66% or better

iPhone look-alike on your kitchen wall

[Ryan] and his wife wanted to have a touchscreen interface in the kitchen to store their recipes and for various music, video, and Internet entertainment. We know where they’re coming from, we’re quite tired or cleaning flour (or worse!) off of our palm pilot screen after baking. The display you see on the wall is just the interface, a computer is stored in the cabinet below the counter. He’s running Windows 7 and using a custom graphic interface which is intended to mimic the looks of the iPhone. He’s sharing the UI as open source and has just started a forum for those interested in trying it out and adding to the available features.

One thing we noticed in his writeup, he prototyped this with an old 2 GHz computer but upgraded the hardware because it was too slow. This pushed to total build price to about $1350 USD. We can’t help but mention that using a Linux based system may have saved him from the upgrade. We know there’s some extremely powerful media software that runs on light hardware specs.

[Thanks Hannah]

Comments

  1. robomonkey says:

    Windows7 on an old 2 GHz frame…ouch, no wonder he upgraded….but some UNIX or UBUNTU would have done the job as well with the same frame

  2. Wdfowty says:

    That looks awesome, but I can’t help noticing that windows taskbar. He probably would have been better off with a mac mini off eBay. Save space and energy, and run a nice Linux distro with an iPhone clone, if it existed. Or better yet, as you stated inthe post, XBMC. Would they be able to bring up their recipes on xbmc though?

  3. kirov says:

    cool in theory but touchscreens more often then not turn out to be a **bad** idea in practice – it would be kind of annoying leaning over and controlling it at eye level, I suspect they will just hook up a wireless keyboard or something in a month or two.

    the “iphone look-alike” aspect of this is not really worth noting, its just one skin among thousands (although perhaps if he had a writeup detailing the creation process of it then it might prove interesting).

    finally, from a functional point of view you could buy a tv and several laptops for this $1350 price tag so I’m not really seeing it.

  4. cyrozap says:

    The first link in the article lacks the http://www. Please change it because currently, the link doesn’t work (it does work with the www).

  5. MS3FGX says:

    That seems like an awful lot of money for something like that. Like already said, he could have done the same on less powerful hardware with more efficient software. The taskbar really does stick out like a sore thumb too.

    As for XBMC, I am pretty sure there are some browser plugins for it, though I don’t know how well any of the skins would work with touch control.

  6. Ian Tester says:

    Why not a simple BeagleBoard? It’s almost exactly what’s powering the iPhone anyway. It has a decent GPU and can drive 720p out of its DVI/HDMI port.

  7. therian says:

    too expensive for no-gaming build

  8. deadeye says:

    win7, the picture awefully looks like an old XP Geezer to me. :s

  9. blue carbuncle says:

    cmon people been building this on windows 98 platforms years ago, although without wireless. How can he not shave off enough bloat to have a 2ghz chug along? This is inspiring me to do one for less than 300 bucks. I’ll follow up. Nice looking though.

    therian play tetris on your microwave or bounce a ball and see if you can double your score in the same amount of time ;)

  10. derwin says:

    hmmm, that last paragraph has got me intrigued. i actually found an old computer on the street simply by chance about a week after i decided i was going to build a low-end HTPC. it was an insiron 2200 that i immediately upgraded to 120GB HD, 512MB of RAM, a slightly better video card (its only legacy PCI but plays some games nicely) with wifi & bluetooth cards. everything seems to run great, except that online streaming media makes it choke. hulu, zinc TV, and the like skip and sputter just below the watchability line.

    can anyone reccomend a linux release that might help?

  11. derwin says:

    i meant to say dell dimension, not inspiron ^^^

  12. andrew says:

    that definitely looks like windows xp, not windows 7.

  13. jeditalian says:

    i would have upgraded to windows 3.

  14. jeditalian says:

    derwin RAM is usually your problem there, with the crap performance on hulu & such. i dropped one 512 stick and a 160gb hd in a laptop that came with a 1.3ghz celeron and probably 256mb ram. then hulu didnt suck. i was going to max it out to 1gb but it wasnt my laptop so.. what was the cpu speed on what you’re workin with

  15. jeditalian says:

    minus the tower+psu, you could build the computer with a 3.4ghz + 1tb hd for under 300 @newegg. line a cardboard box with al. foil and duct-tape it together. loljk but i wonder how much the touchscreen cost him. ~600 for a 19″, $1050 for a 26″

  16. derwin says:

    @jeditalian, it came with a 2Ghz Celeron processor but i took a 2.4Ghz P4 out of another machine. it’s very fast. i put one 512 card in, then i considered bumping it to a gig but i’ve heard that video cards / RAM for some reason aren’t to blame for hulu’s poor performance but Flash and the memory taken up by their resident web browsers (firefox). i’m going to try a gig and possibly linux to see what that does for the performance.

