Nextion’s drag-and-drop editor makes GUI development a piece of cake.
Often times, Makers look to implement a small TFT display to control their gadgets, only to find that it may a bit more difficult or time-consuming to interface with the hardware than imagined. This is a problem Shenzhen-based startup ITEAD Studio is hoping to solve with its TFT HMI touchscreen. Nextion is a seamless HMI solution that not only serves as an objective-oriented display, but simplifies the GUI development process with the aid of a WYSIWYG editor.
Nextion enables developers to build a user interface without having to code, and provides them with a complete, high-quality display to design advanced graphical embedded applications with smaller RAM, a lower frequency MCU and at a lower cost. Available in both 2.4” and 4.3″ models, Nextion is a true analog touchscreen interface with programmable function buttons for the most robust IoT and consumer electronic applications, ranging from vehicle dashboards and wearable device displays to 3D printer screens and DIY Arduino projects. In fact, its creators note that the TFT HMI is an ideal replacement for conventional LCD and LED Nixie tubes.
Both versions of the Nextion consist of an SD card slot, a touch sensor, a GPU, a UART interface, Flash memory, while the larger of the two includes an RGB buffer and driver among a few other spec differences. The TFT board uses only one serial port for communicating, and a microSD card is used to upload code faster than via the USB to UART interface.
Notable variations between the two models include:
- Resolution: 320×240
- Refresh rate: 80 ms
- Flash: 4MB
- 4-pin UART interface
- Board size: 74.43mm x 42.85mm x 3.32mm
- Display size: 60.78mm x 42.62mm
- Power consumption: 20 mA (sleep), 90 mA (active)
- Resolution: 480×272
- Refresh rate: 20 ms
- Flash: 16MB
- 6-pin UART interface
- Board size: 120mm x 73.59mm x 4.48 mm
- Display size: 105.39mm x 67.18mm
- Power Consumption – 30 mA (sleep), 250 mA (active)
What’s more, the Nextion Editor allows users to easily drag-and-drop their own images and icons, and comes loaded with pre-defined components like buttons, progress bar, menus, gauges and text — which can be personalized in both Chinese and English. With the DIY community in mind, the program also features a “custom component” sharing function that lets Makers create their own custom components and then share them with friends and colleagues over the cloud.
“This lets you get rid of the wiring trouble. We notice that most engineers spend much time in application development but get unpleasant results, the ITEAD Studio team writes. “With the help of this WYSIWYG editor, GUI designing is a piece of cake.”
Moving ahead, Nextion will come with an Arduino library as well, which will give Makers the ability to ease development for their next Atmel based project, including how to add a simple button or display a progress bar adjusted with a potentiometer. At the moment, the Editor is only available for Windows, but the team reveals that Linux and Mac support is in the works.
Interested? Head over to Nextion’s official Indiegogo page, where the team is currently seeking $20,000. Shipment to backers is expected to begin in July 2015.