RoenDi: An open source rotary encoder with programmable digital display

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In the realm of human-machine interfaces, rotary encoders have long been a staple for providing intuitive and precise control over various parameters. From adjusting volume levels on audio equipment to navigating menus on industrial machinery, these humble yet indispensable devices have proven their worth time and again. However, as technology continues to evolve, the need for more versatile and customizable solutions has become increasingly apparent.

Enter RoenDi, an open-source rotary encoder with a programmable digital display, designed to bridge the gap between the simplicity of traditional rotary encoders and the flexibility of modern digital interfaces. Developed by a team of passionate engineers and hobbyists, RoenDi aims to empower makers, tinkerers, and professionals alike with a powerful tool that can be tailored to their specific needs.

What is RoenDi?

At its core, RoenDi is a rotary encoder with a built-in digital display, allowing users to visualize and interact with data in a more intuitive and informative manner. Unlike traditional rotary encoders, which often lack visual feedback beyond simple LEDs, RoenDi’s display provides a wealth of information, ranging from numerical values and textual prompts to custom graphics and animations.

But what truly sets RoenDi apart is its open-source nature and programmability. Built on top of a powerful microcontroller, RoenDi can be programmed using a variety of languages and development environments, granting users the freedom to customize its behavior and functionality to suit their specific requirements.

Key Features

  • Rotary Encoder: A high-quality rotary encoder with precise stepping and smooth rotation, providing a tactile and responsive control experience.
  • Digital Display: A vibrant and customizable digital display, capable of displaying numerical values, text, and graphics, offering visual feedback and enhancing user interaction.
  • Open Source: RoenDi is an open-source project, allowing users to access and modify the source code, fostering collaboration and innovation within the community.
  • Programmability: With its powerful microcontroller at the heart, RoenDi can be programmed using various languages and development environments, enabling users to tailor its behavior to their specific needs.
  • Compact and Modular Design: RoenDi boasts a sleek and compact form factor, making it easily integrable into a wide range of projects and applications, while its modular design allows for easy customization and expansion.

Applications and Use Cases

The versatility of RoenDi makes it suitable for a wide range of applications across various domains. Here are just a few examples of how RoenDi can be utilized:

  1. Audio and Music Equipment: Integrate RoenDi into audio mixers, synthesizers, and other musical instruments, allowing for precise parameter adjustments and visual feedback on settings.
  2. Industrial Machinery: Enhance the user experience of industrial machinery by incorporating RoenDi for menu navigation, parameter adjustment, and real-time data visualization.
  3. Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: Leverage RoenDi’s programmability and display capabilities to create intuitive user interfaces for IoT devices, such as smart home controllers, environmental monitors, and more.
  4. Robotics and Automation: Utilize RoenDi as a control interface for robots and automated systems, providing precise input and visual feedback on system parameters and variables.
  5. Maker Projects and Prototypes: Integrate RoenDi into your DIY projects, prototypes, and experimental setups, enabling easy customization and data visualization for testing and debugging purposes.
  6. Educational and Training Tools: Leverage RoenDi’s open-source nature and programmability to create engaging and interactive educational tools, allowing students to learn about microcontrollers, programming, and user interface design.

These are just a few examples of how RoenDi can be employed, but the possibilities are truly endless. With its open-source nature and programmability, RoenDi empowers users to push the boundaries of what a rotary encoder can achieve, opening up new avenues for innovation and creativity.

Getting Started with RoenDi

To begin your journey with RoenDi, you’ll first need to obtain the hardware components. The RoenDi project provides detailed instructions and resources for sourcing the necessary parts, as well as guidance on assembling the device.

Once you have your RoenDi assembled, the next step is to dive into the software side of things. The project’s official website and GitHub repository offer a wealth of documentation, sample code, and tutorials to help you get started with programming and customizing RoenDi.

One of the key advantages of RoenDi is its compatibility with a wide range of programming languages and development environments. Whether you prefer working with Arduino IDE, PlatformIO, or more advanced frameworks like ESP-IDF or STM32CubeIDE, RoenDi has you covered.

