UpLAB's ioTouch Brings 24-Bit RGB TFTs, Open GUI Framework to ESP32 Projects

Powered by the ESP32-WROOM, and featuring a dedicated graphics coprocessor, the ioTouch aims to make graphics projects a cinch.

Gareth Halfacree
2 months ago β€’ Internet of Things

Rocco Taurasi's upLAB Solutions has taken to Kickstarter to raise funding for an Espressif ESP32-based development board with a difference: The ioTouch is built around driving a bundled tempered-glass TFT touchscreen display.

"IoTouch is a new solution especially thought for the Internet of Things. It is composed of an ESP32 based board with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, and thanks to an external embedded GPU it is directly interfaced with a 24[-bit] RGB TFT glass capacitive display," Taurasi explains of his design. "With a really minimal and compact design and thanks to the adhesive touch screen ioTouch can be fitted almost wherever you want. In the minimal configuration, you just need to plug the USB cable to power on the device and HAVE FUN..

"A completely free and open source set of libraries build an easy and intuitive framework, no touch and video engine coding skills are needed. Draw beautiful interactive pages in just a few lines of code, the framework handles touch detection, effects like button pressed/released, autonomous tracking and rendering of graphical objects like dial, slider, and so on.

"Grid and Styles help you drawing faster your pages and make easier the porting trough different display sizes and resolutions. If you are working on a domotic [home automation] project, a wireless device that needs a good and intuitive HMI, entertainment or advertising projects, a vending machine or just having fun coding and making DIY projects, make it simple and with an amazing design."

The base board features an Espressif ESP32-WROOM dual-core 32-bit microcontroller, single-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and BLuetooth 4.2/Bluetooth Low Energy, plus an FTDI FT183 EVE2 graphics coprocessor to drive one of three sizes - 3.5" 320x240, 4.3" 480x272, or 5" 800x480 - of 24-bit full-colour capacitive touch display panels. The boards also include an dimmable LED driver circuit for the display backlight, an FFC connector which exposes all ESP32 pins not used by the internal flash plus USB and the audio output of the FT813, and power management for 5V or battery power.

A stretch goal for the project adds the ioTouch Discovery, a breakout board which interfaces with the FFC connector to add a secondary USB connector, a speaker, lithium-polymer battery charge circuit, and microSD for additional storage. The board will also, should the goal be reached, include a metal frame printed on a selective laser melting (SLM) printer for a desktop or tablet form-factor project plus an RGB LED light bar.

The crowdfunding campaign is now live, with rewards starting at €130 for the ioTouch with 3.5" TFT and rising to €160 for the 5" variant (around $143 to $176); all hardware rewards include the ioTouch Discovery bundle, should the campaign raise €80,000 total (around $88,200.)

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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