Multifunction DisplayBy Mark Casilang
Product Marketing Engineer
The touchscreen is one of the simplest and most instinctive user interfaces computers use. Many of us interact with one every day through the use of our cellphones or tablets. But until recently, developing these interfaces was a major undertaking left largely to operating system software companies that required the mouse and keyboard.
The Lascar PanelPilotACE Multifunction Display is a fully customizable multi-touch interface and panel meter. Lascar makes it easy for you to create and customize your own touchscreen panels using drag and drop elements. From background images to text elements, users can build up multi-screen interfaces without having to learn any programming language. This is definitely its biggest benefit if you have no knowledge of how to type code in any language.
Lascar PanelPilotACE Software
The display features a wealth of hardware interfaces including four analog inputs, eight digital I/O, four pulse width modulation outputs, alarm outputs, and serial interfaces including I2C, SPI, and RS232. The 4.3 inch capacitive touchscreen with a low-profile panel mounted display should run any application. The PanelPilotACE Design Studio Software is a drag-and-drop software available to download for free. Developers marvel at the time that has been saved for even some of the most advanced user interface programming. You will be able to create display applications without writing a single line of code.
Download the PanelPilotACE Design Studio Software
For increased and more advanced functionality, also available is the SGD 43-A-DK+ Development Kit complete with terminal connections to test all of the input and output functionality of the PanelPilotACE display. The kit includes a USB cable and a development board that has LEDs for pulse width modulation (PWM) outputs, switches for digital inputs and outputs (I/Os) and potentiometers for analog inputs. For those looking for a more challenging and sophisticated type of display, this kit will satisfy your needs. Advanced developers with the time and dedication to create something more complex will find the extra bells and whistles as essential tools for their clever creation. There is also a prototyping area on the board to test other external circuitry to interact with the display.
Create your own dial meter and learn how to add navigation to move through various screens with load screen and button functions by simply following the tutorial. Add the rotate needle function and notice the proportional change to the voltage input with the analog input hardware function.
SGD 43-A-DK+ Development Kit
My Test Drive
One of the simple projects I decided to do was create a mini catalog of products. By tapping the next button or previous button, I can scroll through the various products. I was able to access more information about the product by tapping on their image. To start, I determined how many total screens I would need for every product, then I created and added the navigation buttons to scroll. Finally, I added the functions to each of the buttons and pictures to perform the correct actions. It only took me a few hours to finish, and there's an onscreen emulation preview to test run your design before uploading it to the touchscreen itself. It was very straightforward to use once I got through the tutorial, and I was excited to think of other possibilities I could create.
This affordable solution has made a huge impact on the way interface technology is appoached. Touch is revolutionizing education and other industries where tablets are increasingly dominant. With applications aimed towards a specific audience, even toddlers can learn words or concepts by playing touch based games. There's no question that development will increasingly move toward touch and now with coding as one less hurdle.
Mark is a graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Electrical Engineering. He is originally from sunny San Diego, CA. His interests include travelling, movies, games, sports, music, playing tennis and going to the beach.