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A super high resolution 9.7" LCD panel with an Arduino compatible adapter that connects to your computer
A super high resolution 9.7" LCD panel with an Arduino compatible adapter that connects to your computer
145 backers pledged £19,294 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

OSCAR: The Open Screen Adapter project video thumbnail
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£19,294

145

OSCAR's webpage can be found here

This product is not HDMI compatible and it only supports DisplayPort and Thunderbolt

NEW BACKER LEVEL!

You asked for it, so we have delivered! We have introduced a level for backing just the assembled and tested OSCAR PCB on its own. You will need to purchase the screen (LP097QX1) separately. This level does not include any cables either.

The awesome Dave Jones from EEVBlog has featured us in his mailbag segment

Many thanks to Geek Insider for featuring our project!

Thanks to MacRumors for featuring OSCAR also!

Thank you also to all these other websites for featuring OSCAR!

What is OSCAR?  

"Join us as we pioneer the new era of super high resolution desktop displays at an affordable price"

OSCAR is an adapter that allows you to connect a super high resolution 9.7” screen, often found in tablets, to your computer. It comes pre-connected to the LCD panel ready to be attached and is compatible will all operating systems using a Thunderbolt or DisplayPort connection. The board is Arduino compatible which makes modifying the behaviour easy and all the software and hardware is open source. The particular display used with OSCAR is the one most commonly found in the iPad 3 and 4, marketed as the 'Retina Display' and has a whopping 2048x1536 pixels. This gives it an amazing pixel density of 264ppi (pixels per inch) and glorious colours. The case we have designed for it in laser cut clear acrylic also enhances the wonderful looking display by putting it in an equally clean looking surround. 


What can you do with OSCAR? 

Possible uses of OSCAR include:

  • High resolution photo and video editing
  • Watching high definition video
  • A portable second monitor for your laptop
  • Gaming
  • Colour sensitive work
  • PDF reading
  • Any Arduino project you can imagine!

OSCAR takes care of driving the LED backlight and regulating the panel power supply. With the onboard ATmega32U4, the device is Arduino compatible and acts like an Arduino Leonardo. This enables USB communications so that you can use OSCAR to control things like backlight brightness and enables you to expand the functionality of OSCAR. Adding an IR receiver for control or adding an IMU board to automatically rotate the screen are all possible. As you can use the Arduino IDE customisation is easier than ever to implement! 

 project video thumbnail
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Adjusting backlight brightness by adding an IR reciever

There is no touchscreen on the LCD panel so this means it will not act like a tablet but just as a screen. 

How it works

The board contains, most importantly, voltage regulators for both the microcontroller and LCD panel. There are also drivers for the LED backlight so brightness can be adjusted using a PWM output from the microcontroller. Buttons are included to turn the display on/off and to increase or decrease the backlight brightness. There is a small connector to attach the display and a DisplayPort socket that goes to your computer. The micro USB port is used for upgrading the software and allowing the computer to control the backlight and power to the display.

Case dimensions
Case dimensions
PCB dimensions
PCB dimensions
PCB components
PCB components

Backer levels

Full Kit (with custom colour case) is exactly the same as the above image, but with the case in a colour of your choice. A poll will be sent round after backing to choose your colour.

The OSCAR board and case depicted above are the current revision and will be modified before production. The tablet stand is also subject to change as we continue testing.

PLEASE NOTE: OSCAR is ONLY compatible with DisplayPort / mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt

Full size DisplayPort (left) and Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt (right) connectors (image source: Wikipedia)
Full size DisplayPort (left) and Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt (right) connectors (image source: Wikipedia)

OSCAR accessories 

Every OSCAR comes with the LCD panel and depending on your backing level, you will get various accessories included. The custom laser cut acrylic case not only looks awesome but protects your screen and allows OSCAR to be mounted to the back. You could also receive a power supply (12V 1A) to power the screen and the necessary cables to connect OSCAR to your computer. 

The case is made from clear acrylic normally, but if you would like a different colour then you can choose from Black, Blue, Green, Light Blue, Orange, Red, Violet and White . Be sure to back the appropriate level for the colour version.

We will send a poll round after funding for you to choose from standard or mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt cable.

If you are outside the UK and order a Full Kit, then we will include an international power adapter. 

