Raspberry Pi Touch Display Application


I have written a Java Swing touch screen application for my new Raspberry Pi Touch Display. It lets me control most of the devices in my house, and shows environmental data for the rooms in my house:


It also displays information, such as electricity usage:


It needs some work on the user interface, particularly for the TV control. I will probably add more functions to it, such as camera displays and Spotify control. The application is currently specific to my home configuration, but could be quite easily made for generic. I will probably change it to use MQTT to get the data as that will be more efficient than the TCP connections to my HouseControl server, that it currently uses. It should probably have sliders for dimming lights.

I now have a wide variety of ways to control the devices in my home. The advantage of this one is that it is a low-power solution that can be always-on and may be more convenient than starting a phone app or going to a web site or finding a remote.

I could have used an existing web application, but a Java application lets me optimize things for the Raspberry Pi display more easily.

I have recently been trying out openHAB as yet another way to control my home. It is very easy to configure, has quite nice default user interfaces, but is a bit limited for my purposes. I will write a blog post on that and try the openHAB web application out on the Raspberry Pi Touch Display.

The Raspberry Pi Touch Display seems quite an expensive way to make your own 7 inch tablet, and it is bigger and clunkier than an Android tablet or an iPad or the new cheap Amazon $50 Fire tablet. It also needs to be permanently plugged in, unless you use a USB power pack, and even with a power pack, it’s not very portable. The user interface is much clunkier than Android or iOS as Raspbian has not been designed for touch screens.

But it’s fun to build your own tablet, and it has its uses if you are going to make use of GPIO, USB, Ethernet and other connectivity on the Raspberry Pi.

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2 Responses to Raspberry Pi Touch Display Application

  1. lewisharrisonwood says:

    That looks like a really good way to control everything. I am just curious, on the rooms screenshot it shows a room as occupied or not. How does this work, is it using a PIR, if so does it just change to occupied when movement is detected or does it stay occupied until a sensor in a different room is triggered?
    I currently use open remote for my remote control, not sure if you have come across that. I am also setting up openHAB for my current project.

    • Lawrie Griffiths says:

      Yes, it uses a PIR but it does not track people from room to room, It just cancels the occupied flag if no motion is detected for a specific period of time. I really want to combine multiple sensor readings to get an integrated view of whether a room is occupied. For example, I have a force sensor under my sofa to see if someone is sitting on it. I could combine that with the motion sensors.

      I too use OpenRemote sometimes. In fact if you look through previous posts, you can see that I contributed code to the OpenRemote project. I decided it was time to look at how openHAB compares. It seems a bit simpler to set up than OpenRemote, but is not quite as sophisticated in its user interface.

      Most of the time I use my own apps, including a web app and an Android app.

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