We are proud to announce the biggest technological leap we have taken since the beginning of Riverdi: a high brightness IPS display line with BT817Q controller. But, what is all the EVE4 fuss about? Read on…
What is EVE4?
Embedded Video Engine is a smart display controller; a backend of sort, invisible to the end user, responsible for executing certain functions. EVE4 is the name we have given to the Bridgetek’s BT817Q controller which we use on our Riverdi displays. We are the first company in the world to implement it.
Before EVE4, we were using EVE1, EVE2 and EVE3 and they still exist. While there are other companies developing their solutions to BT817Q, we are at the forefront; Riverdi is the very first company, according to Bridgetek, to have already implemented BT817Q on a mass scale and into production. We are also the first on the market with a whole line of IPS displays ranging from 3.5” to 10.1” with the BT817Q controller ready. And while others can follow this path, there are a lot of details behind HOW it will be done. We believe we’ve done it at the highest possible level. The art is the design of the PCB, the solutions used, the running of the signals…
The devil is in the details
- Low noise – in order to have access to industrial, medical, and even military projects, we put a lot of emphasis on keeping the electromagnetic emission of the display at a very low level. We may even share the results of the research on emission of our displays at some point. We’re talking about high EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) and low EMI (electromagnetic interferences).
- Built-in Flash memory – a permanent memory that allows to store pictures, movies and fonts. It can be programmed in two ways: you can program it from our host via Bridgetek’ BT817Q: upload the images to the memory and you can change them during the operation of the device, or we can upload them during production via a quick connector. If you’re ordering a 1000 displays with certain content to be displayed; we load the content for you during production of the displays removing that element of programming work from your side. You no longer have to prepare a code that would transfer and verify the content. We can simply prepare the memory content, immediately upload it, verify and deliver displays that are already programmed.
- Audio amplifier – to generate sounds from Bridgetek’s BT817Q. We can send sound outside to the host but, interestingly, we can also receive it from the host. We can use, for example, Bridgetek’s built-in sounds, but we can also generate additional sounds on our side and send them to the display board and there they will be amplified by the amplifier and played on the speaker that can be attached to the display directly. Some sounds that the handset can generate could be just a classic ‘beep beep’ when touched, failure sounds, device operation sounds or even sound messages. Each of our PCBs has a built-in amplifier and speaker connection. There is space for speakers to be glued directly onto the display.
- SPI and QSPI interface options for the host – most modern microcontrollers run on QSPI since it is four times faster. However, all our displays run perfectly well on standard SPI too so the interface can be chosen depending on the speed requirements for loading new content to the display memory.
- RiBus connector – a 20-pin standard connector allowing you to build one board that can be used in several devices with different display sizes. Let’s look at an example: you can have a coffee machine with a 3.5”, 5” or 10 ”display and have the same electronics inside because the display connector is identical and all compatibility is maintained between sizes.
- Non-square pixel algorithm – most displays have square pixels, it is natural because if we want to draw a circle, it needs to be round. However, 7” displays often have rectangular pixels, due to type of glass that is very popular today in the world. What happens is that when you want to draw a circle, an ellipse is being drawn, it’s minimal but some customers pay attention to it. EVE4 solves this problem by introducing a correction on the fly; it is enough to point out that we are dealing with a display with rectangular pixels and it will apply the correction.
What is also crucial, is that the EVE4 line is based on our latest line of High Brightness IPS displays with a number of optical advantages in terms of angles, colors and high brightness – all of them 1000 candelas.
Ilitek’s industrial touch controller
The most interesting point, and what distinguishes us from the competition, is the combination of the Bridgetek’s intelligent controller BT817Q on our Riverdi board with Ilitek’s industrial touch panel controller ILI2132A resulting in an intelligent display with an industrial touch panel. Here, we are unquestionably the first and only company in the world that has prepared such a solution. Until now, the Bridgetek’s BT817Q chip has only supported popular controllers from the consumer market. They worked well for many simple applications, however, when industrial or semi-industrial applications are concerned, then the requirements are simply higher. It can be the thickness of the glass on the touch panel; the electromagnetic immunity to self-touch so that the device never works by itself even when in conditions of strong interference; working with gloves; working with water on the screen; when it is steamed up, etc. All this is possible thanks to the industrial touch controller. We can have glass thickness from less than 1 mm up to 15 mm without changing anything in the hardware. It is only a different firmware in the touch controller – we set a different sensitivity and that’s it. The customer can buy a standard display, perform tests on it and then order whatever thickness of glass they may require. Let’s say a parking meter that is outside will require glass of 4, 6 or even 8 mm, this changes nothing on our side except the front glass and the touch panel settings.
