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Toys Hardware

Build Your Own LCD Picture Frame 175

Posted by michael
from the when-thumbtacks-just-aren't-good-enough dept.
mbrain writes "PopSci is running a really good how-to story that shows how to build your own LCD picture frame. Since you are building it yourself, you can make it any size you like, using an off-the-shelf LCD monitor as the display. The frame as described uses a cheap motherboard, power supply and HD and runs Linux. It can hold thousands of photos. A little pricey, but still a cool project (especially if you have some of the parts laying around)."
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Build Your Own LCD Picture Frame

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  • Pictureframe PC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xeed (308294) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:31PM (#8562382) Journal
    This is very similar to a Mini-ITX [mini-itx.com] project I saw a while ago.

    The main difference is, the Mini-ITX page shows you how everything is layed out inside the picture frame.
    • The new micro Amiga One is in mini-itx format too and might be a better choice
    • For a free solution:
      * Open up already purchased laptop
      * Place in strategic location on desk and turn power on
      * Wait for boot and login to computer desktop
      * Open Kwickshow and point it at graphics file collection

      Done.
    • Snapshots (Score:3, Informative)

      by cgenman (325138)
      If you want to display just snapshots, why not pick up an older color PDA with a cradle? They look great, run on low power, and can be had for about 100 bucks. Rigging them into a custom frame is easy, as the hardware is small.

      Sure, you're not getting a 17" LCD, but let's be real... You're not getting a 17" LCD. A mini ITX board is easy to come by (I've got a spare if anyone wants one), as is a tiny HDD (Microcenter routinely sells 5gb strips for 15 dollars). Of course, you could always pick up [mini-itx.com] a [mini-itx.com] T-c [personal-media.co.jp]
      • Thats exactly what I started thinking when I read this article.

        I have a sharp mobilon running CE 2.0 that I waited too long to sell (worthless now). Do you have any suggestions or pointers on doing this? I could just open it fully to 180 degrees, but then I would need a disproportionaly sized frame. The way to go seems like disconnecting the screen from the base and placing the base behind the screen. However, I'm a little nervous about disconnecting the screen (I just can't get over the original p
  • A bit OTT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brejc8 (223089) * on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:32PM (#8562384) Homepage Journal
    That is so over the top. Creating an entire PC just to show a picture? That's 200 for the screen and another 200 for the computer. On top of that they are recommending a hard disk?
    My version [man.ac.uk] uses a 5 quid FPGA and some junk thrown away equipment. The LCD was a 12" 9bit colour from some factory and a fiend of a friend offered them to us for a quid each. And the RAM is an old 1Mb 30simm (I have about 3kg of these). There you go. A picture displaying system with no need for a huge/noisy PC power supply (runs from one of those 12v ac/dc plug converters). The images can be sent to it via a serial cable (two wires internally so it can be passed over any old cable you have lying around).
    • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:37PM (#8562425) Journal
      ... a fiend of a friend offered them to us for a quid each.


      Man, you're hard on your friends!

      Simon.
    • But, if it was one of those "Just fell of a Truck" deals this might be the correct discription or the party in question.
    • Using a PDA would use less power and be easier, but then the display might not be big enough.

      An old colour laptop could work I guess, but then it might be too big :)
    • by cmholm (69081) <cmholm@mau[ ]lm.org ['iho' in gap]> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:57PM (#8562555) Homepage Journal
      It doesn't cost 400 quid to put together an LCD picture frame. PopSci is taking a different route from Linux Toys [amazon.com], which starts with a $50 laptop from eBay. This has also been reviewed [slashdot.org] on Slashdot. While I like PopSci's mini ATX method, the Linux Toys laptop method is usually cheaper, if you shop eBay carefully, and refer to Linux On Laptops [linux-on-laptops.com] to make sure it'll work.
      • Of course, it seems a bit overboard to use Linux for something that's only running one process. I've got an old P75 laptop (and it only uses a cord, no brick, too!), and it has an 8.4"x6.3"x640x480x16-bit screen, and an 810MB HDD. It'll run FreeDOS just fine, with a VESA TSR and LxPic (designed for HPLX palmtops, but works great on just about anything that runs DOS). After all, it does fairly well with Win95 (except with only 16MB RAM, it's dog slow). Flip the screen around, devise a latch, make a frame around it, and you've got a good picture frame. I suggest NOT matting it, as the choice of mat depends on the picture, and if it's changing pictures...
    • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:07PM (#8562602)
      Creating an entire PC just to show a picture?

