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OpenPDA

Open-source, modular, portable computer system.

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How did you come up with the idea?

My friend Josh got me into this video game called Space Station 13, where most characters have PDAs.  I thought it would be really cool to make one :D

What are your plans?

I want to make a truly open source, useful, portable device.  I also have many other ideas about it, but I am far away from working out those...  Let's get an OS working first.

What is the difference between this and a cell phone?

Biggest question by far.  The difference is that it's modular, easily reprogrammable, and hackable.  Everything is open source.

  • An actual goal: When is this project complete???

    Dylan Brophy04/20/2019 at 00:55 0 comments

      I want to have a 'finish line' for my projects going forward.  So what should this PDA do?

      1. Be stable:  Not crashing, battery charging working well
      2. Tell Time
      3. Connect to WiFi
      4. GPS
      5. Big and bulky is fine (like TI graphing calculators)
      6. TV-b-gone
      7. Flashlight and laser
      8. Security : locked
      9. Settings to set password/locking system, brightness, and WiFi configuring

      I can always add more features later if I complete all of these.  I just want to be a bit more organized with the things that I do.

  • First working prototype!

    Dylan Brophy11/10/2018 at 01:00 0 comments

    I actually started this project about six moths ago, but my first prototype was a brutal failure.  I finally recreated my design last week and ordered parts, and I got everything working yesterday.

    The old design was not nearly as good anyway, so I am sorta glad that it didn't work. :D

    Here is my current design (no case yet), on my laptop:

    I think it looks bigger than it is.  I am really surprised about how small I made this thing.

    Alright, now down to electronics; What's in this thing?

    There are basically three parts: an ESP32, a battery, and a touchscreen.  I can also add an SD card when I want to.  As you can see, I *cleverly* held it together with tape.  NOT recommended, because the Adafruit Feather board there pushes and dents the flex cable beneath it.  This is my biggest reason for wanting to make a 3D printed case:  I don't want to break the touchscreen.

    There are two main issues with the current design:  Communication with the display is really slow, and the touchscreen coordinates are off in a nonlinear way.  In a new design I want to add a microcontroller just to control the LCD, using the 8-bit bus instead of SPI.  This would also save pins on the Feather board, which has less pins than many ESP32 boards.  I chose the Feather because the size is perfect, which for this project is very important.

    Alright, enough technical stuff, I actually have a story.  I took it to school all this week, but today was the first day it was fully working.  I would pull it out and play with it for a moment from time to time, which makes people ask questions.  This girl in my class asked about it, so I gave a brief explanation and gave it to her.  It had Adafruit's paint program running.  She played with it for almost half the two hour class, which surprised me because this is not a student who gets distracted often, and is highly intelligent.  It made me thrilled that someone took such an interest in my work, so I took a picture of her holding it with her drawing:

    I guess it says something when a person other than nerdy me takes an interest :)

    Long log, thanks for reading, have a great day!

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b3njaminpayne wrote 11/21/2018 at 15:18 point

Hi, this seems like a really interesting product and I cant wait to see it grow, but I was wondering what featherboard you were using?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dylan Brophy wrote 11/21/2018 at 15:37 point

Thank you for your interest! I am using the ESP32 feather board, but I plan on switching to a board with more pins or printing a pcb.  I ran out of pins fast.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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