For some time now, the challenges of developing advanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) for embedded platforms has centered around translating the design vision to code, and then deploying that code to hardware platforms that meet the cost sensitivities of the market. The trend on user preferences around HMI, spanning across all industries, is tied to the benchmark most of us carry right in our pocket daily – the smartphone. When a user is met with a screen, it is an almost automatic expectation that the experience be the same as on their smartphone, regardless of what is under the hood. This can be an extreme challenge for cost sensitive markets where the budget for differentiation is low. Consumer markets are showing increased interest in advanced user interface technologies that can be effective at putting yourself ahead of the competition. Regardless of your market’s cost sensitivity, a premium user experience should not require a higher complexity and cost in your Bill of Materials (BOM). NXP™ Semiconductor’s recent release of the i.MX RT1170 crossover microcontroller (MCU) ushers in the era of GHz performance, and when paired with the complete software technology, enables an exceptional user experience at a cost suited to markets across many industries.
A combination of NXP’s i.MX RT1170 MCU and Qt Software framework can heighten UX, like this cost-effective solution in an HMI.
Qt is the most widely used technology for creating seamless user experience for desktop, mobile, and embedded platforms. The framework contains a vast collection of C++/QML based libraries and provides Python/Web support for a seamless UI development across all platforms. It's a practical embedded GUI solution.
Embedded HMI UI UX demo images for NXP Crossover MCUs with Qt for MCUs.
Also, advanced tooling for both the developer and designer is available in the form of a full-featured IDE and Qt Design Studio which allows for importing design projects directly from their native environments like Photoshop, Sketch and Figma with auto code generation. These tools have eased the pain by optimizing the highly iterative designer-developer workflow, allowing both teams to focus on their part of the innovation cycle while performing the hand-off efficiently.
UI/UX designers can import designs from Photoshop, Sketch, and rapid prototype embedded GUIs using Qt Design Studio.
NXP’s i.MX RT1170 crossover MCU has set a new level for what is capable with Qt’s MCU graphics engine – Qt Quick Ultralite (QUL). Qt leverages the VGLite 2D GPU to minimize the load on the core CPU. This means snappier user experience while enabling CPU tasks to be completed faster. The i.MX RT1170 also offers a dual-core option, splitting tasks between the Arm® Cortex®-M7 and the Cortex-M4. QUL can run on either core, allowing a more flexible embedded system architecture. For example, one core can run the HMI, freeing up the other core to cater to non-HMI tasks such as driving peripherals, managing communication interfaces and performing real-time critical tasks without impeding graphics performance, and vice versa.
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