APC Boot Camp Update – Team BioGuardApp Nears Completion of Working Prototype

Updated: April 11, 2013

For those of you who have been following along with our APC Boot Camp we have good news from the team BioGuardApp, they are nearing completion on a working prototype.

The team has been working on creating an aquarium monitoring system which uses sensors to monitor the temperature of the water, which is especially important for tropical fish, and incorporated a camera, as well as light and feeding controls. On top of this they have built an app which allows owners to remotely monitor the conditions of the aquarium, adjust temperature and even feed their fish. APC servers as the brain of the system, allowing for data collection and storage as well as connection to the internet and servers which allow for the app to communicate with the system. We are looking forward to seeing the working prototype in action. Check out the images below for a sneak peak.

BGA Ecosyste,

Here is the basic structure of how their system works from the hardware to the end user control.

BGA System Components

Here is a look at the all the hardware components involved.

3D Case Design

The 3D model of the case to house the Arduino control board and APC.

Case Front

Here is the first case prototype.

Stay tuned for an introductory video which should be available soon.

APC @ Droidcon Berlin 2013

Updated: November 10, 2015

This past Sunday Droidcon Berlin 2013 (April 7th-10th) kicked off the first of 9 confirmed Droidcon 2013 events at the Kosmos Berlin in the heart of Germany´s capital city. For those unfamiliar with Droidcon, it is a developer conference and B2B market place aimed at exposing the best of Android.  Currently in its  fifth year of existence, Droidcon covers all aspects of the Android ecosystem from mobile devices, to TV, to cars, to gaming, and so much more.

Droidcon Berlin Entrance

Entrance to Droidcon Berlion 2013

This year, Droidcon Berlin 2013 added a new twist to the event with the inclusion of the start-up ecosystem to the Barcamp which ran on Monday April 8th. Christian Caldarone of VIA  was in attendance and gave a presentation entitled "Get the Manufacturing Back to Europe." His presentation focused on the tenants of our APC Boot Camp and discussed how entrepreneurs can explore open hardware platforms, such as APC, to build new connected devices with value added services, use digital fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing, to quickly and cost effectively create prototypes and leverage crowdfunding to validate their concepts and begin raising capital.

During his presentation, he was joined on stage by Friedger Muffke, one of the Droidcon Berlin team members, who showed off an APC based NFC voting station they had built for the event.

Droidcon Berlin wraps up today with Droidcon Tunis 2013 , April 26th to 28th, 2013 as the next on the list.

Here are some more images from the event.

APC Presentation

Friedger Muffke and VIA's Christian Caldarone

NFC Voting Machine (Large)

Close up of the APC based NFC voting machine created by Friedger and his team

Friedger Muffke and Christian Caldarone

Friedger and Christian on stage at Droidcon Berlin 2013

Droidcon Berlin Poster (Large)

Droidcon Berlin 2013 poster

 

APC as a Connected Client

Updated: November 10, 2015

Building on the excellent work for the Apricot image by Mike Thompson and Royal Panda, ThinPC based in India has developed their own ThinPC OS  to create connected clients using APC. ThinPC OS is an embedded OS which allows users to connect and use the programs and resources of a local or remote server.

From ThinPC We have implemented two versions of ThinPC OS for APC. Basic OS :  

The basic OS provides connectivity options to Windows & Linux Servers and allows for the configuration of the local network and server settings to be able to connect to multiple servers simultaneously. Users can also connect to VNC servers either locally or through a remote location via the Internet. There is also the ability to broadcast the server screen to multiple users, this will be especially useful in a classroom environment where a teacher's computer screen can be viewed by all students using connected APC clients.

Advance OS : 

The advance OS is based off of the Apricot distribution created by Mike Thompson and Royal Panda's work and contains additional features to the Basic OS including software for browsers, Softphone, CUPS-Printing, xpdf viewer, and notepad. Users can use a  local browser to surf the net & also connect to ERP Packages.

Connect to Server Server Profile    Windows 8

APC 8750 Rides the Bus

Updated: November 10, 2015

Owner of goEuropa, Wojciech Kulesza, has been kind enough to share how his company has utilized APC 8750 boards to create a digital signage solution for Kombus, a public transport bus operator in Poland. Read on...

Case study: passenger information, multimedia displays and Wi-Fi in public transport bus operator Kombus, Poland

Kombus is a public transport bus operator in the city of Poznan Metropolis region. With an average journey time of around 20-25 minutes ,  Kombus was looking for solutions that would make the trip duration more pleasant and at the same time more productive for its passengers. goEuropa came up with a concept to install LCD screens, connect them into a network and utilize the platform to communicate both travel and other information with passengers.

