Imagine a tiny little device that you velcro to the back of your TV that delivers all of the media found on your home network. We’ve been dreaming about that since we saw early working examples of XBMC running on a Beagleboard. We’ve heard little about it since then but now there’s cause for hope. XBMC optimization for the Beagleboard has been approved as a Google Summer of Code project. The fruits of these projects tend to take a year or so to ripen, but we don’t mind the wait.
[Topfs2] is the student coder on the project and will be posting weekly updates as well as idling in IRC so if you’re interested in lending a hand with testing or words of support you should drop him a line.
[Beagleboard photo: Koenkooi]
This spider-bot was built by [Zhanx] during his deployment in Iraq. He didn’t have prior hardware building experience and started out on this project when he received an Arduino to play with in September. Must be a fast learner! The parts are laser-cut from ABS plastic and connected to 24 servos. He sourced an SSC-32 serial servo control board to take care of the motor connections.
[Zhanx] has since migrated from the Arduino to a BeagleBoard which you can see perched atop the body in the video after the break. This should give him plenty of speed and power to improve the movement routines. There’s some nice work here but adding rubber feet, like on yesterday’s hexapod, wouldn’t hurt.
The XBMC team has posted a teaser showing the current state of the ARM port of this popular open source media software. We’ve embedded it after the break where you can see the package boot up and playback HD video. In it we see that the system is decoding the signal well, but image rendering needs some tweaking before this will be ready.
The hardware used is a Beagleboard which runs a 600 MHz ARM processor, has OpenGL 2D/3D acceleration, puts out HD via a DVI port, and is selling for about $150. The 3″ by 3″ board can be connected to a network using a USB WiFi dongle. Although integrating XBMC by hacking TV firmware is a long way off, we’d consider velcroing one of these to the back of our HDTV and getting rid of the hulking PC behind the entertainment center.