An idea for a 'next project' for the Pyra team?


Grench

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Yes, they need to finish up the Pyra first.  But once that goes into production, why stop there?

I have this idea...

I was in on the Kickstarter for the InkCase.  Nice screen, so far worthless without much application support.  It feels like half a product.

So, what would make this product perfect?

Take a low power ~3" e-ink type paper white screen.  Add bluetooth audio/mic with a proper amplifier and headphone jack.  Add a touch layer and a vibration motor.  It would need the bare minimum SoC to make the parts run.  Give it enough battery to run 4-5 days.

Set up a protocol for it to be a 2nd bluetooth screen on the Pyra.  Refresh it four times per second when in active use, once per minute when not.  Note - the Pyra is doing all of the processing.

What it amounts to is a smallish bluetooth smart phone handset for a large smart phone (computer) device.  Since the touch screen tells the Pyra what to do, contact lists, emails, etc.. would all be accessible and can be viewed in glorious black and white - grey scale?

How would it be used?

To look up information quickly with the Pyra on it's charger or tucked into a bag.

To monitor processes running on or connected to the Pyra.

As a Pyra media remote - with the Pyra tucked safely into it's dock on the entertainment console.

As a phone handset.  Leave the Pyra parked on it's dock/charger while you're bouncing around the house chatting on a super low power 'phone'.  (Not a phone really...)

As an audio player.

As a 2nd touch screen game controller.

For notifications.

The InkCase screen is very cool - but it's just a screen, and it's use is very limited.  Their idea was limited to a 2nd low power screen that sits in a flip cover on a smartphone.  Lack of OS support for it results in it only being able to see specific applications.

Would the result have to be limited to working with the Pyra?  Maybe.  Since it would need to connect, view and interact at the OS level to see the screen display and screen scrape and input touch screen data, I don't know that Android or iOS give apps that level of interaction.  

Since I don't think this would work on other devices (Pyra specific) and it would be incapable of stand alone operation, I put it in the Pyra General discussion instead of 'Other Consoles'.

Any thoughts?  Stupid idea or genius?
 

WizardStan

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I had the same idea. I've been trying to source small e-ink displays with an open standard connection but I didn't get very far.
 

levi

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If the segment appears to have legs, an open source smartwatch might be an interesting form factor to aim for. An e-ink screen might be worthwhile for power consumption reasons, or a full-colour transflexive LCD screen with a timed backlight might be more saleable, I dunno - it's not really a device format that has interested me much so far, although perhaps a lot of that has to do with it being tied into an existing device ecosystem that I'm not part of.


On the other hand, it's a bit of a stretch for the community here, which is mostly focussed on gaming. You could tie it in to the dbus system notification area, so it displays messages from compatible software that way, or the time otherwise, so that it immediately has use to anyone using graphical Linux.


In my opinion it's certainly worth doing investigations now within the community, if not something for ED and his team to be concerned with right now. But it's too early to spend significant moneys on, since in my view at least the wider market hasn't decided whether these devices will sell in significant numbers. Despite the pebble, and the devices from Samsung and others, I've still never seen anyone using one in the wild.


As for a case screen, that's seen even less commercial support so far. Fine for a hack project I guess, but not something people can make worthwhile money off, I'd expect.
 
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Glyph Reader

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I really like this idea, Grench.  Since this device would be smaller and have less weight then the Pyra, it would be easier to use for such quick tasks. 

On the other hand, it's a bit of a stretch for the community here, which is mostly focussed on gaming. You could tie it in to the dbus system notification area, so it displays messages from compatible software that way, or the time otherwise, so that it immediately has use to anyone using graphical Linux.
I could also see this idea as a great companion device for a laptop or even a desktop, with its functionality. 

-Glyph Reader
 

Wrath Of Khan

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If someone made a device that worked with the pyra, I might bite. Even some kind of limited run homebrew hardware.

There is lot's of stuff still being made for Amiga systems to this day, unbelieveably; so nothings beyond the realm of possibility.
 

