Take advantage of new HMI tools for embedded graphics design

July 13, 2012 // By Waqar Saleem, Fujitsu Semiconductor America
In this Product How-to article, Waquar Saleem of Fujitsu describes how the use of the company's CGI Studio tool suite can be used to speed up the design of display-enabled HMI/GUI-based embedded systems.

The quality and quantity of graphics content in display-enabled embedded systems is increasingly rapidly. So is the need for an efficient and easy to use HMI/GUI (Human Machine Interface/Graphical User Interface) tool.

These kinds of tools enhance the system developer's ability to input a design, develop and verify the application, then rapidly deploy to the target system. They can save time and effort, from rapid prototyping of user interfaces all the way to serial development of the embedded system.

Also important is the ability to complete these steps easily and cost-efficiently with a process flow that is as seamless as possible.

Described here are the most desirable traits of an HMI tool followed by discussion about a specific tool offering from Fujitsu, the CGI Studio, and how it delivers the listed benefits.

Desirable features of an HMI Tool
The HMI tool should be able to allow early evaluation of HMI development, and structured so that it supports design reviews even in very early stage of the project. It should be able to conveniently support changes to the project implementation, such as graphics content, in the later stages of the project. All of these factors contribute towards making it cost effective.

For example, the HMI tool should give realistic preview of the graphics and scenes as soon as they are imported. This is implemented within the IDE of the tool and enables the designer to have WYSIWYG ( What You See Is What You Get ) view of the graphics.

Widgets or business logic imported into the tool should be able to be run and verified immediately. This is only possible if the HMI tool has capability to simulate graphics application on the host PC. It should allow changing look and feel of the graphics without the need to recompile or rebuild the project (re-skinning).

This can be achieved by separating code and graphics data from the beginning of the project.

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