Digital Signage has exploded over the last few years and is now utilized in businesses ranging from fast food restaurants for menu boards to factories for showing real time productivity analytics. The uses for digital signage is unlimited and the cost has come down to a price point that even small businesses can afford.
Gateworks has created a simple software signage solution for use on the Ventana Family of Single Board Computers. Connect the SBC to an HDMI or LCD display and point to the desired URL.
Gateworks Digital Signage Features:
Based on Android Lollipop, Optimized for 256MB Flash
Displays any local or remote URL in a full screen browser (Kiosk Mode)
Supports Hardware Acceleration for smooth playback of web content
Android is growing fast in embedded applications. The Gateworks Android Development kit is a great starting point for customers that need to get going quickly with both the hardware and software.
To aid in Android software development, Gateworks has developed an example Android application showcasing the interaction of the software with the Gateworks Android hardware. The application features support for the user GPIO, LEDs and more. An easy to use Android library is also provided which can be utilized for any custom application development.
Gateworks has documented Android Software on the following wiki pages:
OS Development – This wiki page covers items dealing with the lower level operating system. This includes items on the serial console command line such as init scripts, ADB, partitions, command line networking, LED control, GPIO control and other hardware integration.
App Development – This wiki page details the building of an Android App (APK file) independent of building the entire Android OS. Topics covered include setting up the Android Studio IDE, writing sample code for a Hello World App, as well as using an external Gateworks code library for accessing low level items through the app such as GPIOs, LEDs and more.
Gateworks Android Library – This is a library that allows easy integration to low level system items such as LEDs, GPIO, PWM and voltage and temperature.
Gateworks Android Demo App
Gateworks has used the information above to create a Gateworks Demo App that is publicly available on GitHub here. The app features a user friendly front end for controlling some hardware features on the board utilizing the GateworksUtil library. Screenshots of the app can be seen below:
Figure 1. (Above) LED control of the trigger and the on / off state. GPIO as input or output and state.
Figure 2. (Above) Hardware system statistics
Figure 3. (Above) PWM enable, period and duty cycle.
Gateworks recently featured a blog in which 8 video cameras were connected to a Gateworks Ventana SBC and then displayed on a HDMI monitor. This is useful for localized applications. For remote applications there is another solution.
Remote applications require streaming the multiple video streams over the network (Ethernet or WiFi). For bandwidth efficiency, all camera inputs can be joined together into a single frame and then transmitted across the network.
To join all the streams into a single frame, a software element of GStreamer called a compositor is used. Older versions of the compositor relied on the CPU and caused choppy video. Gateworks recently started using gstreamer-imx which contains a hardware accelerated compositor which is far superior. With this compositor, each stream can be positioned on the frame and then linked to a RTSP stream in the H.264 format.
An example is shown with two Gateworks Ventana SBCs that are on the same network.
Start the following pipeline on the SBC with the cameras connected:
Android is becoming a very useful platform for demanding embedded systems. When coupled with a LCD touchscreen, Android loaded on a rugged industrial single board computer can become the interface everyone desires. Gateworks has created a turn-key Android development system to bring a product to market quickly!
The system includes the following:
GW5224 Single Board Computer
Freescale i.MX6 Quad Core Processor
2GB NAND Flash
WiFi and Bluetooth Radio
7″ LCD PCAP Touchscreen Display with black anodized bezel