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

See Storyboard User Interface Demos on your Hardware

Storyboard Suite User Interface Demo Images

When working with any embedded platform it’s helpful to be able to quickly validate its capabilities and performance before investing the time and resources to create and deploy applications. Pre-built and packaged demos make it easy to test drive hardware with applications designed to its specifications.

Over the past several months we’ve been building a demo image library of application user interfaces created in Storyboard for a variety of platforms and hardware. Each demo image is built for a specific target with its unique capabilities, constraints, performance, and screen form factor in mind. The Storyboard user interface demos are packaged with simple instructions for getting the applications up and running on your target quickly.

Browse our library of Storyboard demos for platforms from NXP, STMicroelectronics, Microchip, and more. We will be adding new demos in the coming months, so check back often.

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Here’s an example of one of the Storyboard demo images, a multi-market demo on the NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus:

Download a free 30-day trial to test drive Storyboard and create your own application UIs.

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Webinar Series: Storyboard Suite for Embedded GUI Development

We’ve always worked hard to deliver videos that showcase Storyboard Suite features, teach tips & tricks, and provide a more in-depth look at technical functionality. Video gives us an opportunity to visually showcase Storyboard, rather than just talk about it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million? My math might be a bit off, so don’t quote me on that.

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Videos are useful because they are short, concise, and don’t require much time to consume, but because of this they can only begin to scratch the surface when it comes to showcasing the depth and breadth of functionality. To increase visibility into Storyboard Suite features, we’ve started running webinars that dive deeper and focus on different topics, capabilities and target audiences. For example, our recent webinar (now available on-demand) was geared toward designers responsible for the look and feel of the GUIs for embedded applications. We wanted to demonstrate Storyboard Suite from the perspective of the designer, so our presenter was our UI designer, Fancy Dan, who uses Storyboard daily to create embedded GUIs.

3 Reasons to check out our Storyboard Webinars

  1. You haven’t used Storyboard yet. What? We can fix this. Go ahead and download the 30-day trial, but while you are waiting for your evaluation license, check out our first webinar which provided an overview of what Storyboard is, who it’s for, and why it’s easy to use for GUI development. This is one of the easiest ways to learn about using Storyboard to create GUIs for embedded applications.
  2. You like getting a sneak preview of upcoming features. We aren’t secretive and we are proud to preview capabilities before a release. A lot of the functionality and features that go into each version happen because we value feedback from our customers. Webinars give us an opportunity to test drive these features before development wraps up. For example, our Storyboard Suite 4.2 sneak peek webinar provided a preview of upcoming features a couple of months before the official release. Customers were excited to see what was coming down the pipe.
  3. You learn from demos, not slides. Demos say a lot about a product, especially when performed in real-time and unedited. We know you’ll learn more about what you can do with Storyboard if you see it in use. We’ll probably throw in a couple of slides for entertainment value. In a recent designer-focused webinar, our UI designer walked through his process and workflow for working in Photoshop and Storyboard to create the visual design of an embedded application, including screen transitions, animations, and design iteration.

All of our webinars are presented live, but also recorded for on-demand viewing if you miss out.

If you haven’t tried Storyboard yet and some of the features in our webinars spark an interest, we provide a full-featured 30-day evaluation for you to try out Storyboard first hand.

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Experience the Evolution of Embedded GUI Design at Embedded World 2016

Storyboard Suite GUI Design at Embedded World 2016

From February 23-25 the best in innovative embedded technology will be unleashed at Embedded World 2016 in Nuremberg, Germany. This not-to-be-missed event will attract over 900 exhibitors from 42 countries. Crank Software will be there, and we are bringing a team of passionate embedded GUI design professionals with us to showcase the latest features and capabilities in Crank Storyboard Suite, our design and development platform for building stunning GUIs for embedded systems. If you are among the 25,000 visitors expected at Embedded World 2016, stop by Hall 4/4-547 to check out our latest embedded GUI demos and ask us to show you what’s new in Storyboard Suite for graphic artists, 3D designers, and embedded systems developers.

