Reimagining UI Design at the Smart Kitchen Summit

***I asked Nick Deeble, our enterprising sales manager, to pass along his thoughts and musings regarding his recent attendance at the Smart Kitchen Summit. Rarely short on words, Nick had the opportunity to talk with a lot of attendees about their challenges with developing UIs for appliances.***

Smart kitchen Crank Storyboard Suite embedded UI development

We recently had the privilege of being a sponsor at the Smart Kitchen Summit, an event that’s a bit of a departure from the shows we regularly attend. SKS is a specialized event, bringing together everything from the latest technologies impacting cooking to robotics to organic farmers and evolving food distribution methods.

Jason Clarke, Crank Software co-founder, participated in a panel discussion “Exploring Voice and AI-Powered Interfaces For The Kitchen.” As an industry veteran in embedded UI development, Jason has years of experience and understanding of user interaction with embedded devices. He’s seen the evolution of technology as many companies try to solve the common problem of visually representing the communication between people and products. Crank’s mission is to simplify bringing that interaction to life. Check out the following interview that Jason did with the great folks at The Spoon:

In addition to the speaking opportunities, we showcased a variety of kitchen appliance demos at the show and had the opportunity to meet with attendees to discuss their challenges with designing and developing products for the embedded market. Included in our demos was an oven control panel provided by GHSP running a UI designed and developed using Crank Storyboard Suite. Feedback on the demo was positive, with attendees being impressed by the aesthetic of the graphics, the fluidity of the animations, and the intuitive nature the User Interfaces Crank demonstrated. We received a lot of compliments about the performance, smoothness, and responsiveness of our UIs. One of our customers, who was showcasing a new appliance with a UI built in Storyboard, popped by our table to thank us for our customer focus and to point out how much better their UI was than the others they were seeing. We will never get tired of that type of feedback.

Challenges in designing for the smart kitchen

A few common themes popped up in our conversations with attendees:

  • Creating a professional and differentiated user experience for embedded devices can be challenging given tight timelines.
  • Because design change is inevitable and there’s a need to continually update UIs to respond to stakeholder feedback and evolving product scope, we had a lot of questions about how we enable iterating and testing UIs using Storyboard to ensure the delivery of a high-quality product throughout the lifecycle.
  • Embedded design and development often requires support for multiple markets, language translation, and custom branding.
  • There’s a shift from home appliances to home experiences. Connecting appliances together, connecting them to the internet, and communicating with them through a mobile device, are all part of the evolving vision of the kitchen

These were just some of the challenges that many appliance manufacturers wanted to chat with us about to hear how we’ve has built these capabilities into the Storyboard Suite GUI development framework. We are going to address this functionality and our thoughts on the future of designing and developing for smart kitchens in a future blog post.

If you want to see multi-market Storyboard Suite demos on your favorite platforms, download one of our easy-to-run demo images.

As always, we provide a full-featured 30-day evaluation for you to test drive Storyboard Suite.

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Visit Crank at the American Medical Device Summit

Delivering high-quality design and development is important for any application, but it is especially critical when creating applications for specialized targets like medical devices. User experience should be a primary focus with the UI being easy to use and intuitive for the intended audience. As an engineer, you are already challenged with ensuring that the application is fast, secure, and able to communicate with a number of sensors and the underlying hardware. If you’re lucky, you might be working with a talented UI designer who understands the sensitive nature of the design and is able to create a beautiful and user-friendly medical interface. In an ideal world, the designer could completely own the look and feel of the UI while you work your code magic in parallel. You could review and iterate the application, collaborating to deliver a solution that doesn’t compromise on design, functionality, or performance. What a time to be alive!

Sadly, that’s not always how the development workflow goes. Engineers are often left to build the look and feel of the UI in code, trying to recreate the vision of the designer. Updating an application in this traditional workflow is slow and costly, and often results in a design that isn’t what anyone fully intended. “Good enough”, isn’t good enough, especially when it comes to healthcare devices.

We believe that the best user experiences are achieved when team members are able to concentrate on doing what they do best – in parallel.

Build better medical device user experiences

“Design Thinking” is going to be a key underlying message for a lot of presentations and discussions at the American Medical Device Summit this week. This is something we are passionate about at Crank, and we are excited to be a part of the show. If you are attending and want to talk to friendly Canadians about developing beautiful user interfaces for innovative medical devices, visit our booth to check out some of our medical demos built with Storyboard Suite, including a patient monitor demo on a Microchip platform.

