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Raspberry Pi gets official touchscreen for only £48

Barry Collins
8 Sep 2015
Raspberry Pi touchscreen
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7in display helps turn Raspberry Pi into a tablet or touchscreen console

The Raspberry Pi has its first official touchscreen display, a 7in model that costs only £48. The display allows users to effectively turn the credit-card sized computer into a tablet or touchscreen console for a home entertainment system, among many other uses.

The 7in screen certainly doesn't boast a Retina-style resolution. The display is 800 x 400, whereas the slightly smaller iPhone 6 Plus boasts a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. But then Apple's super-sized phone costs in excess of £600, whereas the Raspberry Pi touchscreen costs less than £50 from the Swag store (excluding the cost of the Pi itself). 

The screen offers 10-finger capactive touch and connects to the Raspberry Pi via the DSI connector, rather than the HDMI port, which means you can run a secondary display in addition to the touchscreen. The Pi can be mounted on the rear of the screen and both screen and computer can be powered from a single USB source.

Trying to run the default Raspbian OS using a 7in touchscreen would be a painful experience, but you can install a Python-based touchscreen interface called Kivy to make the device more accessible. The Raspberry Pi blog warns that installing Kivy is no easy task, however. 

The advent of the touchscreen opens up many possible uses for the Pi. It could be used as an infotainment system or as a console for controlling streaming media across your home. It might also provide touchscreen controls for Internet of Things projects, such as smart thermostats or home security systems. A range of touchscreen educational software is also being developed for the Pi. 

The touchscreen arrives as a kit with all the cables, jumper wires and screws required to attach it to the Raspberry Pi. Buyers can choose from a range of perspex frame colours although the screen doesn't come with a stand. Those with a 3D printer are directed towards this stand on Thingiverse.

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