The Raspberry Pi single-board computer can now be paired with an official touchscreen display, freeing users from the need to use a full-size TV or monitor and making it easier for hobbyists to build embedded projects with a built-in display.
Announced on the Raspberry Pi blog, the new 7in Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Display connects to the general purpose I/O port and the display serial interface ports of the Raspberry Pi and supports an 800x480 display and 10-finger touch input.
The introduction of the touchscreen gives users the ability to create all-in-one, integrated projects such as tablets, infotainment systems and embedded projects. Drivers to support touch input and an on-screen keyboard will be integrated into the next version of the Raspbian OS build, according to the Raspberry Pi team.
The Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Display has been under development for a couple of years, as the engineers faced tricky choices such as how to connect the screen, where it should draw its power, ensuring long-term availability and keeping it to an affordable price.
"Lifetime is one of the most important requirements, because if a display only has a lifetime of a few months (or the manufacturer is uninterested in guaranteeing a minimum lifetime), we would have to repeat the whole development cycle once more. So we can't just buy a display that's used in your standard iDevice because it is likely to be cancelled when the iCompany decides to move to another manufacturer," wrote Gordon Hollingworth, director of software at Raspberry Pi.
The solution was an industrial-grade LCD display, onto which the Raspberry Pi and the adapter board can be mounted using four screws. The display can be powered using its own dedicated power supply, or the Raspberry Pi and display can be connected to share a power supply.
Instructions on how to update the Raspberry Pi with drivers for the Touchscreen Display can be found on the Raspberry Pi blog.
The display costs £48, and is available from the official Raspberry Pi Swag Store, or from the usual distributors such as RS Components and Farnell/Element 14.
Raspberry Pi users were given a boost earlier this year with the introduction of the Raspberry Pi 2, an updated version that features a more powerful 900MHz quad-core ARM processor and 1GB of memory, delivering six times the performance of previous models.
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