I wanted a sideshow (esque) screen. I like the text LCDs that modders put on cases, but wanted more. Full video seemed pointless and overkill. I wanted just enough to show usefull info, and actualy add something over a second monitor or Text LCD.
Enter, the Wireless widget. A small 128×128 screen, PIC micro, bluetooth communications and a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. An app runs on the PC and sends the data to the portable widget via bluetooth. My 100meter BT dongle on the PC gets good range. I can carry this dongle around the house and get a good link to the PC all over.
Im planning to do stuff like calander, clock, weather widgets etc. It would be nice to use it as an alarm clock that synced with the PC when it was on to download time updates, calendar entries etc.
The case is a thick cardboard sheet cut into a cube pattern, folder up and duct-taped. It gives a wonderfull look with the shiny black tape and is quite tough. I have dropped it and bounced it around a lot. As long as the LCD itself doesnt hit anything hard like a table corner its ok. Who needs Chumby :p
Video of it operating during testing (prior to finishing the software and case) here.
1st March 09 UPDATE
Ok, I did some more work. Ive added a small info bar at the bottom of the screen with a clock and have started to write a UI for it. The idea being the user can select what they want to see from the widget itself.
For input im using a PS/2 Touchpad salvaged from a laptop. In absolute positioning mode this gives me something like a touchscreen. The touchpad is mounted on the back of the box and the screen on the front.
The plan is that the PC side app will have access to thinks like weather, world clocks, stock tickers, rss feeds etc and they will all be accessibly via the widget. You can then put it into ‘alarm clock’ mode by your bed overnight where it can charge in its cradle and wake you up with the to be added speaker, then take it into the kitchen while you eat breakfast and watch news headlines and weather reports etc.
29th March 09 UPDATE
A new box! I housed the widget in a “CubeWorld” box. Its a bit small in regards to the screen size, but it works well. Ive taken out the Lithium Polymer battery pack and am running from the 3 AAA batteries housed in the box itself. I’m now working on a way to integrate the touchpad with the box so that it fits nicely, is usable and doesn’t block anything you need to access such as the speaker and battery compartment.