Archive for the ‘SPARK 2011’ category

Give Windows Embedded the Finger …

February 28, 2011

… And hookup a touch screen!

 MicroTouch™ CT150 touch monitor
Depending on the hardware you choose to use, it’s actually not that hard to get your touch screen device and drivers working for Windows Embedded 7. I had picked up a nice 15” 3M™ MicroTouch™ Display C1500SS LCD monitor for a steal off of EBay a few years back to use for a similar project that I never got started on.

The 15″ 3M MicroTouch™ Display C1500SS from 3M is designed for easy integration into kiosks, industrial enclosures and other installations where compact, touch-integrated displays are needed. The C1500SS consists of a rugged metal enclosure that provides mounting stability and protects the LCD from damage. The C1500SS combined with the 3M™ MicroTouch™ System SCT3250EX (surface capacitive touch technology) makes it a winning combination for an environment where it will get a lot of use, such as the kitchen.

Luckily, 3M had already created drivers and software that was compatible with Windows CE 5.0, so I didn’t need to completely reinvent the wheel and try and build drivers from scratch. However, that being said – it was not all smooth sailing. The documentation that comes with the installer is very lack-luster and getting the application installed and usable by the generated OS is a bit of a challenge.

When I first got started with the touch screen, I created a new subproject, added the software and drivers, and created a catalog file, that way I could simply select the project out of the Third Party applications list, and use it with any hardware in the future. The subproject compiled great, showed up in the Catalog, and was selectable. Unfortunately, every time I attempted to compile the OS, it kept throwing errors. Eventually, I came up with a new solution to tie the touch screen in – it is less than ideal, but works perfectly. I hope to have time later in the project to go back and try and make the Catalog version work properly.

Below is the final set of instructions I came up with to successfully get the MicroTouch™ Display C1500SS working for Windows Embedded 7:

  1. Identify the Board Support Package (BSP) you want to use with the MicroTouch.
  2. In Visual Studio, Select Tools -> Platform Builder -> Clone BSP.
  3. Fill out the details, and click Clone.
  4. Once the clone is complete, close Visual Studio.
  5. Run Setup for the MicroTouch drivers and software.
  6. When prompted for the install location, select the directory : “C:\WINCE700\platform\%YOUR_NEW_CLONE%\FILES”
  7. One the installation is complete, open your Embedded 7 OS project, and select the newly created BSP.
  8. For the touch screen driver to work, you must include USB support in your Windows image, regardless if your touch screen is USB or serial.


Spark 2011 – Round 2!

February 28, 2011

I made it to Round Two for the 2001 embeddedSPARK Challenge!   (

Below is a list of major sections that I will be working on (and posting here about) in the coming weeks:

  • Touch Screen integration
  • Single sheet scanner integration
  • Voice recognition
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
  • Exposure to Web Services

Stay Tuned!

Spark 2011 Proposal

February 9, 2011

The most common question in any household is “What’s for dinner?” Up until now, for someone to determine what they should cook, it has been a time consuming process of checking what food they have in stock in the cabinets, finding a recipe in a recipe book, and then going to the store to pick up the missing ingredients. This headache becomes even more cumbersome if a member of the family has dietary restrictions, such as diabetes, requires a low sodium diet, or is attempting to lose weight. Weeding through recipes and keeping track of what is eaten is almost impossible. In addition, if (as most families are), they have a hectic schedule of driving kids to and from events, and slaving away at the office, they have little time to plan ahead, and clip coupons that could help save themselves significant money.

The solution to this problem is the Smart Kitchen Assistant (SKA). This device will help revolutionize the kitchen, by keeping track of items purchased, provide recipes that both adhere to dietary restrictions, and make full use of the food items you already own. In addition, by knowing what your purchasing habits are, and what you have already consumed, the Smart Kitchen Assistant can gather coupons for you from online sources, and develop a shopping plan based on a grocery store layout to minimize the time spent in the store.

Read the full proposal: Proposal – Smart Kitchen Assistant