      I agree, but you're missing most of the point- it's not the hardware, it's the concept; low-tech is best.

      • framing a picture means it was good enough to warrant said treatment. The whole point of putting up a picture frame is lost if all you show are crap photos of your dog or whatnot. Further, if I have a great photo, I want it to always be there, or at least be instantly accessible. No easy way to do that here...
      • the LCD panel won't last very long being on all day, every day; the backlights are rated for a few thousand hours tops.
      • they're horrible for viewing at anything other than dead-on; gamma and contrast change drastically from side to side or above/below
      • they need a power cord, which is fugly
      • they have vastly inferior resolution; high-resolution LCD panels aren't available anywhere except in laptops. A standard print from even, say, Walmart's digital photo lab machine...is at least 300dpi, more like 600dpi.
      • Archival photo paper, with UV-blocking glass, mounted with acid-free materials, will last decades. This toy will last about 2-3 years if it's lucky. Maybe 5.
      • at the temperatures involved (the mini-itx site lists a figure around 44C) none of the components will last very long. Hard drives especially don't like heat...
      • You miss the point. This isn't to show just one picture, but to show hundreds. Hell, you could show home movies. What I don't understand is why he didn't include 802.11 so you can manage it remotely.
        • After I RTFA I see he did include 802.11, but he didn't know how to make it work.

          Really, is this story telling us anything a /. reader couldn't do cheaper and better?

      • by barawn (25691)
        they're horrible for viewing at anything other than dead-on; gamma and contrast change drastically from side to side or above/below

        Yah, valid point. But the digital photo frame does actually generate light, so it does draw attention to itself.

        Further, if I have a great photo, I want it to always be there, or at least be instantly accessible. No easy way to do that here...

        What if you have 5 "great photos"? Then you either take up a huge amount of wall space, or cycle through 5 of them slowly in a digit
      • I thought the same thing until I thought of this ....
        • Some of the M boards have 6 channel stereo as well as svideo out
        • Any good electrician can get you a power outlet anywhere you want. No visible power cord is necessary. While he is at it, run audio and video cables to the your stereo in the same room, you know, the one with the TV over it?
        • I don't see any reason why this thing can't have a DVD slot in the side and a decent hard drive. If you put in a fanless chip, orient it towards the top and put in som
      • At least from the Fuji Frontier.
    • Re:A bit OTT (Score:5, Interesting)

      by shokk (187512) <ernieoporto&yahoo,com> on Sunday March 14, 2004 @04:43PM (#8563129) Homepage Journal
      All you have to do is pick up an Audrey from Ebay and point it to a Gallery [sourceforge.net] installation and set the page to slideshow for the album. Simple and done quickly from very off the shelf parts. For bonus points, have the gallery hosted so that you don't have a server gobbling electricity 24/7; plus others can easily access the gallery the same way and emulate a Cieva [cieva.com] service.
  • Someday (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hope to surround myself with LCD walls and change my room based on my mood.
  • Still Wanted: (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by swordboy (472941)
    Open form-factor laptop specification.

    I *can't* believe that companies like Viewsonic and Asus have not gotten together to create a chassis and DC power spec so that we can all build/repair our own laptops. Things like LCD panels could be purchased affordably at Best Buy or Circuit Shitty if this was the case.
    • OT, but my sentiments exactly.

      I'm working on something, but not knowing much about laptops internally (how much space is required for stuff, etc.), I can't do that much. If you'd care to help me, comment in my journal.
  • Pete, Repeat, and Ditto... At least it is semi-interesting.

    Also, this is a good use for those old 486/low end pentium laptops too... keep trying to get some to work on for the VPA dept. at work.
  • by beerits (87148) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:35PM (#8562407)
    can be found here [applefritter.com].
  • Yeah.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by destiney (149922) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:35PM (#8562412) Homepage

    Yeah I'm almost certain we all have a few unused LCD monitors lying around..

