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New Push Button Switch Has Built-In TFT Colour Graphics Display

28 January 2010

Foremost Electronics, the Essex based specialist distributor of electromechanical components, introduces a cutting-edge man-machine interface solution.

 ScreenKey is a push button switch with a built-in full colour, high resolution TFT graphics display. The display is backlit by a white LED and the integrated TFT LCD display has a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels, where each pixel colour may be chosen from a palette of 65,536 colours.

The ScreenKey is an intelligent device with an onboard microcontroller and graphical display controller. A fully implemented 4-wire SPI interface, with an expanded command set, allows designers to use simple ASCII control, full bitmap graphic display or a combination of the two. This smart switch supports downloadable display content and is designed to minimise bandwidth requirements from a host controller. This is particularly useful in a multi-ScreenKey environment.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics comments, "Our new ScreenKey has major advantages over conventional push button switches. Instead of having to have an individual switch for every function of a system, ScreenKey can be continually reprogrammed to perform many functions in a control sequence and the display used to indicate the actual function at all times. This not only saves panel space and simplifies operation it can also improve ergonomics and aesthetics and offer cost savings. The display may also be used to prompt operators to take action during a process or in an emergency."

The Foremost ScreenKey offers two operating modes. High-level command mode simplifies integration into applications by using simple address codes such as, "text display", "clear display", "report key press" etc. and reduces the frame rate for the key. High-speed mode disables all the on-board signal processing and implements a simple graphics only interface. This mode delivers up to 10 frames per second frame refresh rate.

Overall dimensions of the ScreenKey are 28.10 x 31.90 x 16.70mm and it is a simple click-fit into control panels. A flex-tail cable terminated by a PCB connector is provided to connect to the host system. The ScreenKey may be used in Portrait or Landscape mode depending on the application. The push button switch has two functions, a conventional push-to-make electrically isolated switch and an internal switch monitor which can report key activation to host systems for direct control or monitoring functions. Operating temperature of the ScreenKey is -20 to +70°C and life cycle is up to 7 years from manufacture.

Typical applications for the ScreenKey TFT LCD switch from Foremost Electronics include; Audio/Video studio and broadcast equipment, Industrial Controls, Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, Medical Devices, Automotive and Aerospace, Telecoms and Alarm Systems. Full information on the ScreenKey is available from http://www.4most.co.uk  or by calling +44 (0)1371 811171.

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