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Linux-based display dev kit offers multitouch options

Oct 21, 2013 — by Eric Brown — 1381 views

Reach Technology announced a 4.3-inch display module development kit for HMI applications with 480 x 272 resolution and either a resistive ($449) or capacitive ($499) touchscreen. The G2 module runs embedded Linux on a 454MHz Freescale i.MX28 processor, offers Ethernet, USB, CAN, and I2C interfaces, and is supported with Qt Creator IDEs in Linux and Windows versions.

Reach Technology’s G2 module is built on embedded Linux, and is supported the way an embedded Linux product should be, with full specifications, schematics, and source code posted on site. Additionally, the development kit takes advantage of Qt’s cross-platform support to offer separate development environments for Linux and Windows PC users (see farther below for more details).

Reach Technology G2 display module, front and back
(click image to enlarge)


The G2 display module, which follows an earlier G1 generation, is designed for medical or industrial human-machine interface (HMI) applications. The new module runs Linux on a 454MHz, ARM9-based Freescale i.MX28 processor. Memory starts at 128MB DDR2 RAM and 128MB NAND flash, and there’s an option for 256MB flash, as well as a microSD slot for further expansion.

The 4.3-inch display offers WQVGA (480 x 272) with 400 (cd/m²) luminance. Both resistive and capacitive multitouch technologies are available, with the latter adding $50 to the price.

A variety of I/O is available, but it appears that the only real-world ports, aside from the microSD slot, are the two USB 2.0 host ports and one USB 2.0 OTG port. The module offers a 10/100 Ethernet controller, as well as three serial ports, two of them configurable as RS232/422/485. Other I/O includes SPI, I2C, and CAN connections, as well as 8-bit GPIO.

The 4.7 x 2.7 x 0.5-inch module supports -20 to 70°C temperature operation, and offers “extreme ESD protection and ultra-low EMC,” with further ruggedization services available on request, says Reach. Additionally, all the components are provided with 5-7 year long-term availability, at a minimum, plus 10+ year processor support.

Specifications listed for the Reach G2 module include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX28 (1x ARM9 core @ 454MHz)
  • Memory:
    • 128MB DDR2 DRAM (expandable)
    • 128MB or 256MB NAND flash
    • MicroSD slot (captive, not push-pull for durability)
  • Display:
    • 4.3-inch WQVGA (480 x 272) touchscreen
    • LED backlight with software-controlled brightness
    • Dot pitch — 0.198 x 0.198mm
    • Luminance — 400 (cd/m²) “typical”; higher luminance model also available
    • Viewing angles — 70/70° left/right, 50/70° up/down
  • Touch support:
    • 4-Wire analog resistive or projected capacitance glass touchscreens with standard Linux drivers
    • Capacitive version offers multitouch support, optional glass/glass cover
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet MAC and PHY with low profile Molex picoSpox
  • USB — 2x USB 2.0 host (coastline); 1x USB OTG (coastline)
  • Serial ports:
    • 1x RS232
    • 2x RS232/422/485
    • CAN bus
  • Other I/O — SPI; I2C; 8-bit GPIO (Port 5-V tolerant)
  • Other features — 10+ long-term availability
  • Power — 5V DC (or 5.15V for 5V USB host power out); 650mA max. consumption
  • Ruggedization:
    • Operating temperature — -20 to 70° C (display slower below 0°)
    • tested for 25+KV ESD and FCC Class B EMC compliance
  • Weight — 120 g
  • Dimensions — 4.65 x 2.65 x 0.522 inches; fits 2U rack enclosure
  • Operating system — embedded Linux; dev kits with Qt-based IDE available in both Linux and Windows versions


Developer kits

Both Linux and Windows developer kits are available, both of which “include all the hardware, software, and support designers need to create a prototype in days, not months,” says Reach. The software kits offer a Qt Creator IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that offers drag-and-drop visual design tools, and enables features like scrolling, sliding, transparencies, and 3D graphics and animations. Example code, video tutorials, and custom visual components are also available.

The Windows kit is designed for Windows PC users with modest development skills and no Linux experience, says Reach. It uses the cross-platform Qt Creator IDE to mask the intricacies of Linux file systems and other gnarly details. All display module files are accessed via a Windows file server running on the development module, and a simple Windows G2Link utility provides push-button access to the module for configuration and programming. All UI code is written in high-level QML and JavaScript, and doesn’t require a compile step.

The Linux kit provides a full development environment for users with moderate Linux experience, and is recommended for developers who need extensive customization. Developers can code in C, C++, or use packages like Qt, GTK+, and X11. A Linux VM (virtual machine) is available with a cross compiler for the i.MX28 processor. Reach also offers and maintains a full Yocto build system.

Hardware resources include images, videos, datasheet and manual, mechanical specifications, and panel specifications. The kits ship with 3D, DXF, and STEP files. Additionally, the company offers extended thermal, mechanical, vibration customization services.

Further information

The G2 kit appears to be available now for $449 (resistive touch) or $499 (capacitive) in either Linux or Windows versions. Much more information, including videos, may be found at the Reach G2 product page.

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