Meet Crank Software at the Embedded Systems Conference

We are on the road again. This week we are at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) in Minneapolis (November 8-9) and we are excited to see the best in tech for embedded systems.

We’re at the show to discuss embedded design strategies and best practices and to showcase the latest in HMI user interface (UI) development, including the innovative Storyboard Suite platform that lets designers and developers work side-by-side to create amazing user experiences on a wide range of platforms.

Experience multi-market demos on a number of embedded platforms

Pop by booth 218 to see how beautifully Storyboard Suite applications scale across a range of hardware. Whether you’re in the medical, home automation, or consumer/white goods industry, we’ve brought an application of interest. Come interact with a medical demo on the Microchip SAMA5D2 that includes blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen, and temperature monitoring, as well as ECG display. Read more about the making of this demo on the Crank blog. We also have multi-market demos on an NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus and an STM32F7.

In addition to these applications that we’ve created in-house, we have a really cool customer application developed by Metrohm to show off. The Metrohm Instant Raman Analyzers (Mira) is a robust and reliable portable spectrometer for identifying and verifying chemicals and compounds that have a Raman signature. Metrohm used Storyboard Suite to create an intuitive user interface for the application, taking advantage of the internationalization capabilities in Storyboard to ensure fast and easy translation of UI elements.

See Storyboard Suite in action

Want to see us build a UI while you wait? Nik, our awesome field applications ninja, will walk you through the entire UI creation process, from Adobe Photoshop to deploying and debugging on a real target.

Drop us an email to set up a time to chat and see Storyboard Suite in action. We hope to see you at the show!

Meet Nik or Jason

To try out Storyboard on different platforms for yourself, download and run our ready-to-go demo images.

Visit us at TU-Automotive Detroit next week

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TU-Automotive Detroit is only a week away (June 7-8, in Novi, MI), and we’re busy finalizing, flashing, and packing some really cool demos for you to see. To witness the latest in automotive HMI development, including the only platform that lets designers and developers work side-by-side, drop by booth C240 for a chat.

Here’s what you’ll see:

HMI cluster & infotainment demos – see the future of automotive interfaces and just how much you can pack onto today’s processors. We’ll be showing our latest designer’s creations running on the NXP i.MX 8 platform.

BlackBerry QNX Platform for Instrument Clusters – we’ve taken the BlackBerry QNX Digital Instrument Cluster Platform, built an instrument cluster in Storyboard Suite, and flashed it to an NXP i.MX 6 System on a Chip (SoC) to deliver a fast UI on a robust cluster platform. Come check it out!

For light reading, you can check out our guest post about digital instrument cluster design on the QNX Auto Blog.

Storyboard Suite demos – think you can build a user interface is less than 12 minutes? Nik Schultz, our talented field applications guru, will walk you through UI creation, from Adobe Photoshop to deploying on a real target. In his own words:

“We can do the work of a designer and developer, including adding animations and backend event logic, before you’ll run out of questions.”

We’re expecting TU-Automotive to be very busy, so drop an email to our president, Brian Edmond, to set up a time to chat and see Storyboard Suite in action.

Meet Brian or Nik

 

Embedded World 2017: Storyboard UI Demos

Crankonauts Crank Software Employees

Crank Software Inc – Team at Embedded World 2017

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” That’s good because I am currently drowning in photos and videos from Embedded World 2017. With over 30,000 attendees at the show, we had the opportunity to talk to people with a wide variety of skill sets and job titles. We brought a lot of hardware to Germany again this year which is always a great conversation starter. People were thrilled to see the breadth of platform support and to have the opportunity to interact with Storyboard UI demos on actual targets.

Check out these photos of demos from our booth (Hall 4/4-270) and demos that we spied in some partner booths.

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Multi-Market Storyboard Demo on NXP i.MX 6UltraLite

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MNXP i.MX 7UltraLowPower

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Storyboard Distributed eCockpit running on NXP i.MX8

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Movie Kiosk, IoT Home, and 3D Automotive Cluster on the NXP i.MX6QuadPlus

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Movie Kiosk, Robotic Arm, and Home IoT Demo on the Toradex Colibri i.MX 6DualLite

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Home Automation Demo on the ST32F746 running FreeRTOS

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Storyboard Multi-market Demo on the ST32F429 running FreeRTOS

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Storyboard Multi-market Demo on the Atmel SAMA5D2

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Storyboard Multi-market Demo on the Atmel SAMA5D4

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Storyboard Multi-market Demo on the Renesas RZ/A1

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Storyboard Robotic Arm Demo on the Embedded Artists i.MX 6SoloX

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Storyboard Automotive Cluster on the TI Jacinto 6 running QNX

Our demos were also featured in other booths throughout the conference, including the NXP booth. Check out this distributed eCockpit on the i.MX 8, designed in Storyboard Suite.

In case you hadn’t heard, we recently released Storyboard Suite 5.0, so download a 30-day free evaluation and take it for a test drive. To try some of the demos showcased in the booth at Embedded World, download our easy-to-use demo images.

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Driving Excellence in Automotive HMI Design: Storyboard on the NXP i.MX 8 at CES

Whether it’s commuting to and from work, chauffeuring the kids to hockey*, or running errands, we spend countless hours driving on a daily basis. Fortunately for those of us who feel like we live part-time in our cars, technology is evolving at a rapid rate to enhance the driving experience and to allow us to connect with our vehicles more seamlessly and safely.

