Sunflower Shield Provides Capacitive Touchscreen for Arduino

Cowfish Studios has developed a feature heavy touchscreen shield for Arduino projects.

Paul Bartek from Cowfish Studios has a love for design and creating tools for makers. He’s currently crowdfunding a thin film transistor 3.5 inch capacitive touch screen shield for Arduino called the Sunflower Shield.

Sunflower Shield is compatible with Arduino Uno, Ner0, Leonardo and Mega 2560. The shield requires 5 Volts from the Arduino board, and the page cautions that some Arduino boards and clones only supply 3.3 Volts and are therefore not compatible. The shield itself boasts a 3.5 inch touch screen, high brightness white LED backlight, can play in portrait or landscape mode, and animates smoothly up to 60 frames per second.

The graphics controller on the shield is a Bridgetek FT813  embedded video engine, and includes a Maxim MAX31855 K-type thermocouple amplifier with an 8 Ohm impedance 1 Watt speaker. Bartek says that he’s personally benefitted greatly from the open source community and intends to give back, so the project is fully Open Source. Another aspect of the project that’s highlighted is the commitment to working straight out of the box. The shield comes packed with the probe and speaker, already tested, and ready to be used with an Arduino board.

As a crowdfunding campaign, the page says that development and tooling costs are paid and the modest $2500 goal is for covering production run costs. Another interesting piece is the fact that only 120 shields will be produced in this run. I’ve never personally used a touch screen in conjunction with an Arduino board, and this looks like a good shield to use as a starter. The page’s incredibly detailed description of the board’s hardware features and component callouts gives me the impression that this project will be successful. The campaign ends on July 31, with shields scheduled to ship in September 2018.