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A small 1.14" SPI-based display. Image: Adafruit

In the previous page of this guide, we took a look at the types of display interfaces available to hardware designers. The first installment of this guide looked at low-power, low-resolution, and (potentially) small displays. These are the types of displays you’d connect to a small microcontroller for an IoT thermostat, for instance. Or a smartwatch. Something like that.

For this installment, we’ll be taking a look at vastly more complicated display interfaces, and those usually mean larger, higher-power displays. …


If you’re a hardware designer, the hardest part of any project is always the part with human interaction. An IoT sensor will dutifully report temperature and air quality data, but if there’s no way for a human to interpret those readings, that piece of hardware is no better than a brick.

One of the best ways to give data to a user is with a display. This can be anything from a single LED blinking out Morse code to a high-resolution TFT display. Blinking a LED is easy, but TFTs not so much: there are decisions to be made about the size, power consumption, and most importantly how to drive that display with a microcontroller. …


The coronavirus pandemic has put supply chains under intense scrutiny. While most reporting on this focuses on the delivery of essentials to grocery stores, it’s also found in the engineering of high-tech medical equipment.

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A patient in a ventilator, 1938. Image: Keystone/Getty Images

A few years ago, one of a handful of Americans still living in an iron lung faced a problem.

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