    Right over there in the corner with my old 486's.

  • Coolness factor (Score:2, Insightful)

    by barenaked (711701)
    I guess the reason for doing this would ahve to be the coolness factor of it and rolling it yourself. But when you realize it is going to cost you $500+ for the "coolness factor" and you see there are cheaper already built alternatives out there for less than half the cost why not buy a prebuilt one? None of your family cares what your picture frame runs on or your picture frames uptime FYI
    • You're absolutely right that your family is unlikely to give a spit about the technical specs of the digital picture frame you give them. They'll be happy that it shows pictures that change over time. Wheee!

      But there's more to giving a gift that just giving someone something that's off the shelf. I'd wager that your family will appreciate a custom-made gift (if it's well-made, that is) more than something you spent thirty minutes on picking up at the mall and which they can see sitting in their neighbor's

      • And another thing: most of the pre-built digital frame companies charge a monthly service fee in order to download new content. So not only do you have to pay for the frame itself, you have to keep paying in order to use it!

        Wow - that practically took my breath away - brilliantly devious. I've never looked at these but I would have assumed that they would have a serial or USB connector and just plug into your computer. But having to pay to transfer data? Considering all the people who will do anythin

  • Just find yourself an old broken laptop nobody wants and use its screen. That's what I used in a similar project, a Compaq Presario 1655 13.3" LCD screen :-D
  • Cheaper alternative (Score:2, Interesting)

    by detritus` (32392) *
    I did something similar to this but i just bought an old PII/300 laptop with a 15" screen... got the whole deal for $350 and then only cost me ~$50 for frame materials. On the whole was a lot more simplistic than trying to get all the parts together like this guy did, and as a plus i could get everything running while the laptop was still intact.
  • These could be cool - imagine the possiblities - you have one hard disk with the family photos on and one with the porn.

    When the family come round show the nice xmas pictures of you and that jumper you didn't want then when they go a simple swap of disks and it'll be like the Playboy mansion....

    At least it's got to be better than looking at fish all day right?
  • Hard drive? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrSkwid (118965) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:40PM (#8562444) Homepage Journal
    You should at least boot if from a Compact Flash card

    silent, no heat, droppable (kinda)

    I've got no references for Linux but FreeBSD has a sectionin the Handbook [freebsd.org]

    And my fellow 9fan [google.com] Matthias showed me a handy reference guide [neon1.net] and bunch of scripts for the binaries you want. Well that's for non-X, my next stage of my project is trying to get my EPIA working in SVGA mode or, if I get a big enough CF card (I think a 256Mb should work and they are about $50 on ebay). I'm trying for an in car system. I already got it playing mp3s from the CD Rom 35 seconds from power.

    • There's no way I'd put a hard drive in this thing. I have a couple of servers in the house already. I'd just boot from CF and have it pull images from a server via wireless.
    • Having attempted twice in the past to boot Linux from CF, I would not recommend including the procedure in an article. Hardly plug-n-ATI, there are few Distros that will fit on a consumer level CF card, and even fewer motherboards that will boot them. I've personally never managed it. That's not to say that it can't be done (it can, obviously), just that it is probably out of the scope of the article. I certainly wouldn't want to have to deal with the forums if they recommended it.

      Boot from the HDD, th
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:41PM (#8562448) Homepage Journal
    Hey, there's nothing like converting a low-res display and computer hardware to make a high-tech $300+ version of a $10 picture frame.
  • Could you use a LCD from a notebook for this, or would it be too proprietary?

    My old Dell Latitude died a few months back. I used to display some professional photos I'd taken on it, and the thought came to me that I could use the LCD in this same fashion. But I realized it probably wouldn't be feasible (at least for someone of my expertise).
    • Unless they changed there is no VIDCARD -> LCD like you have on a normal PC.

      Possibly they use the same signalling as in a DVI interface but this is hardly a given. If you can figure out to connect wich wires to wich bits on the ribbon cord then you are sorted.

