[sf-lug] Outdoor Computing

Jesse Zbikowski embeddedlinuxguy at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 12:47:18 PDT 2009

Interesting project.

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 8:19 PM, Jim Cortez <jim at jimcortez.com
>    * need to see the screen in bright sunlight

>From a little Googling it seems the main factors here are high
brightness and high contrast.  All of the monitors I saw which are
designed for outdoor use cost $1,000+.  However I could not find any
that were monochrome only, although some had monochrome modes.
Perhaps there is some monochrome technology that can give you outdoor
visibility on the cheap.  I would recommend to ask about this on the
dorkbotsf-blabber mailing list, as there are a lot of folks there with
experience building public displays (kiosks, installations, etc).


>    * have a budget of $600 (can probably machine things like a case if
>      needed)

That's a pretty tight budget and I suspect a lot of it will go to the
screen.  From what I've heard about computers at Burning Man, you
don't have to worry too much about sand getting in the case; you can
always just blow it out with a fan or compressed air.  Hard drives
should already be sealed although you might try to find a cheap solid
state disk instead.

It's hard to make something as small and integrated as a laptop unless
you just buy one.  You may consider instead taking a stock laptop with
decent brightness, install some kind of anti-glare filter over the
screen, and build a little portable hood over it to provide shade.

Getting 5 hours of batter life may be difficult as most laptops I see
seem to run only about half that.  You might have to carry two
batteries, or get a really expensive battery with lots of cells.  A
solid state disk works toward the goal of low power consumption, but
the bright LCD works against it.  You might have to get really good at
Linux power management software too.

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