Wall-Mount Computing

For the past year or so, my wife and I have successfully kept all of our calendars (home, work, and kids) in Google calendar. We purchased matching phone computers, and calendering is one of the primary uses we have for the phones apart from actual calling. At work I keep an app tab open in Firefox with my calendar and it all works out pretty well.

I would like to extend our calendar system out to the kids. I want a touchscreen computer which I can mount for the older kids to see upcoming events and also see school information such as library/gym day, packing lunch which we keep in their calendar. I’d also like to be able to write a little app for them to check off their chores in the afternoon, or even leave virtual post-it notes for the family.

I have not yet found a suitable computing device which meets my needs and budget. It seems like somebody could make this kind of device pretty inexpensively because it is always plugged in: you don’t need the expensive battery setup of tablet computers. I can’t seem to find a tablet with a wall mount system, and I fear how quickly they could break something which wasn’t securely mounted.

My first choice would probably be an Android system, but any system that runs webapps and a decent browser would meet my needs. I guess I’m looking for something in the 7-12″ screen size range, and less than $500.

Do my readers have any suggestions?

Atom Feed for Comments 10 Responses to “Wall-Mount Computing”

  1. Justin Dolske Says:

    Sounds like it’ll be tough to meet all your needs. Making your own wall mount doesn’t seem like it should be that hard with some basic carpentry skills. [Or be a geek and design it in CAD/Sketchup, order it through ponoko.com!]

    Alternatively, what about a touchscreen monitor (which is likely available in a ruggedized version, for access by the public), hooked up to a standard little PC (or spare)?

    Another crazy idea: blank wall, projector, and Kinect.

  2. Nigel Says:

    Hrm, touchscreen monitor + ARM processor? The processor should fit into a very small box. I don’t know how much touch support it has though :)

  3. Paul Stone Says:

    Get one of these: http://www.raspberrypi.org/ and spend the rest on a decent touchscreen monitor. It’s small enough that you could fit it onto the back of the monitor.

  4. dave Says:

    I know touchscreens are the new hotness but I’d consider splitting the input and output parts of the equation. For similar amounts of cash you could buy a TV and a Raspberry Pi (or other cheap ARM device with network and HDMI out such as pogoplug) and then allow input from any web-connected device or even text messages for ticking off chores, leaving messages etc. However, I don’t know if I’d be happy leaving such a device on permanently though for power reasons. You could use a e-ink display instead. I’m fairly sure Google did something like this for solar powered booking calendars outside meeting rooms (it was called the Radish Project link: http://code.google.com/intl/fr/apis/gdata/articles/radish.html).

    But if you want to carry on with the touchscreen idea, then I believe there are devices from chumby that are designed for exactly this kind of interactive family noticeboard (plus weather forecasts, kitchen radio, news ticker etc.) Sony also rebranded one as the Dash. Prices start around $130 for a 7 inch touchscreen.


    Chumby seem like a cool company and I think they’re reasonably hackable (and their interesting upcoming NETV device would let you overlay such info onto your TV if that’s already part of your family life http://wiki.chumby.com/index.php/NeTV_developer_info) but from a distance a lot of their dev stuff seems to revolve around Flash. I don’t know what their web standards support is like, though the NETV is apparently webkit-based.

  5. dave Says:

    To add to my previous comment, it occurs to me that you now get touch-screen, e-ink devices such as the 6″ Nook Simple Touch that have Wi-Fi, browsers, and at least the newer e-ink Nook is Android based and (like the color one) apparently easily hackable, again at around $130.

  6. Martin "MMx" Creutziger Says:

    The ARCHOS 101 G9 is a nice Android tablet which is not too expensive – it lacks a proper wall mount though.
    You could build a “case” from acrylic glass with a proper cutout for the screen and screw that to the wall.

  7. tom jones Says:

    kindle fire (always plugged to power), custom mount and custom app (web app?) should suit you very well..

  8. Asa Dotzler Says:

    How about something like this http://www.amazon.com/Compaq-Presario-CQ1-1225-All-Desktop/dp/B0045FV8QQ/
    You could just liquid nails it onto a wall :-)

  9. Asa Dotzler Says:

    Actually, this thing looks reasonable and not as expensive. http://www.amazon.com/Shuttle-X50V2-Plus-Barebone-All-/dp/B004TJ5MT2

  10. hdhoang Says:

    ASUS 16″ all-in-one ET1611PUT costs right under $500. It doesn’t have a battery, but its screen is single-touch, and the sole review on amazon says it doesn’t support wifi-N.

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