Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (4-17-12): Rethinking the "graphics" in embedded GUIs - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (4-17-12): Rethinking the “graphics” in embedded GUIs

Embedded Newsletter for 04-17-2012

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April 17, 2012

Tech Focus: Rethinking the “graphics” in embedded GUIs

HIGHLIGHTS

Embedded 3D graphics is here, but 2D is still important: Here's why

The basics of 3D authoring for embedded systems designers – Part 1

3D graphics authoring for embedded systems designers: Part 2- Deploying 3D objects


Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor
Embedded.com

New directions pioneered by companies such as Apple in mobile phones, tablets, and MP3 players have motivated embedded developers to rethink their assumptions about graphical user interfaces, not only in the embedded consumer market, but more broadly as well in industrial control and automotive.

In “Gesture recognition: first step toward 3D UIs, ” the authors tell us that capacitive touch sensor interfaces such as those used first in Apple devices is just the beginning. They predict that such things as stereo vision, structured light, and time of flight sensors will drastically reshape embedded GUI design. This means that developers must look at new ways of matching the changes on the touch sensor interface side of GUI, and must pay greater attention to the way they design 2D interfaces and how 3D graphics can be used productively in their designs. Addressing those issues are my Editor's Top Picks this week:

The basics of 3D authoring for embedded systems designers,” in which Rick Tewell provides a variety of tip for creating high-quality models for use in embedded designs.

3D graphics authoring for embedded systems designers , ” in which Rick Tewell takes you through the process of displaying 3D models on an embedded device.

Embedded 3D graphics is here, but 2D is still important: here's why“, by Waqar Saleem, where he describes how to build hybrid graphics systems in which 2D can be used to allow the 3D engine to focus on the most graphics-intensive operations.

Supplementing these articles, we have a variety of white papers, design articles, and webinars on writing GUI drivers, GUI testing, and doing graphics without a GUI controller. I also recommend: “Unlocking the 3D capabilities of graphics display controllers“, and “UI and graphics development for embedded systems“.

To get a better idea of what's next in the embedded market , be sure to register for Colin Holland's Webinar on Friday, April 20, in which he will discuss the results of the UBM Electronics 17th annual survey of embedded designers worldwide on trends in hardware and hardware usage as well as languages, productivity, and the challenges design teams rank as most important.


Design How-Tos

Embedded 3D graphics is here, but 2D is still important: Here's why

In this Product How-To, Fujitsu's Waqar Saleem compares 2D and 3D graphics techniques in embedded designs and then describes an approach that combines the benefits of both techniques, using the company's IRIS fast pixel engine-based MB86R1x and MB9EF126 CPUs to illustrate a typical 2D/3D configuration.

The basics of 3D authoring for embedded systems designers – Part 1

In this first article in a two-part series, Rick Tewell of Fujitsu Semiconductor describes the process of 3D graphics design, with tips and techniques for creating high-quality models suitable for use in a variety of embedded designs.

3D graphics authoring for embedded systems designers: Part 2- Deploying 3D objects

In this second in a two part series on designing and Modeling 3D Objects for Embedded Applications, Rick Tewell of Fujitsu Semiconductor takes you through the process of displaying 3D models on an embedded device that supports that supports 3D graphics.

Embedding graphics displays into auto infotainment and navigation systems

Picking a embedded graphics display controller for an auto's infotainment or navigation system requires a different mindset than doing so for a desktop computer. Here are a few guidelines.

Writing drivers for common touch-screen interface hardware

Although touch screens are rapidly becoming more popular most developers have never created one before. Here is a step by step design guide that leads you through the hardware and software required to make touch screens work the first time.

GUI testing: exposing visual bugs

GUI testing traditionally meant finding the most appropriate access point to inject test cases. The challenge, however, is in making the GUI tests repeatable. Here's a homegrown framework that allows test input to be managed, replacing manual test cases.

Color space conversion for HDTV on computer displays

The RGB color space is excellent for ensuring that colors are correctly mapped from input to output without color degradation. Computer graphics have adopted the RGB color space due to these facts, as well as its simplicity. On the other hand, television has adopted the more complex YUV color space in order to economize bandwidth for transmission and broadcast of its video signals.

Add graphics without using a dedicated graphics controller

The author describes the various means by which integrated peripherals on a microcontroller along with graphics libraries enable embedded designers to push down costs by driving an LCD display without a graphics controller.