It’s an incredibly huge advantage because the new line covers a wide spectrum of customer needs starting with the display itself: the high brightness lets them be used outside and be still visible but if you need lower brightness, we can reduce it very easily. But today, even inside, 500 or 700 candelas displays are standard. If we look at public spaces such as shopping malls or airports, 700 candelas are the standard of brightness there – that’s a lot. The brightness standard on our laptops or monitors is 250-300 candelas. Riverdi displays have 1000 candelas which allows them to work outdoors and still have relatively high readability. Riverdi IPS displays can be easily used in both commercial and industrial applications, indoors and outdoors.
EVE4 application examples
Devices that work in industrial spaces; production halls and factories, often require high mechanical resistance because something can happen: someone can hit something, push something, so often the glass on the screen is thicker. Also working with gloves is required there. And very importantly, the high electromagnetic immunity: the machine cannot turn on by itself even if someone is welding next to it. The disturbances can be very strong and the industrial controller can handle it.
Other applications include external devices like vending machines, parking meters, ticket machines or access gates. Places with a display and an RFID reader where we put a card and something can be seen on this display, sometimes there is a possibility to touch and select some options. This is the industrial side.
From the medical side; the high resistance, working with water or with medical gloves, good angles that IPS give is also required – the device must be visible from all sides, regardless of where it stands. Zero bad pixels also guarantee that that no smallest detail will be missed.
In terms of military use, the very high EMC plays the most important role in order for a device to pass military certifications. It would be vital for a tactical radio, for example, to emit the lowest possible electromagnetic interferences. The very high display resolution means a map can be zoomed in very closely and the high brightness will give it great legibility outdoors. The industrial touch panel allows for seamless use even with military grade gloves or when wet.
This sounds pricey
All these advanced features seem like they should cost a lot but, in reality, it depends on how you count it. While this solution may not be the cheapest available, it definitely is not expensive either. We have been a supplier of volume quantities of displays for many years so our material prices are relatively low and the prices we offer for the parameters that our displays have are on the low end too. If we look at a parking meter, a machine that would be required in very high quantities and at the same time its needs seem simple – displaying information – there is also a need for reliable and long-lasting operation. It is worth paying a little extra for it, and it is definitely worth choosing a display that meets the quality parameters. The parking meter will have to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for let’s say 10 years, with minimal or no failures or incorrect operation. If people cannot buy a ticket, that’s a big problem and a very large cost of handling the failure.
EVE3, EVE4… Is there EVE5 coming out soon?
Not necessarily, because this latest upgrade was very significant. The steps between EVE1, EVE2 and EVE3 were smaller. From the point of view of the intelligence of the display and controller, the biggest step was taken between EVE2 and EVE3 – QSPI and Flash memory appeared in EVE3 and therefore a lot of programming possibilities of image reproduction. Indeed, EVE3 and EVE4 are not that different in this aspect although EVE4 has several advantages: it is faster, it has more memory and it supports higher resolution, but the motor inside is pretty much the same offering similar capabilities to the EVE3 which was already very advanced.
The greatest advantage of this new EVE4 line is that we have completely changed the display and the touch panel. This is a huge upgrade and a line that we will promote long into the future. Looking back, we have built the EVE1, EVE2 and EVE3 on the TN displays but since we have just introduced the high brightness IPS displays and added industrial touch panels to them, this is the biggest leap we have made since the start of Riverdi. This is a completely new offer, a new quality. When EVE5 or EVE6 appear, unless they have some massive advantages, we probably will not introduce them immediately and keep the previous displays as top ones. EVE4 will stay with us for many years to come.
To find out about some practical scenarios of the use of EVE4, visit our blog.