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What things can I do with a PrototypeC?

blog-carlesmateo-com-phpstorm-prototype-cThe models we are working now are Raspberry Pi 2. A Raspberry Pi 2 is a small computer, with a 4 cores processor 900 Mhz, 1 GB Ram.

It runs Linux, so basically everything that has been ported to Debian for ARM v.7 is available.

We have configured a Debian Linux that runs LXDE, and these are some things we have done:

  • Browse Internet, with GUI epiphany browser
  • Browse Internet, with lynx text-command browser
  • Download repos with git
  • Program PHP with PhpStorm
  • Program with vi, emacs…
  • Connect to a VPN
  • Connect via ssh to other servers
  • Use VNC client to connect to other servers
  • Use VNC in Linux, to control it from other computers
  • Run c-client, a secure messenger
  • Run Java
  • Run Python
  • Run Perl
  • Run PHP
  • Install Apache and serve pages
  • Install PHP, link to Apache Web Server
  • Install ssh Server
  • Install packages like htop, ncdu, iotop, iftop, mc
  • Connect a USB webcam and view it with xawtv

Use multiple sessions, from different mobiles, at the same time, with a single C device.

The prototype-c connected to a USB webcam (mounted on a coffe glass), the iPhone 4 being charged from the same power source than the Pi and diplaying the Linux LXDE and the webcam in a small window

Control It

How can you control it?.

We have been working of some prototypes with external screens, HDMI based, using the Pi internal GPIO… and will continue working in this line too if we have fundings and investments.

But right now we have developed a very cool way to control the C without adding more weight or using more energy… using something you always wear with you… your smartphone.

Controlling the Prototype C with a keyboard + touch, and programming PHP with PHPStorm
Controlling the Prototype C with a keyboard + touch, and programming PHP with PHPStorm

You can view the prototype C screen from your smartphone as if it was a monitor, and control it from the smartphone too or via an external keyboard (usb or bluetooth).

The ability to zoom in and zoom out from the smartphone make it very handy and easy to use, and the optional addition of the external bluetooth keyboard (100 g) adds the ability to even program from everywhere easily.

If we get investment the solutions will be improved more.

I wear with me always a laptop of 1,7 Kilogram, and joke with my friends about I started to go to the gym to be able to take the laptop everywhere with me with no effort. Some of my friends suffer from the back, I organize hackatons and some times we improvise them and there is always people that can’t program because they don’t bring the (heavy) laptop.

Prototype C is lightweight enough so everyone can wear it in a pocket and use it if needed. And as the computer is shutdown until used, the battery remains powerful for many days without charge.

The battery is a standard USB for smartphone power bank, so if your smartphone’s internal battery gets depleted you can use the C’s powerbank.

The batteries I’ve tested allow to use the battery while is being recharged, so just plug and you can even work with your friends without worrying lasting without energy, and leave with the battery fully charged.

What is prototype C ?

What is prototype C?

C is a Ultra-lightweight ultra-tiny personal computer, with a battery that lasts for hours running.

The idea is to use multiple common components so anybody can create a DIY unique Personal Computer equipped with Linux that you can bring anywhere.

This solves many needs:

  • Possibility to communicate with privacy (yes, you can’t trust the mobile manufacturers)
  • Have a Linux everywhere with you (basic weights 162 grams)
  • Have a ultra-cheap portable Linux computer (from 69 € / USD $74.5 / 49.8 GBP)
  • Have a X-Windows Linux, and run python applications
  • Program your own applications
  • Attach hardware, like pressure/temperature/humidity/altitude sensors, a 3D object detector or a webcam, servo, solar panel charger, gas sensor, distance sensor…
  • Do your own projects, like attaching a camera and taking one picture per second and uploading to the net, installing it on the car, or creating wearables
  • Send info to the Internet, continuously, from where you go
  • Listen music for hours while you do sport
  • Be the minimum tool that guardian operators have always with them, so if they there is a problem in production, they can fix everything from their 100% Linux capable C (ssh, vpn, browser…)
  • For third-world and places without energy I can thing in many ideas to implement.

The basic prototype uses:

  1. Raspberrypi2
  2. Battery pack (also known as Powerbank) of 2000 mAh
  3. Cable for connecting both
  4. Debian Jessie with some configs

We also experiment with touch-screen integrations (Ubuntu 14.10 for ARM with Chromium browser):

prototypec-com-monitor-touchscreen-raspberrypi2-integratedIn Carles’ blog you can find a detailed article about how to DIY.