Converting a scanner into a touchscreen

[Sprite_TM] was cleaning up his hacking workbench when he came across an all-in-one device that had seen better days. After a bit of consideration he decided to tear down the scanner portion of the device and ended up turning it into a multi-touch display.

The scanner relies on a long PCB with a line CCD sensor. This sensor is read in a similar way that information is passed along a shift register. Tell it to take a reading, and then start a clock signal to pulse out each analog value from the pixels of the sensor. In order to scan color images it uses multicolored LEDs to take different readings under different illumination.

[Sprite_TM] takes advantage of this functionality to turn it into a multitouch sensor. The sensor board itself is mounted below an LCD display along with a shield with a slit in it to help filter out ambient light. Above the screen a series of LEDs shine down on the sensor. When you break the beams with your finger it casts a series of shadows which are picked up by the sensor and processed in software. Watch the clip after the break to see it for yourself. It has no problem detecting and tracking multiple contact points.

[Read more...]

eeePC touchscreen retrofit

Adding touch screen capabilities to your computer is really not very expensive, but it’s a huge amount of work to get everything looking the way that it should. [Deadbird] wrote up a step-by-step guide that will help you install touch screen hardware and get your netbook put back together just like new.

The hardware comes in two parts. There’s the transparent film that covers the screen and the driver board that reads the inputs. The film itself has an adhesive layer on the back that sticks to the LCD panel. But to install it you first must remove the panel from the bezel. You’re also going to need a place to house the driver board. [Deadbird] somehow found enough room inside the case for the controller, but he had to remove the keyboard and motherboard to set it in place. This translates to a complete disassembly of your eeePC. But if you’re used to touch-sensitive devices, and have ever found yourself touching an LCD monitor and wondering why the computer is not following the link, this may be worth it to you. You can see the final product in a clip after the break.

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Mac tablet keeps the look of the donor-Macbook

[Enigma-penguin] built a tablet computer out of a Core2Duo Macbook circa 2007. The battery exploded, damaging the case and a few components inside. But there was hope for a new life as a tablet computer. He removed the screen and tested to make sure the computer would still function without it by using the video out port.

Putting the whole thing back together as a tablet proved to have some headaches. He worked through problems caused by the addition of a touchscreen between the LCD and the bezel and made the connections work with the screen flipped. The finished product looks so good because the bezel has not been turned around like on other tablet builds. Instead, a viewing window was cut in what would have been the case behind the screen.

There’s a little more to be done yet. The black USB cable seen above is the connector for the touchscreen which he plans to internalize. The magnetic sleep sensor has been relocated to the headphone jack. Inserting a plug (no cord necessary) puts it to sleep for transport. There’s also an on screen keyboard and the ability to change the screen orientation from landscape to portrait. After the break we’ve embedded one of [Enigma-penguin's] demonstrations. [Read more...]

Car computer requires PIN for ignition

[Ben's] added some nice goodies to his Volvo in the form of an in-dash computer. The system monitors two pressure sensors for boost and vacuum, as well as reading RPM, O2, and exhaust directly. All of this is tied into the touch interface running on an eeePC 900A. But our favorite feature is that the system requires you to enter a PIN to start the ignition. The forum post linked above is short on details so we asked [Ben] if he could tell us more. Join us after the break for a demonstration video as well as [Ben's] rundown on the system.

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Linux tablet built around a BeagleBoard

[Justin] shows us how to make a Linux tablet out of a BeagleBoard. You may remember [Justin's] work at liquid cooling an Arduino. For this one he moved past the AVR hardware but took the idea of shields along for the ride. The device above is something of a Linux tablet, with a touchscreen shield on top of the BeagleBoard, and one below it for power. He’s selling these as kits which include the 480×272 OLED display as long as you can handle the fine-pitch soldering for those headers. We’re not sure our hands are steady enough for the challenge.
[Thanks Will]

Eat your heart out iPad

We don’t remember where we read it, but our favorite criticism of the iPad is that is does the same things a lot of other Apple devices do. So why wait until April to get your hands on that functionality? [Alexbates] built his own iPad clone using existing hardware and software. This started with an MSI wind that he used as a hackintosh. A touchscreen was added to the display, the keyboard removed, and the LCD flipped around. Boom, a tablet running OS X was born. This is different from others because [Alexbates] took the time to alter the UI to look like the iPad. Sure, it doesn’t automatically flip the display when rotated and there’s no pinch-zooming. But it does have more processing power and storage space.

We’re more likely to hack our own like this rather than purchase a device we’re not all that enthusiastic about.

[Thanks Jadon via Engadget]

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]