vast scope of shields and supporting documentation that accompanies Arduino UNO.”

CleO enables smooth animation of graphical content at rates of up to 60fps. Its anti-aliased graphics result in the rendering of finer detail images, with no jagged edges being witnessed. Fast direct file transfers between the CleO graphics subsystem and the micro-SD/eFlash memories can be completed without needing to use the Arduino’s resources. Accessories for CleO include cameras, speakers and power adaptors. 

Indiegogo backers will be able to get FTDI Chip’s CleO at a special discounted unit price of $49/£35 (~25% off the retail price). This discount applies to any CleO accessories purchased on Indiegogo too.

To learn more about this project and make your pledge, go to: http://www.ftdichip.com/CleO


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