To illustrate the process, let’s explore a simple example of programming RoenDi using the Arduino IDE:

  1. Set up the Development Environment: Download and install the Arduino IDE, and follow the instructions to add the appropriate board support package for your RoenDi’s microcontroller.
  2. Connect RoenDi: Connect your RoenDi to your computer using a USB cable or appropriate interface.
  3. Open the Example Sketch: Navigate to the RoenDi examples folder and open the “BasicDisplay” sketch.
  4. Customize the Code: Within the sketch, you’ll find several functions that allow you to modify the display’s behavior. For instance, you can change the displayed text, adjust the brightness, or even create custom graphics and animations.
  5. Upload the Sketch: Once you’ve made your desired modifications, simply click the “Upload” button in the Arduino IDE to compile and transfer the code to your RoenDi.
  6. Observe and Interact: With the code uploaded, your RoenDi should now display the customized content, and you can interact with it using the rotary encoder to test its functionality.

This is just a simple example, but it demonstrates the ease with which you can program and customize RoenDi’s behavior. As you delve deeper into the project’s resources and documentation, you’ll discover more advanced techniques and capabilities, empowering you to create truly unique and innovative solutions.

Community and Collaboration

One of the key strengths of RoenDi lies in its vibrant and supportive community of developers, makers, and enthusiasts. The project’s open-source nature fosters collaboration and sharing of knowledge, allowing users from around the world to contribute their ideas, code, and expertise.

The official RoenDi forums and discussion channels serve as hubs for this community, where users can ask questions, share their projects, and engage in discussions about the device’s future development. Additionally, the project’s GitHub repository provides a platform for contributors to submit bug reports, feature requests, and code contributions, ensuring that RoenDi continues to evolve and improve over time.

By embracing the power of open-source collaboration, RoenDi not only benefits from the collective knowledge and creativity of its community but also serves as a testament to the spirit of innovation and shared learning that drives the maker movement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What programming languages are supported by RoenDi? RoenDi is designed to be compatible with a wide range of programming languages and development environments, including but not limited to Arduino IDE, PlatformIO, ESP-IDF, and STM32CubeIDE. The specific languages and frameworks supported may vary depending on the microcontroller used in your RoenDi device.
  2. Can RoenDi be used in commercial projects? Yes, absolutely! RoenDi is released under an open-source license, which allows for commercial use, modification, and distribution of the project, subject to the terms of the license.
  3. What types of displays can be used with RoenDi? RoenDi supports a variety of digital display technologies, including but not limited to LCD, OLED, and e-paper displays. The choice of display will depend on factors such as resolution, color depth, power consumption, and physical dimensions required for your specific application.
  4. Is RoenDi compatible with existing rotary encoder projects or libraries? While RoenDi is a standalone project, it is designed to be compatible with existing rotary encoder libraries and projects. This means that you can potentially integrate RoenDi into your existing projects or leverage existing code and libraries to enhance its functionality.
  5. How can I contribute to the RoenDi project? The RoenDi project welcomes contributions from the community in various forms. You can contribute by reporting bugs, suggesting new features, submitting code improvements, creating documentation or tutorials, or even providing financial support through donations or crowdfunding campaigns. The project’s GitHub repository and community forums are the best places to get started with contributing.


RoenDi represents a significant step forward in the realm of human-machine interfaces, combining the simplicity and intuitiveness of rotary encoders with the power and flexibility of programmable digital displays. By embracing an open-source approach and fostering a collaborative community, RoenDi has opened up a world of possibilities for makers, professionals, and enthusiasts alike.

Whether you’re a seasoned engineer looking to enhance your industrial machinery, a hobbyist seeking to breathe new life into your DIY projects, or an educator aiming to create engaging and interactive learning tools, RoenDi offers a versatile and customizable solution that can be tailored to your specific needs.

As the RoenDi project continues to evolve and grow, driven by the collective efforts of its dedicated community, the future looks bright for this innovative and versatile device. So why not join the revolution and explore the boundless potential of RoenDi today?