Make an Apple Tablet before Apple does

[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.

[Read more...]

Make any gloves work with a touch screen

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.

[via Lifehacker]

Touchscreen picture frame

touchscreen_picture_frame

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?

WiNet, wireless Arduino touchscreen

winet

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.

[Read more...]

Stantum’s high precision multitouch

touch

We love keeping track of new interaction technologies and this new touchscreen by Stantum looks especially promising. Engadget shot a hands-on video with it at the Mobile World Conference. It’s a resistive screen, so it can be used with both fingers and styluses (unlike capacitive screens). It’s sensitive enough that you could use a brush too. The screen supports any number of multitouch points and does pressure sensing based on the size of the detected fingertip. The touch detection is actually more accurate than the screen can display. Stantum is hoping mobile manufactures will pick up their input framework for inclusion in new devices. The resistive touchscreen was built to Stantum’s specifications (it won’t work with current phones), but they say it wouldn’t be hard to go into mass production.

NanoTouch, lucid touchscreen navigation

lucidtouch

The fine folks at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) are demoing a new touchscreen system that may make small devices easier to use. An extension of their LucidTouch technology, NanoTouch has a small screen on the front and a touchpad on the back. Their test unit features a 2.4inch screen. The screen displays where the user’s finger is on the back touchpad as if the display was transparent. The user’s finger no longer obscures the screen surface, so it’s much easier to hit small buttons. In testing, researchers showed that targets just 1.8mm across were easy to hit. That’s much smaller than the iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard. Here’s a video demonstrating the new device.

[via Engadget]

Pandora dev unit unboxed

pandora

[skeezix] has got his hands on one of the first Pandora dev kits to make it out the door and took a few photos. This is 1 of the 20 MK2 devboards that were produced. Although, not final it certainly is close to the version they’ll be shipping. Pandora is a Linux based portable game console. The main chip in the clamshell device is a TI OMAP3530. It has OpenGL hardware acceleration and an 800×480 touchscreen. A QWERTY keyboard is included along with analog and digital game controls. WiFi, bluetooth, USB host, TV-out, and dual SDHC card slots round out the package. The team has already presold 4000 devices.