EarthMake has debuted the arLCD (Version 2.0) at Atmel’s official CES 2014 booth (MP25958). EarthMake founder Randy Schafer describes the $89 device as a smart 3.5″ color touchscreen LCD Arduino combo board that brings easy-to-program, smartphone-like user interfaces to the Maker Community.
“Release 2.0 is endorsed by Arduino by being part of the Arduino At Heart program,” Schafer explained. “It also includes firmware enhancements that free up shield pins, adds a second hardware serial port and [offers] an in-circuit programmer, freeing up 512 bytes of sketch memory.”
According to Schafer, the platform will allow Makers to more easily design products equipped with a smartphone-like graphical interface. Indeed, with the arLCD Arduino Library and the Arduino Shield I/O, DIY Makers can create 3D printer controllers, robot interfaces, home automation controllers, wireless sensors and even kinetic art.
“With over 300 I/O shields compatible with the arLCD covering every wireless, I/O, and protocol standard embedded systems, development is like building with blocks,” said Schafer. “Macros and GUI widgets allow users to build a user interface prototype fast – within hours, not days.”
Key arLCD tech specs include a 3.5 inch, 320 x 240 resolution, 65K colors, 250 nit brightness LCD with integrated resistive touchscreen. Additional features? A 16-bit GPU, 4 megabytes of flash memory and USB 2.0. The arLCD – which operates from 6 to 9 volts – draws less than 200mA and provides a -20 to 60°C operating temperature range.
“This is a full featured, ‘smart’ ezLCD GPU with the Arduino Uno (ATmega328) on the same PCB,” said Richard Obermeyer, Vice President of Engineering at EarthMake. “The arLCD flash drive give users the ability to simply copy fonts and bitmaps to the arLCD from a PC via USB, [while] the Arduino IDE [facilitates] rapid product development with Windows, Linux and OSX operating systems.”