We are also excited to be showcasing a multi-market demo on the QNX SDP 7.0 that includes a new patient monitoring system demo which utilizes both 2D & 3D graphics.

Want to set up a meeting? Drop an email to Jason to set up a time to chat and see Storyboard Suite in action.

Meet Jason

Serving up hot UIs at the Smart Kitchen Summit

The annual Smart Kitchen Summit (SKS) is a must-attend event for those interested in the innovations within the food technology, cooking, and kitchen space. We were fortunate to attend the inaugural European event in Dublin this past June, and are pleased to sponsor and attend the North American event in Seattle, WA, October 8-9, 2018.

With the rapid adoption of modern appliances and cutting-edge technology in the kitchen, we’ve been bringing our graphical HMI and touch-screen GUI technology to innovative professional and consumer white goods products worldwide. We will be showcasing demos of smart kitchen GUIs at the event, as well as demonstrating how easy it is to create well-designed and high-performance graphical interfaces for appliances using Storyboard Suite.

Check out this Storyboard multimodal smart oven demo that incorporates voice as an input. Snips voice technology runs completely on-device which keeps data private and allows for offline functionality.

If you are planning to attend the Smart Kitchen Summit and haven’t bought your tickets yet, you can use the code CRANK25 to save 25% on the ticket price.

As always, we provide a full-featured 30-day evaluation for you to try out Storyboard Suite first hand.

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Developing beautiful UIs for the new NXP i.MX RT1060

Storyboard Suite for the NXP i.MX RT1060

*** This post was written in collaboration with Garry, our delightful UK Field Application Engineer. Garry visited the new Crank headquarters this week and, being a team player, he grabbed a baseball glove and helped the Crank softball team (nearly) win a game in the local high-tech league! ***

This week at the NXP Connects event in Shenzhen, China, NXP announced the new i.MX RT1060 Crossover Processor with an Arm® Cortex®-M7 core.

Working closely with the NXP i.MX team, we helped create a new application demo to support the product launch. Our white goods demo features a washing machine front panel GUI to demonstrate Storyboard Suite’s animation capabilities for embedded devices, which helps bring life to modern GUIs.

The i.MX RT1060 has increased memory resources which enable higher resolution and larger form-factor LCD panels to be deployed such as with the new 5 inch 800×480 LCD fitted to the EVK used in our demo.

We developed this demo using the Storyboard FreeRTOS Cortex M7 runtime engine, which is supported with the latest Storyboard 5.3 and RTOS SDK. The combination of this lightweight real-time OS and our optimized graphics runtime engine allows us to achieve the fast cold-boot times you can see in the video

We are running application code directly from on-board QSPI flash using an eXecute In Place (XIP) configuration along with graphical resources and images streamed directly from flash for minimized CPU loading. For this launch demo, we worked with the early beta board support package (BSP) tools and drivers from NXP.

We are currently working on a Storyboard Suite demo image for you to download for the RT1060. Subscribe to the Crank blog to be notified when it’s available.

In the meantime, try Storyboard Suite for yourself. Start your free, 30-day trial now and see how easy it is to create beautiful embedded GUIs from concept to production.

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Developing rich GUI experiences for Boundary Devices Nitrogen platforms

Boundary Devices

Boundary Devices has an array of Single Board Computers (SBC) that leverage NXP i.MX applications processors for developing rich, high-performance embedded products.

Storyboard Suite GUI demo images for Boundary Devices Nitrogen Single Board Computers

We are continually working with popular platforms to test and showcase the scalability of Storyboard Suite for GUI design and development. We recently added a demo image for the Nitrogen6_MAX, which features the i.MX 6 Quad family of applications processors. This demo includes applications that span the automotive, home automation, and consumer embedded markets.

Designed and developed in Storyboard Suite, these application GUIs are built with a modern design aesthetic with a focus on usability, scalability, and performance. As always, our demo images are easy to download and install to your target advice. Download it and try it out!

Storyboard Suite GUI on the Nitrogen8M

Check out the following video from our friends at Boundary Devices of a Storyboard Suite demo running on their powerful and impressive Nitrogen8M platform.


Try Storyboard Suite for yourself, start your free, 30-day trial now and see how easy it is to create beautiful embedded GUIs from concept to production.

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