Storyboard Suite Automotive HMI NXP imx8 CES 2017

If you were at CES last week, you might have noticed a few automotive HMI demos at the show. Every year we see stunning innovation in automotive technology and new features that inspire consumers to hand over their money. (No flying car yet, however.) This year was no exception. CES 2017 showcased the coolest automotive HMI technology from the biggest automakers to small, low-cost suppliers, and everyone in between.

Keeping up with such a fast-growing and ever-changing technology and meeting consumer expectations isn’t an easy feat for automotive HMI design and development teams. Consumer expectations are high. Take a look at your smartphone. Impressive graphics, right? You have a powerful mobile computer that fits in your pocket. It’s a navigation system, audio/video player, and communication device that’s available to you when you need it. We’ve come to expect these same capabilities to be available to us on demand when needed, even in our cars. And we expect them to look great.

So how do teams deliver graphically stunning, connected, responsive, feature-rich automotive HMI experiences? Development teams need a high-performance and reliable processor that can support rich graphics, display to multiple screens, and handle a variety of inputs, such as the NXP i.MX 8. Making high-performance hardware look great and delivering an intuitive user experience is the job of the UI development framework. What consumers see on their car screens is the graphical representation of all of the information and data available to them, from their digital instrument cluster to their in-vehicle infotainment and entertainment displays.

Making Automotive HMIs that meet consumer expectations

It can be challenging for teams to deliver beautiful, user-friendly, and safety-conscious graphical content to a range of automotive displays. They need tools that support the following:

  • Design-centric – Design and user experience are critical to automotive HMIs. To achieve a high-quality design aesthetic and intuitive interaction, it’s critical to keep the designer in control throughout the development process.
  • Collaborative Workflow – Automotive HMIs are often built by teams, not by individuals. The software processes and workflow should support that.
  • Design ChangeIterative design is a reality. From minor tweaks to major updates in artwork, changes can, and should, happen. If it’s painful to iterate the design, it’s more likely that design compromise will occur.
  • Embedded Focus – Hardware for embedded displays has unique capabilities and constraints. The UI development software should have a focus on embedded.

We built Storyboard Suite with these requirements and others in mind. With our vast experience in the embedded marketplace and our focus on making Storyboard Suite feature-rich, yet user-friendly, many companies choose Storyboard for their exciting HMI projects.

Speaking of exciting HMI projects…

NXP showcased a distributed eCockpit and Infotainment at CES 2017 that was built using Storyboard Suite for the i.MX 8.This impressive multi-screen demo was a collaborative effort by NXP and Crank Software and included the following displays:
  • Digital Instrument Cluster
  • Head-up Display
  • In-Vehicle Infotainment
  • Backseat Entertainment

Thanks to the powerful i.MX 8, this demo was able to run four high-resolution screens at frame rates up to 60fps off one processor.

Integrating a mix of 2D and 3D content, the team was able to work collaboratively on the applications using Storyboard’s multi-file support, and seamlessly merge the project files and iterate the design throughout the lifecycle. The 3D models were created with high-fidelity detail to take advantage of the rich GPU capabilities of the i.MX 8.

 

To try Storyboard for your own automotive HMI projects, download a free 30-day trial.

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*So Canadian of me

Adding 3D content to embedded UIs: Importing FBX models into Storyboard

3D elements add movement, dimension, and life to embedded applications. Aesthetics aside, they also enhance user experience and improve findability of information with a visual perspective that 2D graphics lack. As processors and GPUs evolve, embedded applications are becoming richer and 3D content more prevalent.

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We developed features for Storyboard Suite and a workflow that supports 3D artists, with the following in mind:

  1. Most designers already have 3D design tools that they are comfortable with and use regularly
  2. Designers want to be able to update their models in their 3D design software and easily re-add them to their project
  3. Designers may want to do minor tweaks to their 3D content in Storyboard after they’ve incorporated it into their application

Import FBX 3D models in Storyboard

With FBX 3D model import functionality, Storyboard allows designers to work in popular 3D design software that they already have familiarity with and can work efficiently in. A widely adopted industry standard, FBX models are imported into Storyboard with animations, textures, lighting, and other properties that make up the 3D model. The model isn’t static after the import. Designers can tweak the animations and make adjustments to fit their application.

Iterate until perfect

Iteration is a major part of UI design, and 3D content is no exception. Using the built-in simulator in Storyboard, designers can test their application with the imported 3D content and determine what changes need to be made to the underlying model. Updated models can be iteratively imported back into the Storyboard project until the team is happy with the final 3D content.

Change lighting and camera angles

When the designer is happy with the 3D model, they might want to make some tweaks and adjustments to things like animations, camera angles, and lighting to adjust how it behaves in the Storyboard application. These properties can be refined directly in Storyboard Designer, making it easy to create a well-integrated 3D/2D user experience.

Meet Ahren, a Crank Software 3D Designer

Ahren is a 3D designer here at Crank, working on Storyboard Suite applications that span automotive, medical, home automation, and other cool markets. Ahren chooses to work in Autodesk 3DS Max because it’s a tool he’s invested a lot of hours in, which means he can work in it efficiently and confidently. Having FBX 3D model support in Storyboard optimizes Ahren’s workflow. “It’s quick and easy to import. I can test the 3D content in Storyboard and update the model as needed. Textures, materials, and animations are all baked into the model which means the behavior is the same in the Storyboard application. I can also tweak lighting and camera angles directly in Storyboard until I am happy with it.”

Learn more about working with FBX 3D models in Storyboard from Fancy Dan in this awesome demo video.

If you aren’t using Storyboard yet, download a free 30-day trial and test-drive the functionality you learned about in this post.

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