 Equipment

The digital signage platform consists of following items: - APC 8750 boards running Android OS - 22” LCD matrix with VGA output - Solid metal case with vandal proof glass - 3G router to allow internet connectivity for Mini PCs and for passengers (WiFi on board)

Use of APC 8750

APC 8750 boards were perfect for satisfying the thin client needs of the project, as they include both an Ethernet port to connect to the 3G/UMTS router as well as VGA to connect the LCD screens. Further, 12V is the same power as the LCD matrix, so one transformer was used to convert the 24V power supply that exists in public transport bus to power up all electronic devices of the digital signage platform.

APC 8750 boards were mounted inside of the solid metal case, where the LCD screen is located, allowing the whole equipment to be safely stored away from rough weather conditions and potential damage/theft.The metal case has a lock-secured opening, which is used for servicing APC without the need of removing it.

The first photo below shows the placement of APC and transformer, both attached to solid metal case, using screws. All connections are visible, including power (a jumper has been placed in order for the APC to be powered automatically), VGA, USB, Ethernet. the other photos show the LCD screen with APC installed and booting as well as the final installation on one of the buses.

goEuropa APC Installation goEuropa LCD Monitor with APC 8750 goEuropa Kombus Digital Signage Solution with APC 8750 Current use of platform

The LCD screens are in the first phase of usage, where commercial messages are displayed along with Kombus special announcements. Messages include headlines from the region, country, weather forecasts and other content. Initial feedback from passengers indicates they welcomed the solution positively, as they enjoyed watching the content and be able to browse the web while travelling with Kombus buses. They also pointed out that real-time information on their onward journey would be of great benefit.

APC Boot Camp First Meet Up

Updated: November 10, 2015
Last night was the first meet up for the APC Boot Camp participants at Yushan Ventures YSeed Coworkspace, here in Taipei. This was our chance to check in with the teams to see what progress  they have made since the kickoff weekend and for them to raise any issues they are facing. To begin the evening, we invited David Kuo, founder of WizXpand, to lead an accelerated workshop on Project Management and how to run a lean Startup, focusing on how to open up clear and effective communication within the team. The teams were taken through some exercises aimed to help teams identify what they need to do more of and what they need to eliminate from their interactions to move their project forward. The teams were very engaged and resulted in some excellent progress for all. After the workshop ended each team shared their progress with the group. It is amazing to see what they have accomplished in such a short time.

Here is David in action during the first APC Boot Camp meet up.

The next scheduled meet up is just after Chinese New Year on February 20th. Stay tuned for more details as the teams continue to build towards a working prototype.
BioGuard App team members working on their messaging.

BioGuard App team members working on their messaging.

Color Your Music

Color Your Music!

APC Boot Camp Kickoff Weekend

Updated: November 10, 2015

This past weekend was the kickoff of the APC Boot Camp as well as a two day 3D Printing Jam held at the VIA headquarters here in Taipei. Over an action packed two days a select group of about 20 programmers, engineers, UI designers and business professionals came together to develop new product ideas based on APC. The group came up with many interesting ideas ranging from web service devices, automation control hubs, and media centers to pet watching devices, robotics projects and a host of other ingenious possibilities. From the brainstorming session the group narrowed the list down to 4 and formed teams around those ideas. Late into Saturday evening and all day Sunday the teams worked tirelessly mapping out their plans, doing market research, consulting with the APC team about the technical feasibility, building a business plan, creating websites and validating their ideas. A group of experienced industry experts with a wide range of backgrounds were on hand to help mentor and advise the teams as they worked. By 5 pm on Sunday evening each team had put together a pitch to present to the audience and an esteemed panel of judges. It was a fantastic beginning to the 3 month Boot Camp and can't wait to see he progress made by the teams at our next meet up in less than two weeks. In case you are wondering just what they are building, well stay tuned....

