Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C): A Brief History and What It Means for LCD Display Technologies

touch screen

The Inter-Integrated Circuit, or IIC, or most commonly I2C, is a widely chosen transmission protocol in the field of digital electronics. I2C was created in the early 1980s by Philips Semiconductors (now NXP Semiconductors) to make it easy for chips on the same circuit board to talk to each other. This innovative two-wire system changed the way devices talk to each other and is now used in many electronics, including LCD screens.

I2C was created because of a need for a simple, quick way for chips to talk to each other that would be easier to use and less expensive than standard wiring. Engineers at Philips Semiconductors produced a way to do it that only needed two wires: a serial data line (SDA) and a serial clock line (SCL). This elegant simplicity made it possible for many devices to join to a single bus, and one or more master devices could control how many slave devices talked to each other.

It is interesting how simple this two-wire serial transmission protocol looks, but it works very well. I2C can recognize addresses, connect multiple master, and slave devices, and send and receive data at the same time. Its speed has improved from its normal mode to the Ultra-Fast mode, which can reach 5 Mbps.

Ready to modernize your LCDs?

I2C and LCD Development

When it comes to the development and usefulness of LCDs, I2C has been especially important. A lot of different gadgets need displays with this interface to work. Some examples include fluid meters, fuel gauges, and medical monitoring gear. The protocol only needs a small amount of pins and can manage communications between multiple devices over a single bus. This makes it perfect for the small size and complex functions of these apps.

I2C’s low power usage is also a big plus for battery-powered devices. Saving power makes devices last longer and improves the user experience. This level of efficiency is particularly important in LCD technologies. This technology, characterized by limited space and power, demands that every part be very efficient.

I2C technology has come a long way since it was first created to meet the growing needs of the electronics industry for speed, freedom, and dependability. These changes have made I2C even more important as a way for devices to talk to each other. I2C technology is essential to the digital electronics environment, making it possible for a wide range of LCDs to work.

I2C will continue to be important in electronic designs. However, it’s slow transmission speed may keep it from being utilized on newer technologies. TFTs, for example, require high display resolutions and high speed communication. For devices requiring higher speeds and are still GPIO limited, the MIPI DSI interface has become the interface of choice.  That said, as electronic gadgets get smaller, more feature-packed, and more integrated, more people will want to use protocols like I2C when feasible to lower their implementation time.


The story of I2C is one of scientific progress that has a significant impact on how we use technology today. Its history from a simple two-wire communication system to an important part of LCD display technology shows how important reliable, efficient communication has always been for the progress of electronics. The way I2C and LCD screens work together is a notable example of a larger trend toward smarter, more connected technology. This is paving the way for a world that is more digital and interactive.

The I2C protocol’s flexibility and scalability have also led to modern technologies for LCD displays, which have allowed makers to push the limits of what is possible in how electronic devices talk to each other. Because of this, screens are now very flexible and can fit many different uses, making them easier for people to use and more accessible. As the I2C protocol keeps getting better, we can expect screens that are even more dynamic and responsive. This will change the way we use technology even more. I2C’s continued development is not just about keeping things connected. It is also about making the digital world better by making it easier to use and more efficient. Contact FocusLCDs for your display needs, offering offer cutting-edge, customizable LCD options that make the most of I2C technology.

Ready to modernize your LCDs?