Raspberry Pi as retail product display

Digitec is an electronics retailer in Switzerland. Among other things, they sell Raspberry Pis and related accessories, including our official 7” Touch Display. Many of their customers likely noticed that they haven’t had the Touch Display in stock recently, but there’s an interesting reason.

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The retailer wanted to replace their tablet-based digital product labels with something more robust, so they turned to Raspberry Pi 2 with the 7” Touch Display. Each store has 105 screens, which means that the staff of Digitec Galaxus assembled 840 custom Pi-based digital product labels. The screens enable their customers to view up-to-date product information, price, and product ratings from their community as they look at the product up-close.

To pull this off, the engineering team used Raspbian Jesse Lite and installed Chromium. They wrote a startup script which launches Chromium in kiosk mode and handles adjusting the display’s backlight. The browser loads a local HTML page and uses JavaScript to download the most up-to-date content using an AJAX call. When a keyboard is connected, the staff can set the parameters for the display, which are stored as cookies in the browser. For good measure, the team also introduced many levels of fault tolerance into their design. Just as one example, the boot script starts Chromium in a loop to ensure that it will be relaunched automatically if it crashes. It can also handle sudden loss of power and network connectivity issues.

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Whether it’s a young person’s learning computer, the brains of a DIY home automation project, or a node in a factory sensor network, we beam with pride when see our little computer being used in so many different ways. This project in particular is a great example of how those that sell Raspberry Pi products can harness Pi’s power for their own operations.