  17. james says:

    way too bloated, he wasted a Intel Core i5 and 4gb DDR3 memory on this?? A cooking timer, email and twitter?? I’m sorry, but someone’s got more money than brains, and if you throw enough money at any problem it can be done, no one’s impressed by this $1344 19″ touchscreen kitchen computer

    Guy could have spent $150 and bought a Fujitsu p1120
    http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/fujitsu-lifebook-p1120-tm5800/4505-3121_7-30012172.html

    old tiny touchscreen (finger touch, not pen) laptop. 9″ screen, weights 2 lbs, runs XP tablet edition, could have put it on the wall and been done. Only problem is it’s only 800mhz and maxium ram is 256 so it’s a bit pokey, but it’ll still twitter and run a kitchen timer I’m sure.

    if the p1120′s cpu isn’t quite fast enough for your liking then perhaps the p1620 would be. With a core 2 duo it’ll handle whatever you throw at it, but it’ll cost you over $500:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280448040509

  18. Jack Sprat says:

    A speech interface might be better than a touch interface, especially in the kitchen.

  19. Vendeta says:

    “Going Forward / Future Enhancements
    - Upgrading from XP to Windows 7.”

    The system is running XP.

  20. blue carbuncle says:

    derwin flash video like hulu is pretty cpu/gpu intensive since is all software controlled. My main computer, with which I do everything including VPN/media server, pre 2005 gaming (got a 360), and htpc is the one that I will constantly mention on here because I love her so much. P3 733MHz coppermine with nvidia geforce 4 64MB and a DVD burner (lol) and ~800 MB RAM. I use amit talkin’s XPSP3 2600 build and will never bury that machine. Everyday I work on machines that are 8 times the power that run at half the speed and just kinda smile at that little box that won’t die lol.

    As per hulu related tweaks, if you are running XP I would highly recommend TCP optimizer at speedguide.net and/or their post SP2 concurrent connections patch. Again FF’s about:config concurrent connections tweaking are a good idea and there are several guides ala professor google to help ya in that area. I had a similar experience with a laptop I built/fixed for my mom that wouldn’t play hulu smoothly and embarassed me a bit. Laptops are a whole ‘nother ball o wax though :) Best of luck. I know it probably doesn’t help IRL but I still disable any serial, parallel, etc ports I can in BIOS and Win to regain DMA/IRQ channels. This harkens back from my win 95 MIDI days tho so it probably doesn’t apply anymore but like lucky, stinky sweatsocks I still do it on my machines.

  21. mars says:

    ew.

  22. davo1111 says:

    yeah, i think the downside is dirty fingers.

  23. Derek says:

    Love the idea, also like what Jack Sprat said about speech activated! WHY NOT BOTH!

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  27. blizzarddemon says:

    Links are dead <.<

  28. blue carbuncle says:

    @Derek I love the speech idea. I’ve been working with ULTRA HAL Assistant getting it to pull up internets and search and start apps, etc. It is like any TTS kind of deal, dumb at first, but with training it gets pretty good. It would work pretty well with this project it seems like and here I was trying to gooch down the touch screen $ somehow lol.
    Good thinking Derek

  29. blue carbuncle says:

    http://www.zabaware.com/assistant/

    Ultra Hal linky. Forgot to hit ctrl v lol. Check it out :)

  30. Lambda_drive says:

    @derwin, I have an old laptop from 2004 with a 2ghz cpu and about 700mb of ram,(the video card uses some of the system ram). I too had a problem playing youtube and hulu videos smoothly. One thing I noticed is that in firefox videos would stutter a bit, but on Chrome it would play perfectly. I’m not a big fan of Chrome, but it’s become very useful for playing flash videos on my old laptop.

  31. M4CGYV3R says:

    If a 2GHz computer is too slow for this application, urdoinitwrong. My primary computer is dual 2.4 and my backup is dual 2.0. They both work excellently for even the highest-end applications and I couldn’t imagine some touchscreen iPhone wannabe app slowing them down.

  32. Oh boy, good idea but I don’t like the iPhone style too much, it can be better (my own opinion). In the future releases will be great if they add a read and speak support :)

  33. Pastir says:

    Ubuntu Netbook Remix would be a good Linux choice. It’s interface is in the “apps” style.

  34. SophT says:

    I’d like to see a little saran dispenser above the monitor so before you start cooking you pull a fresh sheet over the display, and when you’re done rip it off and throw it away, protecting that expensive touchscreen from raw chicken juice and coffee grounds.

    I also second the Ubuntu NBR, or another other flavor (eeebuntu, edubuntu) or maybe even Moblin.

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