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Electrical DIY Project: Wi-fi Screen Sharing (Need help)

  1. Dec 5, 2011 #1
    So I have a project that I'm contemplating undertaking. What I basically want is:

    A lot of the times I'm lying down on my bed and watching a show or something. Except I would rather my face be facing the ceiling than one of the walls, if that makes sense. So I'm trying to make a small device (like a tablet, except without too many input option) which has (mainly) only one function: to use a wi-fi network to display one program that is running on the computer, and output any audio also originating from that program.

    There's a few more thing I have in mind, but those are just the details and once I get started, I can easily work them in during the planning phase.

    What I need to know is:
    How would I go about programming the software on the mini-screen/pseudo-tablet?
    I mean, I'm assuming Im going to have to start off with the Linux kernel. From there on, what do I do?
    What hardware would I need?
    On my list right now (and mind you, I only decided to consider this on an hour or so back, so this is probably extremely preliminary) are:
    Wi-fi chip
    Wi-fi network setup chip

    So I know this is very premature at the moment, but I hope you guys can help me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2011 #2
    Or you could create a ceiling holder for your laptop/tablet. Start the movie and snap the laptop/tablet into the holder and enjoy. Much easier :)
  4. Dec 8, 2011 #3


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    Generally, building something like this from scratch is not a DIY-type project (even if you have extensive hardware design and integration experience). The hardware alone will also certainly cost you significantly more than buying a tablet itself (especially if you're looking to build a 'crippled' tablet).

    Software-wise, I believe that you can find freeware / cheapware Remote Desktop or VNC (or other remote desktop protocol) clients for most major tablet OSs (and definitely for full-flavoured Windows, if you're running a tablet with that). That pretty much exactly matches what you're looking for, functionality-wise.
  5. Dec 8, 2011 #4


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    I realize that you're probably looking to do this as a hobby project, but some of the discussion in the following thread (manufacturing a phone purely for blogging) also applies here--you've already got something more powerful at a cheaper price point:

    To bring in some nostalgia, as I've gotten older (and, to some extent, the money value of my time increases) I find it tougher and tougher to justify embarking on some of the projects that I would've gladly indulged in when I was younger. It may also be because I have a better idea of what's involved now than back then, and there's plenty enough stuff around the house to keep idle hands occupied.
  6. Dec 8, 2011 #5
    I'm not sure if that was supposed to be sarcastic or not :tongue:

    Yeah, I already have a tablet so it's just a hobby project.
    Why would the hardware cost me much more than a tablet? They're priced at a minimum of 800USD a piece where I'm from.
  7. Dec 8, 2011 #6


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    $800USD!? Unfortunately, if you're paying this much for a tablet, you're probably going to be paying correspondingly higher for electronic components, as well.

    What generally makes it more expensive for you to roll your own electronics is that you're not buying thousands of components and cutting deals with manufacturers or their distributors. This is true for things like PCs, even though they're mostly built from off-the-shelf components.

    That aside, the biggest cost, since neither form factors nor sizes are standardized (as far as I know--this is a selling point for various manufacturers), you're looking at doing a lot of custom work. Not just for the enclosures, but even the motherboards themselves, which you'd have to design, fabricate, and populate. Unfortunately, a large number of the components will probably be ball grid array or otherwise be extremely difficult to hand-solder (assuming you have the experience and education to do the routing necessary to make the PCB in the first place).

    Not a bad idea, but the game has changed quite significantly since the Steves (Jobs and Wozniak, of Apple fame) were able to build cutting-edge computers out of their garage.
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