For a long time the Internet was just something we could consume on our desktop machines. You clicked this little icon on your desktop to open up a window that allowed you to dive into a brand new digital world. Many years later the mobile internet revolution happened. And today? Today the Internet is everywhere in everything. With the possibility to connect all kind of devices, the digital and physical world walk hand in hand and a whole new revolution has risen: The era of The Internet of Things.
Liechtenecker and IoT
We are a lab and a partner for our clients with the mission to guide them to their digital future and IoT is a big part of that. This is why IoT is one of our main fields of expertise and we experiment a lot with it in our IoT-Room. With this article I want to give a short insight into the world of IoT and so I will make you familiar with IoT Displays.
Choose your weapon, aehm display
When we think about displays we have those big fancy monitors in mind. Regardless if we talk about a computer, a TV or a cinema: We want the screen to be big and crystal clear! But this isn’t the case everywhere. With more and more devices getting connected to the Internet the screen landscape needs to adapt too. There are and will be new type of screens due to new requirements.
We live in the era of The Internet of Things.
Additionally, like in other industries, there is a big hype about mixing digital with old-school techniques. Let’s take a look at the different displays I have encountered so far.
Unlike the LCD displays we know from our TVs today there are a lot of simple LCD components which you can easily use with a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino. You probably know these parts from your old school calculator or mobile phone. Because of their size they are easy to use in small products.
But the size is also a restriction. Only a bunch of characters fit on these screens and this is why they are mostly used for short informational messages.
LED it be
Today you will find LEDs everywhere. Their main advantage is the low energy consumption in comparison with traditional incandescent lights. A LED is such a small but powerful component. Even a single LED provides important information like if a device is ON or OFF.
Especially when you start working on your first IoT projects you will certainly use a LED somewhere. A typical first test is to turn a LED on and off with a Raspberry Pi over a GPIO pin. But they can be important for all kind of projects. Besides the single LEDs there are dozens of other LED components you can use like strips, a matrix or buttons. Combined and in a variation of colors they work as a display too. It’s like a screen with just a low resolution: Simple but powerful.
Besides complete displays there are also digit components. They are great if you just want to show numbers or a date. They are available in different colors and their setup is very simple. Of course you can combine them as you like depending on your needs.
My absolute favorite example is the display of the Delorean in Back To the Futur. Everyone loves this movie <3. And if someone does not, this one should 😉
Everything is a display
What we see a lot in the IoT world is the combination of digital and analog components. For most projects you could just use a fancy high-resolution display but actually what you will see is something different. People like to use old-school / retro like components. It’s a trend which can be seen in a lot of industries now and to be honest it is a lot of fun. So what does it take to be a display? In fact it is just a visual effect transporting an information.
A good example of what a display could look like and what is possible is the F21 Thread Screen.
By moving a spool you are able to change the color of a “pixel” of the display. But what makes this project really great is the connection to the Internet (Instagram in this case) and the community.
What are we up to?
So why are they talking about IoT displays you might think? Good question! Of course we are up to something. Something big I would say! This is why we did a lot of research and why we tested a lot of different displays. Unfortunately I can’t tell you more about this at the moment, but as a little teaser here is a photo just for you 🙂