Folks who know me in person know about my ongoing interest with ripping apart old laptops in order to build a digital picture frame. I’ve already built a prototype a few months ago which enabled me to experiment with a few things and find out what kind of show stoppers I could expect while building such a thing. One of my biggest issues with the old laptop I used in my prototype was that it would not pass POST (hardware boot) without having the built-in keyboard and mouse connected. This caused me some issues because of space considerations and having to work with multiple fragile ribbon cables.
I came across a posting by Christoffer JÃ¤rnÃ¥ker today while reading through my RSS feeds. He definitely was thinking outside the box when he built his version of a digital picture frame. I took the time to pull apart most pieces of the laptop I used, but when I came across the keyboard/mouse issue I mentioned previously, my solution was to include them as-is in the frame, which took up a lot of space. Well Chris took a different approach that I wish I would have thought of. Realizing he would need to have the original keyboard and mouse connected, he decided to strip the components down to their bare essence. Internally, all a keyboard is made of is a thin sheet of plastic, like a piece of cellophane. Since all the parts will be assembled in a frame and the computer will be accessed through the network, we don’t really care if the keyboard and mouse are usable, we only want the motherboard to be able to detect their presence so that the unit will boot up. So, while I was pre-occupied with ripping apart the laptop itself, I should have thought about ripping apart some of the components, such as the keyboard, in order to furthur realize some space savings, as well as make the mounting of the parts more manageable.
So, thanks to some great ideas from Chris, I’ll be working on Version 2 of my Digital Picture Frame prototype this weekend.
Update: Adrian had exactly the same issues I’m having with the software side of my frame. His posting with his solutions is here.