Arduino-compatible touch-enabled display shield from FTDI

Arduino-compatible touch-enabled display shield from FTDI

New Products |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

FTDI first introduced its Arduino-compatible concept – aiming to reach a wider audience – by means of a crowdfunding exercise. The company now has full availability of the CleO product (and accompanying accessories) through its distribution partners, as well as directly via the company’s website. FTDI Chip will also give engineers complete access to a comprehensive development resource, which has step-by-step tutorials and projects, plus a series of software tools. In addition, a new forum has been set up ( on which design tips, application ideas and other information can be shared.

FTDI says that engineers of all different levels of aptitude (from seasoned professionals right through to keen amateurs) can develop next generation HMIs exhibiting high levels of functionality and superior graphical qualities. The initial CleO offering comprises a HVGA resolution, 3.5-inch TFT display incorporating a resistive touchscreen and supporting both portrait and landscape implementations. An FTDI Chip FT810 high resolution embedded video engine (EVE) graphic controller executes the HMI operation, while one of the company’s 310DMIPs FT903 microcontrollers addresses all additional processing tasks. This display shield provides smooth animation of graphical content, even at 60 fps frame rates. Anti-aliased graphics capabilities render images in finer detail – eliminating the unwanted presence of jagged edges.

When CleO is combined with FTDI Chip’s NerO – an energy efficient Arduino-compatible design capable of operating up to 1W, FTDI asserts that it offers a far more powerful solution than a normal Arduino-format UNO/display shield package. However, its Arduino compatibility means it can also connect with the wide variety of different shields (sensors, motors, switches, etc.) available for this platform.

CleO has an array of accessories; with dimensions of 57.15 x 54.35 mm, the CleO-RIO module provides a mechanism for stacking the CleO shield and an Arduino board together. The CleO-Speaker module (which measures 63 x 63 x 23.8mm) facilitates the playback music/tones for HMIs where audio has been incorporated. There is also an audio line for input of audio from external sources. The CleO-Camera module has an OV5640 1/4-inch 5 Mpixel CMOS image sensor plus flash LEDs and a 24-pin 0.5mm pitch FFC cable. There is also a 9V power adaptor which provides the NerO/CleO solution with up to 1A of current.

Fred Dart, FTDI Chip’s CEO and Founder, comments, “CleO capitalises on the widespread popularity of Arduino and the countless compatible shields that are out there, as well as drawing our own industry-leading display and high speed bridging technologies… far more ambitious HMI projects can be embarked upon. By referring to our detailed tutorials, even the least experienced of engineers will gradually gain greater confidence and be able to create highly sophisticated designs.”

FTDI Chip’s CleO offering has a unit price of $69;

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