Urben

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Nah.

If the technology comes, we need a displaymod for the pyra. One that can switch between epaper and lcd.

Like these from Pixel Qi. Just up to date. The mod thing is way less expensive for everyone other than a full cased and redesigned device.

Pixel_Qi_Sonneneinstrahlung.jpg
 

comradekingu

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Good idea, but i think it can be done without the mic/audio too.

These would be my use-cases, in order of relevance.

* Media functions with screen.  Killer feature.  The headphone cable is never moved, so it isnt in the way.

* Reaching for your pocket and grabbing a clamshell to tell time isnt sleek. Unless the pyra takes form of a pocketwatch. ;)

* Enough light so that i can get my key into a keyhole even when no other light is to be found. Feeling around is suboptimal, and requires two hands.

* Email notifications

* A trackpad mouse with buttons for when doing presentations with the pyra.

* Easy access to pinouts when soldering at work/Notes that ive taken.

* An alarm/reminder that doesnt require getting out the phone only to put it back in my pocket. Would be sweet with a rumble motor here.

* Making low-fi music with the rumble motor and holding it towards a glass pane window.

* Haptic feedback on the wrist when playing games, could also be used for a way of notifing the wearer of other events while playing games fullscreen non-windowed.

* Displaying pixelart/animations.

* Reading SMS-messages

I would want the battery to last and last. Dont mind carrying a big battery on my wrist.
 
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___

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very cool idea! Email notifications/missed calls and all that would be great this way, as I have to have my phone in silent mode all the time. also i could access important data like contact lists, technical riders etc while running around stage/backstage which is sometimes tedious to do on my smartphone.


having pinouts and manuals on a seperate screen is also very cool, i do that regularly with a tablet when soldering and modding a console.


many more reasons I would love a wrist appliance like that, which you can easily write your own scripts for. doesn't need to be in watch format.
 

mrpalmtop

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I'd love to see a mini version of the tablet/laptop convertible idea and do it with a smartphone/palmtop.


I know there's that other convertible thing that was posted on here but it wasn't realistic since they also tried to make it be a laptop.


If we had interchangeable bottom halves you could have one with a full keyboard, one with a Pandora style gaming keyboard and another with just gaming controls.
 

Grench

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I had the same idea. I've been trying to source small e-ink displays with an open standard connection but I didn't get very far.
It looks like Oaxis is getting their displays for the InkCase Plus from E Ink.

http://www.eink.com/index.html

I don't know how 'standard' or 'open' their connections are - but apparently they sell them in a 'modules' format?

http://www.eink.com/modules.html

But they don't list the 3.5" screen used in the InkCase on the Pearl line - though I understand from other pages that it's a 3.5" E Ink Pearl screen in 300x600 (adequate for it's purpose).

http://www.eink.com/display_products_pearl.html

Ideally this should be the same as the Pyra's resolution (1280x720) in a 5" form factor OR a fractional multiple of the Pyra's display - so 640x360 in a ~3.5 form factor?

I hadn't envisioned this in use as a wrist-mounted interface, but why not?  Mount a 3.5" version to your forearm and use it in landscape mode with the headset wires running up your arm under the shirt sleeve?  It could double as the worlds largest wrist watch - giant watches are -in-, or so it seems.  My InkCase Plus by itself is thinner than my wristwatch (Seiko Flight Solar) and only about twice the width.

It would be hilarious to then plug it into a charger - it would look like an IV line.
 

Saber

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What it amounts to is a smallish bluetooth smart phone handset for a large smart phone (computer) device.  Since the touch screen tells the Pyra what to do, contact lists, emails, etc.. would all be accessible and can be viewed in glorious black and white - grey scale?

How would it be used?

To look up information quickly with the Pyra on it's charger or tucked into a bag.

To monitor processes running on or connected to the Pyra.

As a Pyra media remote - with the Pyra tucked safely into it's dock on the entertainment console.

