Embedded Expertise

Become a partner >>
Embedded Expertise logo

Adding a Touch Interface to an IoT Gateway

In a recent News Release, Dusun IoT have introduced their new DSGW-130 Smart Touchscreen IoT Gateway. This elegant piece of engineering does everything you would expect from a smart IoT gateway, plus it has a touch surface that allows the user to interact with it. This is a neat feature that many other IoT gateways lack.

This new gateway reminded me of a concern I had with other gateway devices: how to provide simple user interaction to an otherwise headless piece of hardware.

The device of choice for this hack is the DSGW-210 IoT Gateway, another best-seller from Dusun IoT.

Don’t misunderstand me: The DSGW-210 is a great product with outstanding capabilities enclosed in a refined design. It has a nice RGB LED ring that can display colorful information, but it does not have any buttons or other ways of interacting with the device.

As a former Atmel Corporation employee, I was familiar with these clever tiny sensor chips that can add touch capability to any non-conductive surface. I decided to give it a try, and I was able to add a touch interface to the DSGW-210. The process was surprisingly simple and the result was up to my expectations.

Adding a Touch Interface to the DSGW-210

The first step was to get my hands on a breakout board featuring the AT42QT1010 sensor chip. I chose the Adafruit Industries 1374 board, which is small and easy to handle without any fancy lab equipment.

The next step was to crack open the DSGW-210 enclosure and find a way to affix the sensor to the center of the color ring. I was expecting some trouble during this mechanical integration, but it went surprisingly smoothly, as illustrated in the image below. The process involved only a little carving into the ABS enclosure to secure the sensor.

A DSGW-210 IoT gateway with a touch sensor
Touch sensor integration into a DSGW-210 gateway

Electrically connecting the sensor was equally easy. The sensor just needs one supply and brings one digital output to signal a touch event. The support engineer at Dusun IoT helped me identify a couple of free GPIOs so I could solder two wires to them. That was pretty much all about it! I just needed to declare the new signals in the device tree file and boom! It worked right away.

I am very pleased with the results of this project. The touch interface is responsive, reliable, and fun to use. It perfectly integrates with the rest of the enclosure design. I am now able to control features of the DSGW-210 from the fingertips, especially to enter into peering mode or to send IoT events directly from the gateway. I believe that this modification has made the DSGW-210 an even more versatile and powerful IoT gateway.

Idea lamp