As good a job as the Raspberry Pi has done in offering unique programming opportunities for bedroom coders and school children around the world, it has not kept up with the input method du jour of the past few years, which has undoubtedly been touch. That’s all about to change though, as fans of the Pi can now buy an official touch-screen interface for their miniature system, and it costs just $60.
The reason it has taken so long for Raspberry to offer such a display isn’t because it was woefully ignorant about what people were tapping away on, but because finding one that was within the right specifications and price range was very important for the developers. There have been HDMI plug-in alternatives from third parties in the past, but the official version is much more suited to the task.
The result of this effort is a 7.1 inch, 800 x 480 pixel panel, with 10-point capacitive touch detection, and it hooks up to the Pi via the DSI connector. You can power it from the driver board, as well. That means the HDMI port is now free for alternative displays.
The screen’s viewing angle is 70 degrees and even has a metal back to it with mounting holes for the Pi itself, so a standalone device could be created. It could even be battery powered, as this screen only draws 2.25 watts.
The standard bezel is black, but the display actually comes with six more colorful options too.
The uses for such a new input method are numerous, though the official Foundation has been testing a touch-based home thermostat control system which it will showcase in future blog entries. And although — as the developers described — a ten-point sensitive touch screen is overkill on such a small device, this does mean there are even more potential uses for collaborative work or more complicated inputs.