As far as input devices go, the potentiometer is pretty straightforward: turn it left, turn it right, and you’ve pretty much seen all there is to see. For many applications that’s all you need, but we can certainly improve on the experience with modern technology. Enter this promising project from [upir] that pairs a common potentiometer with a cheap OLED display to make for a considerably more engaging user experience.
The basic idea is to mount the display over the potentiometer knob so you can show useful information such a label that shows what it does, and a readout of the currently detected value. But you’ll likely want to show where the knob is currently set within the range of possible values as well, and that’s where things get interesting.
In the video after the break, [upir] spends a considerable amount of time explaining the math behind details like the scrolling tick marks. The nearly 45 minute long video wraps up with some optimization, as getting the display to move along with the knob in real-time on an Arduino UNO took a bit of extra effort. The final result looks great, and promises to be a relatively cheap way to add an elegant and functional bit of flair to an otherwise basic knob.
With the code and this extensive demonstration of how it all works, adding a similar capability to your next knob-equipped gadget shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Perhaps it could even be combined with the OLED VU meters we’ve covered previously. Be sure to let us know if you end up using this technique, as we’d love to see it in action.
Thanks to [Marko] for the tip.