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.

381A9940_kl21

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.

IMG_810121

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.

13 comments

Avatar

thank you, good alternative solution for tablet-based digital product labels.

Avatar

This does show the inherent advantage of open source software and hardware. Hopefully they will release more details of their implementation.

All it needs now is to fully open up the code in the video chipset and get the RasPi family fully FOSS compliant.

Richard

Avatar

A great tech store, and just one of things I miss most about Switzerland!

Avatar

A great tech store, and one of the things I miss about Switzerland!

Avatar

That looks like a perfect case for POE and PXE booting!!

Avatar

What chromium, the browser (which you can’t get anymore) or the operating system?

Avatar

Like they said: Raspbian Lite and Chromium Browser.

Avatar

I wonder if they can pull this off using Pi Zero?

Avatar

Pi Zero has no DSI port, which is how the official RPi touch display connects.

Avatar

I went to escape room in Springfield Missouri, and thhe room we did was powered by a raspberry pi 3 and several arduinos. I am not allowed to say what was inn the room, but the idea was we were trying to crack the code to stop a biological terror threat. It was incredible, with all the switchboxes, light codes, and hidden clues. It was a really good time.

Avatar

Basically they’ve done half of what Benja OS does already:
https://benja.io

If you need a proper boot to Electron (Chrome with NodeJS powers) I’d suggest to give benja a spin. It comes with all the IoT related things, including johnny five and GPIO access.

Avatar

P.S. for those thinking about using a Pi0 there’s a little problem there: Chrome doesn’t exist and it won’t probably build on its ARMv6 cpu

Avatar

Whilst it’s good to see the low(ish) power Pi being used again, I do shudder at the energy consumption of all these shop/hotel/hospital/etc. displays, and the resultant pollution/greenhouse gas emissions! Especially where an easily updatable/recyclable printout would suffice…

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed