Running Android on large touch screen displays


Forget Microsoft Surface, what do you think about having a 32-inch Android-powered touchscreen display in your living room? That possibility might not be too far off, thanks to the engineers over at SKR Technology in Japan.

Primarily a company that designs and builds digital signage, they were approached by several customers who wanted a large screen device that had multi-touch functionality similar to a smartphone. Since they frequently work with Windows, they tried building a solution around Windows 7, but it just didn’t function as smoothly as they would like. Instead they turned towards Android, but were disappointed to find out that none of their suppliers supported the OS.

Instead of scrapping the project, they build their own interface that allows an Android-powered device to interact with multi-touch displays. As you can see in the video embedded below the display works quite well, mirroring everything on the Android device’s screen.

While the product is not yet available commercially, we should see it come to market later this year. We hope to see an open source version sometime in the future as well, even if we can’t quite afford a 32” touch panel display.

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Touch-based synthesizer is a wiring nightmare

[Jane] wrote in to let us know about the touch-based synthesizer she and her classmates just built. They call it the ToneMatrix Touch, as it was inspired by a flash application called ToneMatrix. We’re familiar with that application as it’s been the inspiration for other physical builds as well.

A resistive touch screen in the surface glass of the device provides the ability to interact by tapping the cells you wish to turn on or off. Below the glass is a grid of LEDs which represent sound bits in the looping synthesizer track. Fifteen shift registers drive the LED matrix, with the entire system controlled by an ATmega644 microcontroller. Although the control scheme is very straight forward, the jumper wires used to connect the matrix to the shift registers make for a ratsnest of wireporn that has been hidden away inside the case. Check out the demonstration video after the break to see what this looks like and sounds like when in use.

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PIC based picture frame

Take a PIC 24HJ256GP206 processor and add a dash of knock-off touchscreen and a pinch of SD card compatibility for a DIY digital picture frame. [Daniel] wrote his own driver for the HX8347 controlled LCD that can achieve 15 FPS at 320×240 resolution with 16-bit color. As this was a gift for his wife, [Daniel] included a heart-shaped ring of LEDs that fade in and out like an electronic pulse. He notes that the JPEG decoder runs rather slow but that’s mostly because of the bottleneck caused when accessing data from the SD card. We’ve got more pictures and a link to the source code after the break.

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Touch screen for graphing calculator

[Owen] got down and dirty by adding a touchscreen to his TI-84 graphing calculator. The dirty part is the z80 assembly code he wrote to use the linkport as a UART (assembly always makes us feel queasy). Once that was working he implemented some commands using an Arduino and then hooked up an Nintendo DS touch screen. Now he’s got this proof of concept video where he draws on the screen, that input is interpreted by the Arduino, commands are sent through the UART, and the calculator program draws on the screen. Adding a touch screen to something is a lot more impressive when you have to go to these lengths to get it working. Nice job!

8-bit device quenches iPhone envy


[Peter] deserves an award for doing more with less. He’s built a handheld device based on an AVR controller that has features normally associated with much more powerful devices. Here’s what it doesn’t do: no phone calls, no text messages, no accelerometer, and best of all no app approval needed. What it does do is leverage inexpensive, readily available components combined with common homebrew development techniques to create a touch sensitive handheld.

The demo video embedded after the break details the device playing video, rendering 3D objects, and displaying pictures and ebooks with touch scrolling. All of this is running at 60 fps for a smooth picture. The whole thing is no larger than the 320×240 LCD that he salvaged from a broken MP3 player. An Atmel AVR ATmega644 microcontroller ties together the display, a resistive touch screen, and a microSD card for storage. The chip also controls the backlight, a Lithium Polymer battery, and uses USB for PC connectivity, charging, and even a mouse or keyboard interface. He etched the PCB himself for surface mount components and managed to do it with just four jumpers needed on the underside.

This is a big leap forward from the last AVR based touch sensitive device we saw. All of the functionality seen in the demo is run using 4k of memory and 32k of programming space. Because [Peter's] powering this at 3.3v the system clock is limited to 12MHz but he’s managed to make it work. We asked him to post code and schematics and he didn’t hold back. Head over to the microtouch project page to download the code, Eagle CAD files, and PCB artwork. All of the demo files are there just waiting for you to build on his hard work. When you’ve got something running, don’t forget to share it with us!

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The CrunchPad tablet shows its face


After a few pictures of the CrunchPad tablet leaked onto the internet, Crunchgear decided to release some more info.  The prototypes you see are fully functional, have Intel Atom processors, and a 12 inch capacitive touchscreen. There isn’t much else available yet as far as details. What we’re most curious about is how the interface works. As many people who have used tablet PCs or touchscreens know, it’s usually the software interface that makes or breaks the experience. We’ve been curious since TechCrunch talked about what netbooks should be. Can’t wait for some videos.