Topic: No-Interface video
I have an interesting challenge that I think some of the folks around here might be able to help me out with. It's a slightly lengthy post, but please bear with me. I’ve been struggling with a particularly technical challenge for awhile, and I recently picked up a Chumby guts because I thought it might be able to do what I need it to do.
I have been trying to make a series of video sculptures in which LCD screens are installed inside old, used wooden boxes, which are wired to play back a video upon opening the lid. To get some idea of what this might eventually look like, you can see a semi-functional prototype of the project here: http://www.aphasiac.org/video/Demonstration.mov.
Seems pretty simple, right? The problem has been with the video playback - it is essential that video plays directly upon opening the lid, from the beginning, with no intermediary interface. You can see in the prototype version (which runs on a hacked Nokia 770) about 2-3 seconds of the handheld's desktop before the video kicks in - seemingly small, but enough to kill the effect for me. It's not so much the speed of the video load that I find so problematic (I don't mind a couple of seconds of waiting), but the fact that you can see the interface - it changes the viewing experience from "this is a memory in a box" to "this is a computer in a box."
So, it’s been suggested that a Chumby might be the way to go. But my questions are this – first off, is there a way to have a reed switch directly input into the Chumby, or would I have to have the input go through an aurduino (or something like that) and be converted into a USB signal. Second, given that I’d prefer the boxes not to have any wires running in and out, does the Chumby have a sleep mode which it could into while the lid is closed to save battery live?
Once the hardware issues are sorted out, I assume I could just make a custom widget that would respond to the “open lid” signal by playing the video (in .flv form), and the “close lid” signal by going to the beginning and pausing/sleeping. Thoughts?