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QVGA graphics solution suits embedded display apps

Posted: 15 Nov 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:QVGA Graphics Solution; PICtail Plus daughter board; 16-bit microcontrollers 

Microchip Technology Inc. has announced a QVGA graphics solution for implementing graphics display and control into cost-sensitive graphical user interface applications. This easy-to-use offering comprises a free, highly optimised graphics library and source code; third-party library support; low-cost, full-featured development tools including the new Graphics PICtail Plus daughter board; and PIC24 16-bit microcontrollers.

The free graphics library and code provided by Microchip enable two- and three-dimensional objects, such as circles, text, rectangles, buttons, meters, windows, progress bars and more, along with images, animation, and touch screen capabilities. These graphics features allow engineers to easily implement and customise graphical user interfaces with faster time to market, low risk development and lower total system cost. In addition, Microchip's third-party partners, Segger and Ramtex, offer compatible graphics libraries which reduce software development time and provide greater flexibility in graphical user interface development.

Microchip's new Graphics PICtail Plus daughter board provides a complete hardware and software development environment for concept, evaluation and low-risk product development. The daughter board includes the TFT LCD module that supports 320 x 240 (QVGA) graphic resolution and 65,000 colours. The board is designed to plug into Microchip's Explorer 16 development board, a tool used to evaluate the features and performance of the 16-bit PIC24 microcontrollers and dsPIC33F digital signal controllers.

The QVGA Graphics Solution has been designed to operate with any of Microchip's PIC24F 16-bit microcontrollers and future PIC24H 16-bit microcontrollers and 16-bit dsPIC digital signal controllers. These devices provide a parallel master port interface, 4-8KB of RAM and 16-128KB of Flash program memory, which allow for fast, efficient communication to LCD panels and maximum flexibility in supporting different LCD panel options. Using the 28-pin PIC24F microcontrollers, for example, enables high performance, a small footprint and lowered total system cost.

According to iSupply, more than 310 crore units of small and medium LCD panels were shipped in 2006, and of which, more than 7 crore units came from action matrix LCD. The active matrix LCD (TFT) continues to see healthy growth, and it is expected to grow to more than 110 crore units by 2009. This rapid growth is primarily driven by aggressive price reductions, the continual shift to colour displays and demand for simplified operation and visually appealing data format in display-type applications, such as consumer, automotive, industrial and financial markets.

"With the new Graphics PICtail Plus daughter board, along with the free graphics library and application notes, Microchip makes it easy for engineers to take advantage of broad market trends by adding graphics displays or touch screens to their designs with minimal development time and cost," said Mitch Obolsky, VP of Microchip's Advanced Microcontroller and Architecture Division.

Microchip's new graphics display options are ideally suited for graphical user interface markets and applications, such as home appliances including refrigerators, cooking ranges and washing machines; consumer electronics including any end product with a user display interface; medical including portable ECG monitors, portable glucose monitors and home blood pressure monitors; and industrial including point-of-sale terminals, UPS/power supply displays and test and measurement equipment.

The Graphics PICtail Plus daughter board is available now.




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