As a phone handset.  Leave the Pyra parked on it's dock/charger while you're bouncing around the house chatting on a super low power 'phone'.  (Not a phone really...)

As an audio player.

As a 2nd touch screen game controller.

For notifications.
This comment isn't meant to be disparaging but I honestly wonder why the person wouldn't just walk over to their Pyra, or reach into their bag, and flip the screen open to view the information unabridged in glorious, full-color 720p? Feels strange is all to make a companion handheld for another handheld.   
 

Neelix

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Interesting idea... 

While I could not see myself using the Pyra itself as a phone,  if there was such a "handset"  supported by decent phone software on the pyra designed use the handset as it's primary interface, perhaps I wouldn't need a separate phone...

It would need to already have mature software and known good QoS before I could see myself purchasing one for that purpose though.

That being said,  being able to use it as a trackpad mouse for the Pyra is an interesting idea too. :)

- Neelix
 

klapse

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To look up information quickly with the Pyra on it's charger or tucked into a bag.

To monitor processes running on or connected to the Pyra.

As a Pyra media remote - with the Pyra tucked safely into it's dock on the entertainment console.

As a phone handset.  Leave the Pyra parked on it's dock/charger while you're bouncing around the house chatting on a super low power 'phone'.  (Not a phone really...)

As an audio player.

As a 2nd touch screen game controller.

For notifications.
This comment isn't meant to be disparaging but I honestly wonder why the person wouldn't just walk over to their Pyra, or reach into their bag, and flip the screen open to view the information unabridged in glorious, full-color 720p? Feels strange is all to make a companion handheld for another handheld.   
I have to agree with Saber here.  Just about the only use I might be interested in would be to use it as a media remote, while the pyra is plugged in to the TV/Hifi, but for that use case I'd probably prefer some kind of Bluetooth HID controller.
 
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EvilDragon

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Hmm, not sure I'll do something like that... be I already have plenty of ideas I'd like to come to fruition at some time...

1. New games for classic consoles:

I know they are available - but expensive (often 40 USD), as they use donor cartridges.

Thanks to the Everdrives, I already have shells. The PCB is simple, and I'm already working on packaging for the Everdrives as well - so except for the PCB, everything exists.

I think I'll be able to produce fully packaged SNES / MegaDrive / etc. games for 15 EUR, with brand new components.

That's something I'm working on (I also want to hold competitions for these games) and will produce the carts on-demand when someone orders.

Additionally, if some coder wants to release his game with a few hundred or thousand copies, I could offer that production service as well.

2. Something like the Retron5:

I think the Retron5 was a great idea, but build quality and the GPL violation as well as being a closed system hurt it.

I'm already producing the Retrode2 (which works fine with a Pandora), so we got a cart reader for classic carts.

Then we got the Pyra CPU PCB which is pluggable.

My idea: Make an enhanced version with the Retrode2 (with more slots), combine that with the pluggable Pyra PCB and put into a neat case (with classic controller ports, USB ports, HDMI out).

Basically, that thing could be used as a desktop version of the Pyra, to play or dump original cartridges and play emulators or other games - and it could run off battery, so would be pretty portable as well.

We already have all that, we just need to combine it :)
 

Saber

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To look up information quickly with the Pyra on it's charger or tucked into a bag.

To monitor processes running on or connected to the Pyra.

As a Pyra media remote - with the Pyra tucked safely into it's dock on the entertainment console.

As a phone handset.  Leave the Pyra parked on it's dock/charger while you're bouncing around the house chatting on a super low power 'phone'.  (Not a phone really...)

As an audio player.

As a 2nd touch screen game controller.

For notifications.
This comment isn't meant to be disparaging but I honestly wonder why the person wouldn't just walk over to their Pyra, or reach into their bag, and flip the screen open to view the information unabridged in glorious, full-color 720p? Feels strange is all to make a companion handheld for another handheld.   
I have to agree with Saber here.  Just about the only use I might be interested in would be to use it as a media remote, while the pyra is plugged in to the TV/Hifi, but for that use case I'd probably prefer some kind of Bluetooth HID controller.
I wouldn't need such a device myself but I'd be happy for others if it's brought into existence at low cost.

