In-button display for your car’s dashboard

OLED display in a dashboard button

Here’s an interesting take on augmenting a car’s dashboard. [Daniel] is using a button blank to house a 1″ OLED display in his Jetta. It shows auxiliary data such as boost pressure and several sets of temperature readings. The display itself has a tiny little circuit board with a PIC 24 to drive it. A larger board, seen above, collects the temperature data from some sensors that [Daniel] added as part of the hack. There are some pictures of the installed display inside of the dark car and it looks really easy to read. It also sounds like there’s some dimming functionality built into the firmware. This is the easiest way we’ve seen to add a display to your dashboard as it just requires you to pop out a button blank, rather than disassembling the entire console or patching into what’s already there.

Todays Arduino Moment

We have gotten a number of Arduino tips in the last couple days, and we thought we would combine them for your convenience. The first tip we received was for some hints provided by [Bill] on some digitalWrite() alternatives. Similar to some previous research we covered, this tip also includes some tips on how to make the direct register writing a little easier by using #define to simplify things. Obviously this wont be as idiot-proof as digitalWrite() is, but we think you can handle it.

Our second tip is for a set of OLED displays from 4dsystems sold as Arduino Shields. They have a couple of different sizes from .96″ to 1.7″, depending on your needs and budget. There is no official display library for them yet, but 4dsystems have been kind enough to provide a few resources to work from. Hopefully we’ll see a few great applications from this, maybe a much bigger pixel Mario? A much smaller Game of Life? Feel free to send us your projects, or leave your ideas in the comments!

OLED hack saves juice on Nexus One

Want to really stretch the battery life on your phone? If you have an OLED display [Jeff Sharkey] may have the answer. He did some testing with his Nexus One to see if color alterations can save on current. Darker colors draw less amperage and he found that the red pixels are the most efficient. He did a little work with SurfaceFlinger, which handles the display on Android devices to make this easy, but what will you get by going red? He measured that using only the red pixels dropped the current use down to 35% of what the full color display was pulling. This reminds us of those efforts to save energy by running a black background with Google. Whether you use it or not his post is an interesting read.

Linux tablet built around a BeagleBoard

[Justin] shows us how to make a Linux tablet out of a BeagleBoard. You may remember [Justin's] work at liquid cooling an Arduino. For this one he moved past the AVR hardware but took the idea of shields along for the ride. The device above is something of a Linux tablet, with a touchscreen shield on top of the BeagleBoard, and one below it for power. He’s selling these as kits which include the 480×272 OLED display as long as you can handle the fine-pitch soldering for those headers. We’re not sure our hands are steady enough for the challenge.
[Thanks Will]

Twittering pub hanging

There’s nothing groundbreaking about this hack, called the TweetWall, but the craftsmanship is gorgeous! [Yergacheffe] had access to the right tools; an epilog laser and a thermoplastic bender (an item we didn’t know we needed until now… thanks a lot). It has the usual bits you’d expect in a Twitter ticker, an LED matrix and an Arduino. There is also an OLED screen that displays the avatar of the current Twitter feed. Because data is transferred over a serial connection the SD slot on that screen is used to cache images which helps to keeps the messages coming without delay. The end product is quite good, we’d expect to see it hanging on the wall of the pub down the street.

Make your own OLEDS

The University of Wisconsin is hosting a tutorial on how to make your own Organic Light Emitting Diodes. This is so amazingly awesome. We want you guys to make some. Someone make your own matrix and display some patterns on it and submit it. Please. Though we’ve seen lots of uses for OLED screens, we never really delved into the process of creating them. It looks much less complicated than we would have imagined.

[via MakeZine]

Pickle lighting for fun and profit

2oct09_mitpickle (Custom)

The fantastic people at MIT have taken it upon themselves to explain how an OLED works. Their visual aide in this explanation is an electrocuted pickle. This helps describe how OLEDs are actually constructed from organic material.  Many of you probably already know how they work, but for those who don’t this video will clear up any questions you might have. Even if you do know how OLEDs work, you may learn something too. We hadn’t realized how amazingly thin the displays are.

[via Engadget]