      It wouldn't be hard to do provided someone else done it already and put it online.

      And what are you going to loose? A screen on a dead laptop and perhaps an old vidcard. Not exactly staggering losses (althought as said above you probably need a dv

      • Thanks, and you're right, it can't hurt to try. Moreover, since the LCD is almost flat, why not mount it and only it to the wall, and hide the computer somewhere else? You'll have to drill a hole in the wall if you don't want to have a power cord showing, so why not just hide the actual box somewhere else? Most picture frames aren't that thick.

        Another good option might allow you to flip the screen for portrait or landscape. Most of my photos are taken in portrait format.
    • My immediate thought was why not just get an old laptop off ebay or from the closet, yank the lcd off the case and flip it round to the bottom of the laptop, stick a WiFi card in it and mount it in the frame. Something like an old HP Omnibook subnote would be perfect as they don't need active cooling and cost practically nothing. ...although the idea of having a machine logged in 24/7 on WiFi makes me cringe. Might as well make it a honeypot too.
    • How did it die? If it was HDD, get a new one, and have a good laptop. If it was mobo, the screen MIGHT be LVDS, which (with a lot of soldering) could be converted to DVI. If it was KB/mouse, plug a PS/2 one in long enough to set this up. And then, if it was screen hinges, even better - PERFECT for the job.
  • Any size? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vo0k (760020) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:42PM (#8562456) Journal
    you can make it any size you like, using an off-the-shelf LCD monitor as the display.
    So, I want the display to be, say, 10" diagonal, with frame 11", yeah, I go and buy such a display (where?) or get a ready one and cut it to the right dimensions?

    You are pretty much stuck with the display size and you can only obscure it or extend the frame. You are stuck with factory display sizes.
    • Familiar with the concept of a "mat"? Y'know, the funny thick paper that surrounds pictures that have been properly framed? :-P
  • by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:46PM (#8562481) Journal
    With the basic functionality up and running, you can start to play around with expansion options. My first project was to give the frame a wireless connection so I could transfer new pictures without taking it off the wall.

    Wargoatseing, anyone?

    • Wargoatseing, anyone?

      But I already HAVE my picture frame displaying goatse 24 hours a day. What are you going to do, replace it with tasteful landscape photography?
  • my lord this is a retarded plan. I see absolutely zero advantage in doing it this way, what overkill! I'd be impressed if it ran off a chip or something senseable, but this is just way too much work. you can get jpg decoders on a chip, I'd be impressed if you made this out of a digital camera (just switch the LCD to a bigger one). but this is just "buy a computer, glue it to the wall"
  • by answerer (626307) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:47PM (#8562494)
    At the prices + time you're looking at with a project like this, you might as well go out and buy one.

    http://www.artpix.com/
    http://www.pacificdigital.com/products/memoryframe .asp

    This project is only economical if you have old laptops sitting around. If that's the case, you probably won't have enough CPU/RAM to install the latest version of debian. For me, I don't even have a hard drive.

    Anyone found a lite solution to picture frame software? Here are two solutions that I've found so far:

    PictureFrame Linux [risacher.org]
    - Too heavy on system requirements
    DOS Solution [roines.net]
    • by Tony (765) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:02PM (#8562576) Journal
      This project is only economical if you have old laptops sitting around. If that's the case, you probably won't have enough CPU/RAM to install the latest version of debian.

      I have built picture frames out of old pentium-class laptops ('bout $100 off ebay, or cheaper if you shop around your own town), and they have no problems running the latest Debian. Just don't run X!

      I use zgv [svgalib.org] to cycle through the pictures. Works great, *and* is less filling.
      • Get a TI Extensa 550/560/570. They have socketed CPUs, so you can just drop in a P166, and as you're going to rip apart its guts, you can upgrade its heatsink as well.

        If you're TOTALLY nuts, you can drop in a Socket 7 if you can get ahold of a Socket 7 adapter.

        Best part is the price. Extensas, without hard drive, go for ~$20-$30 on eBay.