See Storyboard Suite GUI demos on a wide range of hardware

Our booth will be brimming with multi-market Storyboard Suite demos on a number of operating systems, including Green Hills Software, QNX Software Systems, Linux, FreeRTOS; running on a variety of platforms, including:

Our embedded GUI demos this year cover a wide range of markets, including automotive, home automation, white goods, medical, and kiosk solutions. All demos have been designed and developed in Storyboard Suite, using the latest features from our upcoming 4.2 release.

While you’re making the rounds at the exhibit, check out some of our partners showcasing beautiful demos built with Storyboard Suite technology, including Green Hills Software (Hall 4/4-325), Atmel (Hall 4A/4A-238), NXP (Hall 4A/4A-220), and others.

We will be live-blogging from the event, and sharing photos and videos of Storyboard Suite from the exhibition floor.

Check out the soon-to-be released Storyboard Suite 4.2

Our Storyboard Suite 4.2 release is right around the corner, and we are excited to show off the features and capabilities we’ve added for embedded GUI design teams. Stop by the booth ask to see live demos.

If you want to get together with us at embedded world, please contact us to set up a meeting. Alternatively, come by our booth and chat with us. The Crank team are stereotypical friendly Canadians!

To learn more about what to expect in the Storyboard Suite 4.2 release, check out our recent webinar, now available on-demand.

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

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Storyboard Suite HMI Round-up from CES 2016

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CES 2016 was earlier this month and we’re still reeling from trying to take in the sheer volume of innovative technology that was showcased. It’s mind-blowing just how much you can fit in a paltry 2.2 million net square feet of exhibit space. If you were at the show, we forgive you if you didn’t catch the Storyboard Suite HMI demos, especially given hoverboards were banned, leaving you to walk a million miles to see everything.

Don’t despair. We have photos and video to share from the show.

Photos & Video from Storyboard Suite Automotive and IoT HMI Demos 

From innovative digital instrument clusters to in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, Storyboard Suite automotive HMI demos were showcased in many booths at CES, including VisteonTexas Instruments, QNX Software Systems, and others.

This quick Vine video from Visteon shows a dual OLED display with an innovative HMI designed in Storyboard Suite, with a second display remaining hidden until additional content is required:

This Periscope video from Texas Instruments shows a digital instrument cluster designed with Storyboard Suite:

 

Digital Instrument Clusters Photos

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This Digital Instrument Cluster was one of two clusters designed with Crank Storyboard Suite as part of the QNX Software Systems interactive command center at CES, which showcased vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology.

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Texas Instruments EvoCar Digital Instrument Cluster designed with Crank Storyboard Suite

Home Automation Photos

CES 2016 highlighted the best in smart home technologies, and we are thrilled that Storyboard Suite was behind exciting home automation demos at the event. NXP’s Internet of Tomorrow Tour, a giant trailer housing over 100 demos, showcased a home automation demo designed for FTF2015 by Crank Software and Freescale. In addition, our friends at Atmel demoed a home automation application designed with Storyboard Suite.

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NXP Internet of Tomorrow Tour – Storyboard Suite home automation demo

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Storyboard Suite home automation demo on the Atmel SAMA5D4, featuring video playback

The Crank Software demos at CES 2016 were created with the (very) soon-to-be-released Storyboard Suite 4.2 version, which will deliver new exciting functionality for GUI designers working with 3D graphics, including FBX support to enable integration of animated 3D models in Storyboard Designer, and support for advanced 3D multi-mesh models. We’ve further streamlined the design experience with group templates, multi-step animation recording, and a new Animation Preview that gives designers the capability to quickly view changes to animations directly in Storyboard Designer.

To find out more about what to expect in the Storyboard Suite 4.2 release, check out our recent webinar, now available on-demand.

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