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]
[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.
[Andrew] wanted a tablet computer but is tired of waiting for Apple to come up with one. eBay and Craig’s list to the rescue, he picked up some parts and built his own tablet. You can take a look at the video tour of it after the break, or peruse parts one, two, three, and four of his work log.
The unit is assembled from a 500 MHz iBook. [Andrew] picked up a touchscreen from ebay and canibalized a USB joystick in order to add some buttons to the keyboard-less design. The end product is quite nice. We’ve wanted a tablet computer to hang on the wall for a long time and this may be the inspiration that gets us there.
Do you find this didn’t satisfy your Apple tablet fix? There’s more to be seen in our mac tablets roundup.
The chill of autumn is upon us, and with it comes the awkward sport of trying to work touch-sensitive phones and gadgets with gloved fingers. One can try toughing it out with fingerless gloves, or we’ve seen some costly solutions in the forms of specialized gloves and capacitive-compatible styluses, but sometimes simple is best: all it takes is a few stitches of conductive thread in the fingertips.
Conductive thread is available from various sources; SparkFun Electronics comes naturally to mind, but most vendors carrying the LilyPad Arduino will stock a suitable thread as well. Don’t fret if you’ve never sewn before — just a few simple loops are required, and it doesn’t need to be especially tidy. In principle this should work for trackpads and capacitive mice as well, if you use those in the field. For multitouch devices, add a separate conductive bit to each fingertip.
Circuit Ideas Design has posted a digital picture frame project based on their 240×320 16-bit color QVGA display. We made our own digital frame from a smaller screen a while back and this is pretty much the same implementation except with a larger screen and built around the AVR family of microcontrollers rather than PIC controllers.
The thing that piqued our curiosity was the five icons silk screened on one end of the display. That’s right, this is a touch screen. The board also has a built in SD slot and a bit of flexibility for connecting to a microcontroller. It can be controlled from a 40-pin header, or from headers that are designed to work as an Arduino shield. We’d love to get our hands on one but we were unable to figure out what currency the list price was in. Has anyone used this board yet?
Liquidware has put together an interesting kit called the WiNet. It has a battery powered touchscreen controlled by an Arduino. Using an XBee shield, it can send commands to a paired XBee and Arduino attached to a computer. The computer can also update the touchscreen display. This is demoed in the video below. It’s a unique interface, but the TouchShield alone costs $174 so we’re guessing you’re going to be pretty damn confident in your project before you go this route.