Love ’em or hate ’em, sometimes your embedded project needs a menu system. Rather than reimplement things each and every time, [sgall17a] put together a simple GUI menu system in Micropython that can be reused in all sorts of projects. The approach uses tables to define the menus and actions, and the demo program comes with a pretty good assortment of examples. Getting up to speed using this module should be fairly easy.
The hardware that [sgall17a] chose to demonstrate the concept couldn’t have been much smaller — it’s a Raspberry Pi Pico development board, an OLED 128 x 64 pixel display, and a rotary encoder with built-in push-button switch (it’s also been tested on ESP32 and ESP8266 boards). The widget under control is one of the commonly available Neopixel development boards. The program is hosted on GitHub, but beware that it’s under development so there may be frequent updates.
This is a good approach to making menus, but is often rejected or not even considered because of the overhead cost of developing the infrastructure. Well, [sgall17a] has done the hard work already — if you have an embedded project requiring local user setup, check out this module.
These days, there’s a huge variety of screens on the market for use with microcontrollers. OLEDs and graphic LCDs abound, while e-ink devices tempt the user with their clean look and low energy consumption. However, for many purposes, the humble HD44780 character LCD does the job just fine. If you’re using such a device, you might want to implement a simple menu system, and in that case, [MyHomeThings] has you covered.
The menu code is simple to modify and implement. It allows the user to define a certain number of menu items, along with button labels and functions to be executed with button presses. By default, it’s set up to work with left and right function buttons, with up and down buttons to toggle through the menu’s various entries. This suits the commonly available Arduino shields which combine a 16×2 character LCD with a set of four tactile buttons in a cross formation. However, modifying the code to use an alternate button scheme would be simple for those eager to tweak things to their liking.
For the absolute beginner to programming, it’s a great way to put together a simple interface for your microcontroller projects. It’s the sort of thing you might use if you’d built a do-everything Arduino handheld device, as we’ve seen built before. If you find text menus too archaic for your purposes, though, be sure to sound off with your favourite solutions in the comments.