        Then again, I have NO idea why anyone would use them to just display pictures! Drop in a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, and 802.11b PCMCIA card. Boom. Instant compute
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I did this about two years ago using a Websurfer (about $50) and a old small HD with DOS and a batch script, for my mom's TV.

    The I-Opener ($40 now) can do the same thing. See http://www.linux-hacker.net/ [linux-hacker.net] they have a real good forum about this sort of stuff.

  • by Jozer99 (693146)
    James Earl Jones like voice:
    Mini-ITX motherboard 150
    Custom 3 inch deep fram 100
    Penium II desktop 100
    USB CD-ROM 30
    USB Wireless Adapter 80
    15 inch LCD 300
    RadioShack Switch 7
    Power Brick 60
    100 Hours you should
    have been at work
    1 60000year job
    Getting the same result for 827 as you would for a $300 digital picture frame: Priceless Fade to black
  • by Graemee (524726) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @02:57PM (#8562557)
    Check these links for a Duo (Laptop) mod to a picture frame. I remember this site as the first I saw. I have an old 486 and a 64MB compaq flash just waiting for a conversion.

    http://www.applefritter.com/hacks/duodigitalfram e
    http://www.applefritter.com/node/view/728

    Duo Digital Frame by James Roos
  • by ecarlson (325598) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:04PM (#8562584) Homepage
    Put in a tiny camera and have a portrait image with eyes that follow the viewer. That would be pretty creepy. Or add some speakers, and and have it "jump out and scream" at the viewer when they get close, like those trick images on the web.
  • "My first project was to give the frame a wireless connection so I could transfer new pictures without taking it off the wall."

    Oh great, then it'll start showing net-based advertisements. And if you add a passive infrared detector you will get double payback when people are in the room while an ad is being shown.
  • by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:12PM (#8562622) Journal
    Before transferring your pictures to the frame, you may want to use a graphics program like Photoshop to resize all your pictures to the monitor's native resolution. That will save a little CPU power and a lot of hard drive space.

    I don't know what photoshop is, but I know that the best program for task described above is a batch job running convert.

    hey, I just checked that photoshop is not a linux program, why this guy is talking about non-linux programs?
  • "especially if you have some of the parts laying around"

    ahhh yes.... Let me grab one of my old discarded LCD monitors I have so many of....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just using the computer to show pictures is probably a waste of money. But since you have a fully functional computer behind the picture there are lots of interesting and useful things that could be done by adding a few buttons to the frame, a touchscreen for the wealthy, or even an infared remote. With an internet connection it could cache the latest weather map for your area or traffic conditions. Add a server backend and run mythtv through it. Use it as a security monitor for the front door. When yo

  • PowerBook 100 Monochrome Frame [utoronto.ca]


    PowerBook 540c Colour Frame

  • by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:22PM (#8562670)
    This is probably the worst article I've seen posted on making digital picture frames. I apologize if that hurts anyone's feelings, but a lot more thinking could have gone into the design and parts.

    For starters, why not go to the flea market or ebay and pick up an ancient laptop? This gives you a cpu, motherboard, hard drive, network interface, and a display. I was able to find old, functional laptops for under $150 [ebay.com] on ebay.

    I would pull the motherboard and mount it against the back of the display, then order a premium, custom built frame from a picture frame shop for ~$25-$100. You could be cheap and build your own, but $100 should get something nice and elegant. Another option would be to just pick up a pre-built frame and put in an insert cut to your spec.

    For people not up to the skill level of configuring Linux, they could simply boot to Windows and set their SHELL variable to a screen saver's executable for cycling pictures. There is one built-in to XP, but many freebies are out there for previous builds of Windows.

    Personally, I would opt for a wireless NIC and mount a share where the pictures are to be stored. That way I could simply copy new pictures over to the system from my main computer.
    • For starters, why not go to the flea market or ebay and pick up an ancient laptop?

      If your idea of a lcd picture frame is a tiny little screen, sure. To me that would be pretty silly -- except for little pictures that people hang in their bathrooms, "real" framed pictures tend to be quite a bit larger than a laptop screen.
      • I was simply responding to the article. Considering they call for a 15" screen, going with a 14.1"+cpu+mobo+hdd+ps+network is about 1/4 the price of a new 15" screen alone.

