Qt Introduces Bare Metal Toolkit for Microcontrollers
Using a descritive language and small runtime, Qt now supports GUIs without an operating system.
Creating modern user interfaces for embedded systems just got easier. The Qt Company has announced its new toolkit: Qt for MCUs. If you have not heard of Qt before, it is probably best known as a GUI toolkit for cross-platform applications. The new Qt for MCUs lets you skip the operating system and run a graphical user interface on bare metal microcontrollers.
One exciting aspect is that Qt-based applications could now be deployed on systems running traditional operating systems as well as Arm Cortex M7-based microcontrollers. But how does Qt for MCUs achieve that? The answer is a framework called Qt Quick.
Qt Quick is a framework for developing mobile applications. At its core is QML, which is a declarative language used to describe the user interface. Looking at the syntax, it has a JSON feel to it. A low-overhead runtime makes it possible for a QML GUI to bind with backend C/C++ code, (potentially) making the GUI portable across multiple platforms.
Today, there are binary examples available for either ST’s STM32F7 Discovery kit or NXP’s I.MX RT1050-EVKB. Both evaluation kits feature a 4.3-inch touch screen and a processor with an Arm Cortex-M7 core. While the M7 is on the higher-end of the Cortex-M series, keep in mind, QT for MCUs does not rely on a traditional or real-time operating system.
Code for evaluation is not available for a few more weeks. Until then, you can find additional information, download the demo binaries, or sign up for a webinar on Qt’s site.