I am beyond excited to announce that this year at Computex 2023 trade show you will be able to see VU1 Dials live at Streacom booth!
For those of you who are not familiar, VU1 Dials project is an “evolution” of the Analog Dashboard project from late 2019. Shortly after that Audiophile Style did a CAPS Twenty project which used the same gauges for their build and incorporated them into Streacom DB4 enclosure.
The initial idea was to create a similar kit to display standard PC hardware information and announce it at the Computex 2020 trade show. Unfortunately Computex 2020 was canceled because of the pandemic. But that did not stop us! We continued to work on the project and it quickly evolved into a highly flexible and more versatile product that was capable of relaying virtually any information from any source.
The breakthrough happened with the idea of adding an e-ink display to act as the gauge demarcation marking. This turned the single-purpose dial into a multi-purpose one that could be used for virtually anything. With that in mind, it was also important for us to make the VU1 as open as possible as that would allow it to be used in ways and applications that we had not imagined yet. It will also be platform agnostic and run in any environment, further removing limitations.
The hardware consists of a single HUB that connects to the PC via USB and any number of DIALS that daisy chain to the HUB and each other to form the communication backbone.
Each VU1 has a built-in two-colour paper-like e-ink display (resolution: 200x144px) and a built-in RGB backlight. Just like any other e-ink display, the built-in one has a very low refresh rate, it does however have a high pixel density making it ideal for demarcation. As the display does not emit any light, it’s not intrusive or distracting when you have multiple screens on your desk or when you want to have complete “darkness” in your room.
The coil movement is fully configurable allowing adjustment of the motion to suit the application and there is backdrop ambient RBG lighting (also fully configurable) to further enhance the functionality and provide lighting for the e-ink if needed.
The software side firstly consists of the VU1 Server application which is lightweight and tasked with taking requests from any application(s) running on that PC or same network or even the internet. VU Server then takes those requests and passes them along to each individual VU1 through HUB.
The second element is the VU1 App which will have some of the “most-common” built-in features (ie. CPU/GPU temperature, CPU/MEM/NET usage), allowing them to be assigned to each dial. The app will allow extending the functionality by adding simple plug-ins that add features to the VU1 app, growing the number of pre-defined uses.
Here are some renders of VU1 dials (we will attach more photos from Computex as they come)
Last but not least, I have to say a huge thank you to the Streacom team for the opportunity to collaborate on this awesome project!
And I sincerely hope you all get to enjoy using VU1 Dials as much as we did bringing this project to life!