Topic: Infocast as a front-end dummy terminal

I'm just reposting as it relates to this section as well.

I want use my Chumby-based Infocast8 as a front-end for my Car-puter. What I mean is I want to use the touchscreen and LCD to control the computer remotely (relay video and mouse control back and forth to the computer in the trunk.)
Originally I was looking into porting Android (any version really) on to it.  Unfortunately, porting to the device seems to be more difficult then I initially realized. So back to the drawing board.
Then I thought hey, all I really want is the touchscreen. The rest I can do with an externally with a PC over ethernet or over USB. The benefit is I'm not limited to using an embedded solution with limited RAM / Hardware.

What I would need:
  1. Linux will act as the host OS.
      - Preferably as stream-lined and stripped-down as possible.
  2. Some form of remote software such as VNC, etc..
      - Possibly lower level like bitmap and serial streaming?
  3. Any necessary tweaks to improve performance/framerates like buffers, drivers, etc...

Considering I don't plan to watch video (porn) while I'm operating my vehicle, my performance reqs are relatively low. The most time-sensitive use I can think of is GPS. Also, Audio is not needed since I can just run RCA from the PC to my AMP.

Any, suggestions where I should start? Anyone seen anything similar to what I'm describing?

Re: Infocast as a front-end dummy terminal

There are at least two people on this forum who are reworking the infocast as a carputer.  This is also my goal.

As far as a frontend, there is a person who wrote a button-mapping program so you can make a frontend to a computer and send commands. I don't think you will get GPS or any viewing of what's happening in the computer through that method though.  You'll need to be willing to learn some linux in order to get GPS. 

Read through the forum (won't take you long) and see if you can encourage the other two people to work with you or post their findings.

Re: Infocast as a front-end dummy terminal

Maybe your misunderstanding me. For all practical purposes the Infocast would act as a monitor and mouse, nothing else. The front-end graphics/buttons and menus are on the host machine in the trunk (x86 android or something.) This means vary little work needs to be done on Infocast to do this.

4 (edited by pete_c 2011-04-08 06:10:10)

Re: Infocast as a front-end dummy terminal

I don't know.  I've been playing with CarPc's now for about 10 years.  I  have two CarPC's installed in two vehicles.  They are integrated into the OEM NAV display which personally to me is just another option in my HU menu.

Today these two systems are set up to provide music, video, internet, alternate GPS, nice TTS/better VR, a tap into the car's bus for added functionality and OBDX integration.   

Over the years its been an issue of integration, visibility (sunlight), touch sensivity. 

Even if you could strip away and use just the monitor and touchscreen; how well will it work?

I mean the first "point of contact" to the system is the interface.  Without a good plug n play interface nothing else matters.

Re: Infocast as a front-end dummy terminal

If all you want to do is use the infocast as a touchscreen, you can use X11, VNC, or RDP depending on what os your computer is using. Each has their merits.  If you are using windows with a carpc centric frontend, RDP might provide you with a good experience. The problem you will likely run into is stability of the network connection. I've never gotten good reliability out of the onboard wifi, and usb ethernet adapters are really picky regarding usb hubs, and dma alignment (both the usb and networking subsystems in the linux kernel expect 32-bit aligned buffers, which can be tricky.) Right now i'm adding a usb OTG port to my infocasts in hopes that i can use the usbnet gadget driver to connect to my media server.

6 (edited by pete_c 2011-05-19 08:10:55)

Re: Infocast as a front-end dummy terminal

Thanks GA!

I had been running a Mono/SDL propietary program on the Infocast 8" Chumby.  It was extremely slow on the Lenny "bootstrap" image.  Yesterday gave both VNC and RDP a try.  RDP worked very well and the response times are much quicker than running the executable on the Infocast 8" Chumby.

I switched all of my Chumby's from the wireless to the Trendnet USB-NIC's and it works well. 

I currently have two Atom based CarPC's running an application which would probably work as well with RDP.  I tapped into the NAV systems though in my autos and the CarPC's create an Aux video/audio setting on the "bus" and it shows up in the menu of the NAV system.  I was able to "hide" the CarPC in the "storage" compartment area of my SUV running.  The NAV screens are not touch controlled so I had to map the keyboard actions to the radio knobs via bus communications.  Its a very simple and basic HU display; totally adjustable from the GUI/Radio knobs.