What I would positively gush over for though is a bluetooth/usb game controller with a qwerty keyboard modeled after the Pyra's lower half. Phone attachability not necessarily a requirement.   

Hmm, not sure I'll do something like that... be I already have plenty of ideas I'd like to come to fruition at some time...

1. New games for classic consoles:

I know they are available - but expensive (often 40 USD), as they use donor cartridges.

Thanks to the Everdrives, I already have shells. The PCB is simple, and I'm already working on packaging for the Everdrives as well - so except for the PCB, everything exists.

I think I'll be able to produce fully packaged SNES / MegaDrive / etc. games for 15 EUR, with brand new components.

That's something I'm working on (I also want to hold competitions for these games) and will produce the carts on-demand when someone orders.

Additionally, if some coder wants to release his game with a few hundred or thousand copies, I could offer that production service as well.

2. Something like the Retron5:

I think the Retron5 was a great idea, but build quality and the GPL violation as well as being a closed system hurt it.

I'm already producing the Retrode2 (which works fine with a Pandora), so we got a cart reader for classic carts.

Then we got the Pyra CPU PCB which is pluggable.

My idea: Make an enhanced version with the Retrode2 (with more slots), combine that with the pluggable Pyra PCB and put into a neat case (with classic controller ports, USB ports, HDMI out).

Basically, that thing could be used as a desktop version of the Pyra, to play or dump original cartridges and play emulators or other games - and it could run off battery, so would be pretty portable as well.

We already have all that, we just need to combine it :)
Nice plans.  :)
 
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levi

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I wonder if producing a system that is designed to dump ROMs might be more risky in terms of pissing off CC processors and the likes. While you can do that with the Retrode, I see it's primary use as enabling you to run the original carts through the latest emulators. That in order to be able to do that, I can easily copy the contents of the cart onto another drive is a happy accident as I see it ;)


I'd love for you to get stock of DC homebrew back in. I only found out what Wind and Water Puzzles was after you sold out of it, and I tried to order a copy of Sturmwind a few months back, but was defeated by their payment system so gave up.
 
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ible

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With the case design, IIRC someone mentioned having an e-ink case, so that everybody could put their own favorite Pyra logo on it ;)

Also for notifications, or whatever.

That sounded pretty cool to me, but it would be hard to integrate with the Pyra as a gaming platform, as mentioned here.  The player would be getting screen whiplash if trying to look at both (also if the E-ink was on a watch).  

I like the idea of e-ink, for great battery life when writing (a la the Hemmingway), perhaps as some secondary notification screen without being behind the main screen -- i.e. E-ink to one side of the main screen.  That might be some sort of split-screen laptop.  Not sure the market for those is very big, though!  (Then again, if this can raise that much money, I'm not sure I'm the best judge of that.)
 

Christoph.Krn

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Hmm, not sure I'll do something like that... be I already have plenty of ideas I'd like to come to fruition at some time...

1. New games for classic consoles:

[...]

2. Something like the Retron5:

[...]
I have another suggestion, how about a hardware CRT emulator?
With all the new extreme resolution TVs and monitors, proper CRT emulation should be becoming feasible (meaning the actual simulation of how a CRT displays an image):

What we need is a CRT Emulator, that takes the pixel data [...], and emulates everything from the transmission of signal from the console to the TV, to how the TV actually displays the signal, [...]
Source: http://omega-glory.net/2012/2/12/CRT-TV-Screen-Emulation/
If such a thing was available as a hardware box to hook inbetween an arbitrary video connection, then it could be used to connect old consoles to modern TVs, for instance. (Bonus points from me if the hardware box gets the Nintendo Gamecube to activate 3D output.)

You have experience with the production of electronics AND experience with video stuff from all the Gepixelt, so I'd like to hear what you think about this.
 
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