Nook Simple Touch as a glider computer

Look at the beautiful screen on that Nook Simple Touch. It has a lot of advantages over other hardware when used as a glider computer running the open source XCSoar software. The contrast of the display is excellent when compared to an LCD or AOMLED. That’s quite important as gliding through the wild blue yonder often includes intense sunlight. The display is also larger than many of the Android devices that have been used for this purpose. There are a few drawbacks though. One is that unlike other Android devices, this doesn’t have a GPS module built into it. But the price point makes up for the fact that you need to source an external module yourself.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the device used as a navigational display. This other hack put a simple touch on a sailboat for the same direct-sunlight-readability reason. For $100, and with the ability to root the system for use as an Android device, we expect to see this to keep popping up all over the place as a simple interface for a multitude of projects.

After the break you can see a video comparing the software running on a Nook display to one on a Dell Streak 5 LCD tablet.

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Adding ePaper navigation data to a sailboat

[Mike Holden] has been on the hunt for a display that is easy to read in bright sunlight. He wants to use it to read out navigational data on his sail boat. The best option is an ePaper display. He managed to build a system that will feed updating NMEA 0183 data to a Nook Simple Touch.

NMEA 0183 is a protocol that governs data from marine navigational equipment. The most obvious is GPS, but there are a lot of possibilities like sonar, a gyrocompass, and an autopilot. To get things rolling he wrote an Arduino sketch which generates dummy packets using the standard. This let him develop and test the system without being near any of the real equipment. The heart of the build is a WiFi router. It pulls in the data over a USB port using an RS232 to USB converter cable. A Python script parses the data and generates a webpage which refreshes the data every second. This is loaded using Opera browser on the Nook

Check out the video after the break to see a demo of the system.

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PlayStation gaming on a NOOK Simple Touch

Improvements in processing power really hit home when you see an eBook reader playing PlayStation games. Sure, we’re talking about a system which launched more than 15 years ago (the original PlayStation launched way back in 1995), but this is a $99 device which seems to be playing the games at full speed!

[Sean] wrote in to share the project with us. After rooting the device he installed System 7 (aka Mac OS 7) using Mini vMac for Android. He uses Free PlayStation Emulator (FPSE) to run the games. There is an Android version which provides the touch-screen controls you see above. We figured the graphics would be awful, but the video after the break proves us wrong. Other than being in black and white we think the graphics are fantastic. Just one hack was necessary to make this happen. [Sean] uses NoRefresh to keep the Nook from refreshing the screen which is what causes the film-negative type of flashing after several page turns.

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Emulating Mac System 7 on an Android device

Over on the 68kmla forums, a website dedicated to old Macs built before 1994, [zydeco] released his Android port of Mini vMac, a Macintosh Plus emulator that puts the power of a Motorola MC68000 processor and System 7 on any computer.

Unlike the original Macintosh, or the subsequent revision that bumped the RAM up to 512 kilobytes, the Mac Plus was actually useful. With the addition of a SCSI port and support for 4 Megabytes of RAM, it’s not only possible to browse the Internet, but also act as a server. There’s a reason [Sprite_tm] chose to rebuild one of these classic, all-in-one machines to act as a home server; they really do epitomize the elegant computers from a more civilized age.

68kmla user [FlyingToaster] even went so far as to put a Mac Plus in his nook touch. With this, he’s got a full-blown installation of System 7 running on an e-ink screen, complete with LemmingsGauntlet, and Tetris.

It should be possible to plug this emulated box into the Internet. Unfortunately, experience tells us it won’t be a very pleasant browsing experience outside Hackaday’s retro edition.

Nook touch becomes a desktop computer

It looks like [Renate] has been pounding out hack after hack on her Nook touch. It stands on its own now thanks to a tripod bracket hack which is the most recent work she’s done. But there are bunch of other modifications, all of which are linked after the break.

We believe that this is meant for displaying lyrics as she sings and plays along. To that end there’s a foot pedal attachment that lets her control the device. It connects to the Nook via a USB hub that allows her to interface multiple devices at once. This in itself is also a hack, as host mode isn’t an out-of-the-box feature for the device. In order to avoid having to disconnect everything in order to top off the battery, she also manged to get the thing to charge from the USB hub. In fact, with all this in one package she’s basically got herself a desktop computer.

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Full Linux distro on a Nook color

We should have included a footnote in the title. You can say that [Thomas Polasek] installed a full version of Arch Linux on his Nook Color, but there’s one caveat. It’s running on top of the Android kernel and his proof-of-concept uses a second computer to get it up and running. But there’s potential for that to change moving forward.

Unlike previous attempts to run a Linux distro on Android, this does away with using a VNC to show the desktop. [Thomas] is commandeering Android’s frame buffer so that it can be used by the X desktop without needing to set up display drivers. To start off he installed a ROM based on CM7. A couple of Android apps give him the functionality needed to get the Arch Linux distro running from the SD card. This is accomplished by tunneling into the tablet via SSH, and using the ‘chroot’ command to make it active. The hope is that this can somehow be automated by a script.

A female to female USB coupler was used to connect the keyboard and mouse to the Nook. It looks like LXDE would be useless without them; touch control is not yet implemented. Those shortcomings aside, everything seems to be running pretty fast in the video after the break.

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Using the nook as a keyboard

[Andrew] has been pining for an Optimus Maximus – a keyboard with a small LCD screen in each key – for years. Like a lot of people, he love the idea of a completely configurable keyboard, but balked at the two thousand dollar price tag. Although it doesn’t have full color OLED screens behind each key, [Andrew]‘s nook simple touch can be used as a keyboard just the same.

After rooting his new nook, [Andrew] had a very nice tablet computer, and the only Android device with an e-ink screen. Although[Andrew] never wrote an Android app before, he wanted to do a proof of concept build to see if a nook keyboard would actually work. The “keyboard app” is actually just a webpage hosted on his home server. When he presses a virtual key, JavaScript sends an ASCII value back to the server where it is decoded and sent to xte.

[Andrew] says his build works, but not very well. Opera mini doesn’t like the homebrew server he set up, and Cyrillic characters are a no go. Still, it works, and looks like an awesome application for an e-ink tablet with a proper Android app. Demo after the break.

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