Features & technical specifications

  • Connects to your computer using DisplayPort/Thunderbolt
  • Takes 12V 1A input (9-12V recommended)
  • Consumes a nominal 6W
  • ATmega32u4 microcontroller
  • TPS61176 backlight drivers
  • LMZ12001 high efficiency buck regulator
  • All spare IO pins available on 0.1" pitch headers. This includes 6 analogue pins, 9 digital, I2C, SPI, serial and 5V power
  • RGB LED for OSCAR status 

OSCAR Revision history

The development of OSCAR
The development of OSCAR

The OSCAR PCB has been through 3 main revisions so far. This includes expanding the functionality and increasing the board size to accommodate the full size headers. We have also included mounting holes and adjusted their position to make attaching to the case easier. 

To aid the connecting of devices, we have modified the silkscreen to include the names of the Arduino pins. Furthermore, we have rearranged the physical placement of all the connectors to make the cable-routing more ergonomic.

How will the funding be used? 

The funding from this Kickstarter is essential to make the step from small prototype quantities into mass production. With your help we can secure a manufacturing contract with a UK based company to fabricate the OSCAR PCB and assemble it. We are almost ready to go now that we have produced our first prototype and have got OSCAR up and running. The software is in its final stages of refinement and the next prototype is already on its way. 

Manufacture & production timeline 

Production timeline
Production timeline

We are sparing no expense when it comes to manufacturing. The kits will be assembled, personally tested and shipped from Southampton, making sure we uphold quality throughout the product.

Meet the team 

 

Licencing 

The OSCAR logo uses both the Open Source Initiative and Open Source Hardware (OSHW) logos. We strongly believe in the Open Source movement and therefore will release all schematics and board files, as well as all the software, to backers when we go into mass production. All files will be publicly released once the kits have been shipped. The hardware is covered by the CC BY-SA licence which means you are free to share and adapt any files, provided you give appropriate credit and share your work under the same licence. For more details see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ 

The software is covered by the BSD 3-clause licence allowing you to redistribute the software in any form with or without modification as long as you keep the copyright notice. For more details see http://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause 

Music credits go to CDK for their track 'Saturdays Basement' which we have modified for use in the Kickstarter video. The music is released under the CC BY 3.0 licence. For more details see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

http://kickingitforward.org

Risks and challenges

As all members of the project team are currently at university, we have access to an immense resource of knowledge and facilities. This gives us the ability to ask for help when needed from people with more experience.

This is the first project we have jointly taken into mass production so there may be some teething problems along the way. Having university staff to support us and also having the OSCAR kit assembled in the UK means we have tighter control over the project and can hopefully prevent any major delays to delivery.

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FAQ

  • Unfortunately OSCAR is NOT HDMI compatible as the actual LCD panel uses the DisplayPort protocol (which also is compatible with Thunderbolt)

    Last updated:
  • Unfortunately you cannot drive the display with the Arduino and it is only there for controlling the backlight and power supplies. You can also use it to expand the functionality of OSCAR by adding IR receivers or accelerometers for example.
    You can however use the inbuilt HID controller to talk to your PC over USB so could control the screen output through that.

    Last updated:
  • Yes! If you back the kit, then it will come pre-connected and installed in the acrylic all ready for you to just plug and play.

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    You're awesome!
    Get the Schematic and PCB files before public release also with the production software build

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    11 backers
    £
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £65 or more About $108

    SINGLE OSCAR PCB. This is just the OSCAR PCB on its own WITHOUT the LCD panel. It is fully assembled, tested and ready to be attached to the LCD panel. This comes with no cables or power supply.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    10 backers
    £
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £110 or more About $183

    HACKER EDITION You will receive one OSCAR with the LCD screen attached. This does not include the laser cut acrylic case, power supply, stand or DisplayPort and USB cables. You will also receive the Schematic and PCB files before public release with the production software build

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    9 backers
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  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £135 or more About $225

    EARLY BIRD! You will receive the FULL KIT which includes one OSCAR with the LCD screen attached, laser cut acrylic case, power supply, stand and DisplayPort and USB cables. You will also receive the Schematic and PCB files before public release with the production software build

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
    £
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $250

    FULL KIT You will receive one OSCAR with the LCD screen attached, laser cut acrylic case, power supply, stand and DisplayPort and USB cables. You will also receive the Schematic and PCB files before public release with the production software build

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    74 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £160 or more About $267

    FULL KIT (with CUSTOM COLOUR CASE) You will receive one OSCAR with the LCD screen attached, power supply, stand and DisplayPort and USB cables. You will also receive the Schematic and PCB files before public release with the production software build. Choose from: Black, Blue, Green, Light Blue, Orange, Red, Violet or White for your custom laser cut acrylic case.

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    21 backers
    £
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Funding period

- (28 days)