        I'm just doing the math, not calling the shots. You'll need to take the teenie screen issue up with the guy who published the article and the vendors who sell digital picture frames. ;-)
    • Leave the built-in battery and charging circuitry from the laptop, and when it detects that it's running off battery, it assumes the power has gone out and turns the screen bright white to help you get around in the dark.
    • Any small video that did not require sound could be shown using geexbox [geexbox.org].
  • Linux Toys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by desktopj (563923)
    Picked up a book by Chistopher Negus and Chuck Wolber published by Wiley Tecnology Publishing called Linux Toys [wiley.com] They do the same thing with an old laptop - something you can pickup for less than $100
  • I have a hacked I-Opener in my kitchen that runs a randomized slideshow of all my digital photos when it is blanked by xscreensaver. Not only does it allow friends and family to see a random sampling of our life on the fly, it gives me a terminal when I need it.

    Last I checked, I-Openers were about $50 on ebay.
  • by idiot900 (166952) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:28PM (#8562700)
    The idea of being able to SSH into your picture frame makes D&D enthusiasts look good by comparison...
  • Costs $80.00 on e-bay, has web browser, and is hackable. Just wire it to your LAN and feed it from any random conputer in your house. It can also do a whole bunch of other stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just did this a month ago with a gimpy dual-usb iBook. The real benefit to using actual computer hardware to do this sort of thing is versatility. The one for $470 from ThinkGeek stores 80 pictures and shows 'em on a 10.4 inch screen. Mine pulls from a database of > 10,000 totally random images (http://www.unrendered.org/unrendered/montage.php ) , streams my library of 12 GB of music videos over airport, plays NASA TV, and has enough horsepower (500 Mhz) to play iTunes visuals. And that's it only b
  • The only way this become truly cool (considering the hassle and expense) is for it to multipurpose as a home appliance that will also play MP3s (and possibly even movies) off your server.

    I don't mind a nicely organized tube of wires running down the wall (a really clever person would run the wires in the wall and place the frame over the various outlets), but I don't know enough about input peripherals to see an easy way to attach a keyboard and mouse. I suppose one could go with an IR wireless deal, the m
  • Nano-ITX (Score:5, Informative)

    by -tji (139690) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @03:32PM (#8562713) Journal
    The upcoming Nano-ITX [epiacenter.com] boards should offer even more flexibility for this type of design.. It's smaller, takes less power, and runs cooler. It also takes DC power, so you don't need to mess with the ATX -> DC/DC converter stuff that the Mini-ITX requires (although, there is supposed to be a DC Mini-ITX board coming out).

    The down-side is that these have been announced for several months, but are still not available for purchase.
  • previous /. article->old powerbook to picture frame [slashdot.org]

    and this guy made all sorts of cools tuff with tibooks/powerbook prototypes including picture frame... some tiny mame "cocktail" cabinets [inanna.com] etc...

    *shrug*

    e.

  • I have 3 12" thinkpad screens I got off ebay (yeah i have an old thinkpad) but they only cost $5. Can anyone tell me where to find information about the displays and how to drive/control them? like is it just a video card I need? perhaps I could make my own 12" picture thingy.
  • Why not use LTSP and netboot? you'd simply need an app to display the pics that ran native on the LTSP client. Of course this is not a stand alone solution.
  • If you check around you can find tons of old Pentium 1 and 2 class laptops people are almost willing to give away. I've done a project like this myself using an old P166mmx and it's working out great so far, plus the pcmcia slots allow for things like wireless cards instead of having PCI cards sticking out the back and the option to run it on battery power.

    Old laptop + Linux + Framebuffer driver + FBI image viewer + Samba = nifty new wireless pictureframe you can just drag pictures to and watch them cycle
  • by The Analog Kid (565327) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @04:44PM (#8563137)
    Mr. Roger's Picture Picture.
  • by Linker3000 (626634) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @04:51PM (#8563183) Journal
    Take care,

    According to this article on ZDNet [zdnet.co.uk], uncle Billy has a patent on this kinda thing. Dunno if a home brew version will fall foul of the patent, but best keep yours in an upstairs spare room, draw the curtains ('drapes' for our US chums) and not show it to friends or neighbours.