Participants at the APC Boot Camp Kickoff Weekend and 3D Printing Jam

Participants at the APC Boot Camp Kickoff Weekend and 3D Printing Jam

White Plains Public Library Creates OPAC Terminal Based on APC

Updated: November 26, 2012
Ryan Jackson, part of the Tech team at the White Plains Public Library in New York State, was looking around for a cheap way to boot one of his dead hard drives when he came across APC and thought it would be a great fit for the library. He contacted us about receiving a unit to test and see if it would be suitable for their needs. “For our purposes here at the Library, I saw it as possibly being well suited for use as an OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog), those systems only needing to provide browser access to the Library’s online resources, primarily the catalog. Another possible use would be as a low cost express email kiosk system for public access,” said John Lolis, Manager of Information Technology, White Plains Public Library. After receiving an APC, they decided to install Mike Thompson’s bootable Raspbian Arpicot image of Linux and installed the Chromium web browser, the Google Chrome Browser for Linux, in order to provide a more robust set of features than the Midori web browser that was packaged in the Raspbian Apricot image. After locking the system down with some customized scripts, they have now deployed their APC to serve as an OPAC system “I’m confident at this point that the APC would satisfy our needs for a very low cost, low power and small footprint OPAC system,” said John Lolis. “The system board is now mounted in Mike Thompson’s clear acrylic snap-together case and it’s now prominently deployed as “Our New, Low Cost Experimental Online Catalog PC.” They are currently testing it in the library, so if you happen to stop by there be sure to check it out by the Reference Desk as you enter the lobby. To read more about their experience, click here. To read more about their work installing Raspbian, Chromium and how they locked down their system, click here.

Interview with slipperyskip and His Acero Case Mod

Updated: August 3, 2012
As some of you may have seen in the forums or over on Jeffrey Stephenson’s (slipperyskip) webpage, he has once again put his amazing case modding skills to use in creating the very first APC case mod, Acero. We had a chance to ask the master of Art Deco inspired wood-carved mods some questions in regards to his Acero build and his experiences working with APC and the Neo-ITX form factor.

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Interview: APC: Where did you get your inspiration for the Acero APC mod from? Jeffrey: I've been obsessing over the small foot-print upright tower shape lately and Acero is just a continuation of that. I went with a simple modernist design because I find that small scale doesn't suffer clutter well. Acero is supposed to be a stylized tower case with its top and front vents, button placement and acrylic side "window" features. APC: For most of your past mod work you work with Mahogany, teak or basswood, why did you select maple for this mod? Jeffrey: I have always liked the combination/contrast of black and maple and decided that this project would be where I would check that box. Birdseye maple is an exotic, difficult wood to work with and better suited for smaller projects like Acero. For the record, Acero is Italian for maple. APC: How did you enjoy working with the Neo-ITX form factor? Did it present some new opportunities for your design? Jeffrey: It is not too unfamiliar a form factor as it is just a mini-ITX board cut in half. Its biggest strength is the use of a standard I/O plate even though one wasn't available when I built Acero. Even so, I feel confident that I'll be able to re-use this Neo-ITX case for future upgraded APC boards. It is easier to justify time and costs if I know it has a life beyond the first APC product. APC: Where there any specific specs, (power consumption, fanless design, small form factor) which allowed you to do anything special with this mod? Jeffrey: The all-in-one APC board made it easier to separate the case into two parts. The decorative outer shell doesn't have any internal equipment installed onto it like fans, switches or hard drives. That allows instantaneous access to the interior and the APC board by simply pulling the cover off from the top. Not having to worry too much about cooling also let me play with the air vents in the design. It is nice to know that Acero's vent system is complete overkill even as a fanless design. APC: What do you plan on using this APC mod for? What do you think is the most appropriate use of APC within the home? Jeffrey: To be honest, it sits on a shelf next to some of my other 30+ computer projects. I have used it recently to troubleshoot my DSL modem/wireless router. For me the APC is just a toy but I think the best use of the APC is to get the next billion people on the Internet. Then they can all visit my web site. LOL APC: How long did it take you to complete the mod? Jeffrey: It took about 90 hours spread over 15 days. This is my hobby so I tend to obsess over details regardless of the time involved. The most time consuming job was fabricating the aluminum I/O plate. Trying out a new wood finishing process called French polishing also took a fair amount of time. The only power tool I use is a cordless drill. APC: What was the most satisfying part of this build for you? Jeffrey: The process was more satisfying than the end result. The journey instead of the destination sort of thing. I don't really plan projects in advance but instead just make things up as I go along. There are a lot of risks in doing that kind of thing. The improvisation and successful solving of problems along the way can be very satisfying...and addictive. APC: Do you have any plans for an upcoming project? Jeffrey: I'm working on shoehorning a computer system into a musical instrument that will end up being displayed at a major music festival later this year. APC: Thank you for your time and sharing your experience of building Acero with us and the community. We look forward to seeing more of your inspiring builds in the future!

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Be sure to check out more of Jeffrey Stephenson’s amazing work at: www.slipperyskip.com  
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