Unlocking the 3D capabilities of graphics display controllers

Computer and consumer electronics users now routinely expect 3D-rendered elements in user interfaces for LCD displays. Effective 3D images dazzle consumers, help define a product's style and value, and can convey a great deal of information.

Designing a high-definition FPGA-based graphics controller

The folks at MYLIUM have enhanced their original graphics controller offering to provide high-definition (HD) capabilities…

Graphics processing: When DIY just doesn't make sense

High-end displays are gaining ground, and designers are urged to develop more advanced graphics processing. To lower the cost of ownership, ARM suggests licensing of an integrated GPU solution that includes software and hardware.

Graphics rendering engine using DSP in dual-core DaVinci as soft graphics accelerator

The principal reason for using the DSP instead of an external Hardware Graphics Accelerator (GPU) lies in the significant cost saving. The TSM320DM644x already has a display controller and a fast connection to main memory, and thanks to its flexible DMA channels, makes an ideal Soft Graphics Accelerator (SGA).

Architecture choices balance cost and performance for embedded graphics applications

High-end graphics display controllers help define product style and value with dynamic graphics that dazzle consumers. At the other end of the spectrum, modest GDCs display information clearly and simply, giving users what they want efficiently and cost effectively.

Fragmented frame buffer graphics ease cluster display requirements

A new approach removes the need to store complete frame buffers in RAM, thereby reducing RAM size needed to support large displays. This method also allows images to be stored at an optimum resolution, thus reducing the non-volatile memory requirement as well.

Gesture recognition–first step toward 3D UIs?

Gesture recognition is the first step to fully 3D interaction with computing devices. The authors outline the challenges and techniques to overcome them in embedded systems.


2012 Embedded Market Survey webinar

UBM Electronics' 17th annual survey of embedded systems designers worldwide shows trends in software and hardware usage. The 2012 Embedded Market Survey also looks at languages, productivity, and the challenges design teams rank as most important. A webinar on Friday April 20 will examine the results from over 1,700 respondents from across the embedded industry, the dataset enables a deep analysis to track key changes in this important electronics industry segment. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions online. To register click here .


Products

ARM POPs for better designs

ARM extends their Processor Optimization Packs to help customers get better design solutions with lower levels of risk…

Analog Devices' Blackfin processors feature 1GHz core performance, accelerated vision analytic, and low power consumption

Analog Devices, Inc. has launched a series of 1-GHz, dual-core, Blackfin processors optimized for embedded vision applications.

Nuvoton launches NuMicro Mini51 32-bit MCU series

Nuvoton's brand new 32-bit MCU series is powered by the ARM Cortex-M0

IEEE802.15.4-certified wireless MCU targets the Smart Grid

STMicroelectronics' STM32W microcontroller is among the first IEEE802.15.4 certified platforms that will support the new ZigBee Smart Energy Profile version 2.0 (SEP 2.0), which defines smart grid scenarios for a “greener” world.

Embedded networking web server based on Infineon XMC4000 MCUs

Arrow Electronics has developed an embedded web server based on Infineon`s new 32-bit XMC4000 microcontroller family that leverages the ARM Cortex M4 processor.

BGA48-packaged MCUs suit wireless sensing apps

Energy Micro has extended the company's EFM32 Gecko range of microcontrollers with the addition of products supplied in a thin, fine-pitch BGA48 packaging.

Energy Micro adds ultra-compact BGA48 package for Tiny Gecko devices

Energy Micro has extended its EFM32 Gecko range of microcontrollers with the addition of products supplied in a very thin, fine-pitch BGA48 packaging.

NXP rolls MCUs for power management applications

NXP Semiconductors announced a new series of microcontrollers featuring an interconnected and flexible analog subsystem, based on the ARM Cortex-M0 processor at the DESIGN West event.

Microchip brings cost-effective analog/digital capabilities to 8-bit PIC microcontrollers

New MCUs feature on-chip 12-bit ADC, 8-bit DAC, op amps, high-speed comparators, eXtreme low power technology, and 16-bit PWM for advanced control

ST's advanced wireless MCU supports SEP 2.0, reduces power outages and carbon emissions

STMicroelectronics has begun advanced sampling of the STM32W, its newest single-chip wireless microcontroller for the next generation of smart grid standards.


Commentary

User Interface Prototypes

A wealth of resources are available to simulate desktop interfaces. Niall shares a low-cost way to leverage them for embedded systems.

User interfac

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