It should come as no surprise the Hackaday tip line is regularly flooded with press releases. Everything from an infographic comparing Call of Duty 3 to Battlefield 3 (yes, totally serious), announcements that a company we’ve never heard of is getting a new CFO, to the business proposals from hat box manufacturers that wind up in our inbox on a nearly weekly basis.
With the Hackaday crew sifting though hundreds of these emails a month, you’d figure the PR people would hit gold once in a while, right? Apparently not. The coolest stuff we get in our email is usually from an engineer working on a project and doing a PR rep’s job for them. We thank them for that, so here’s two really cool pieces of hardware that showed up in the tip line recently.
Microcontollers and LCD displays, easily
Interfacing a color LCD with a microcontroller isn’t necessarily hard, but making it look good absolutely is. It’s a piece of cake to download an Arduino library for an LCD display and get a few lines of text up on the screen, but building a GUI? A fool’s errand, we say.
This is where FTDI’s new chip, EVE, comes in. It’s a single chip video engine designed for QVGA (320×240) and WQVGA (400×240) displays with a parallel RGB interface. From the diagrams up on FTDI’s site, getting a display running is as simple as connecting a microcontroller via an I2C or SPI interface, and then hooking up the video lines. There’s also support for touch screen interfaces and audio out, so if you’re looking to build a graphical home automation remote EVE might be the way to go.
x86 with GPIO
A few years ago, before the Raspberry Pi and the realization that low-power ARM boards were capable computing devices, your only choice when developing an embedded device with reasonably fast hardware were either Gumstix or a MiniITX board. Now ARM boards like the Beagleboard, Raspberry Pi, and others have taken over as the preferred platform, but there’s still a market for a small, capable x86 dev board.
[Matt] over at Intel sent us the low down on a project he’s working on called Minnowboard. Basically, it’s a 1GHz Intel Atom E640 processor with everything you would expect on an x86 motherboard – PCI Express, SATA, Gigabit Ethernet, USB, and HDMI through DVI. Unlike just about every other x86 board out there, the Minnowboard borrows ports from the embedded world, with I2C, SPI, CAN bus, and GPIO pins, LEDs, and switches.
[Edward Bernays] was the Antichrist
So there you go. Press releases that aren’t press releases, sent in to us by people who actually care about what they’re working on. While we’re on the subject of the crazy stuff that comes into our email, here’s a really good one that elicited a facepalm or two:
Time: Thursday September 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm
IP Address: redacted
Contact Form URL: https://hackaday.com/contact-hack-a-day/
You gotta learn to rollerblade before hacking the gibson, son.