    Of course, if you wanna really p*ss people off:

    Bill: Have the thing scroll through your virtual art library

    then...

    RIAA: Show some stills from your favourite music video accompanied by the matching MP3

    then...

    SCO: Show a tasty source code snippet from the routine of your choice
  • I-Opener (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Keck (7446) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @05:03PM (#8563269) Homepage
    I'm a little late to the "discussion" as it were, but I'm using an i-opener obtained for $50 on ebay in this capacity. Hella easy; get a replacement bios chip and even the newer 'unhackable' versions are great little terminals. Add usb ethernet, and make a 2.5"->3.5" ide cable so you can load a low-overhead version of linux (midori, m4i, etc) on the 16Mb sandisk and you're in business. I spent $100 and 4 hours total on it. Can't beat the price for a p-200 class machine with no fans, no noise, no heat, a 10" lcd, no box to hide, and can be used for web browsing/email to boot.
  • iFrame (Score:2, Informative)

    by macgyvr64 (678752)
    Use old iBook parts and run a network (wireless!) iPhoto slideshow with all those cool transitions.
  • by Hex4def6 (538820)
    This is an idea ive done in a fashion; I used a reasonably crappy 640x480 19 inch LCD-TV board, and constructed a wooden frame for it; I had the good fortune to get a bunch of LCD's of different types from a company clearance - most of them the bare lcd's and drivers.

    I have in my possesion at the moment 5 of the bare lcd's that Apple used/uses in their 22 inch cineman display's; unfortunately I haven't got the plug and play logic boards for them, so they don't work too well :). The closest I can get to th
  • a beowulf cluster of picture frames...

    Sorry, mod me down, I have karma to burn.
    • Actually, this could be a useful suggestion. A collage frame [amazon.com] has spaces for several small pictures. What you do is place that mask over an LCD monitor and program the picture frame with the coordinates of each space.
      Now, instead of just one picture on your frame, you can have many!
  • by Aldurn (187315) on Sunday March 14, 2004 @09:10PM (#8564758)
    Oddly enough, I just finished building one of my own. It's a $20 NEC laptop from eBay. I believe it's a 486/25 with a 640x480x256 display, and 4 megs of RAM. It's got an Orinoco wireless card, and that's about it.

    It runs Linux, except the kernel uses my own program as init. The program is statically compiled, and takes up about 600k. It contains cardmgr (to run PCMCIA cards), hdparm (to spin down the hard drive), ifconfig (to configure the network), udhcpcd (to configure the network as well), and my own "Picture Frame Server" program.

    At boot, the program sets the hard drive's spindown time, installs the PCMCIA card, configures the NIC, and then begins listening. I've created a simple 8-bit (overkill, I know) bytecode containing such commands as "[P]ut Pixel at [x, y]", "[C]hange VGA color [n] to [r],[g],[b]", and "Accept Raw [S]tream".

    It runs fairly quick. and needs not store ANY pictures on the frame itself, except what's on the screen. I have helper programs that convert standard pictures into a raw format that can be piped to the picture frame from any platform that can dump files to a network socket (Perl is good for that.)
  • I am trying to figure out the cheapest way to build a futuristic-looking video intercom system for a large house. What I have in mind is an LCD screen with a small speaker and webcam next to it, a microphone, and a fingerpad for a pointing device. There has to be a UI for selecting where you want to talk to etc.

    Has anybody seen any projects along these lines? I have looked and looked on the web.
  • Can anyone suggest a good place to get an LCD screen for a project like this?
  • Older notebooks are ALMOST a good option...

    You see, even though you can get an old notebook for $50 or so, the problem is the color depth. My old cheapo notebook can only do 256 colors, which makes most pictures look rather crappy. Good enough for animated GIFs I suppose, but not good for pictures of the real world.

    Anyhow, go for the cheapest notebook you can find that does 16-bit color (or better), and you just have to unhinge the LCD, and re-attach it (upsidedown, as it were). Of course, a notebook t

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre

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