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Cluster social Computer - Home Office Hub

Modular hub for effective communication with colleagues

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One of the things I miss about working in a physical office is that each of my colleague is an individual. At home, all of them are somewhat "merged" in the same computer screen.

It would be better, if i could have scalable modular system, where I could dedicate every module of the hub to a specific colleague.

I came up with this "cluster computer", but with a social twist.

The power of cluster computing is harnessed to perform social tasks, and organize the massive amount of various data that is generated by social interaction with colleagues.

The cluster is based on Raspberry Pi Zero. Each pi is dedicated to a specific colleague. Their calls / emails can be automatically redirected to a dedicated PI, or they can directly reach the Pi via an internal ext. network. Each pi has a dedicated RTC, a display, and two hard drives.

Challenge to solve :

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Effective working from home requires effective socialization.

An average office worker regularly interacts and communicates with a handful of colleagues. Each colleague is an individual. In a physical office environment, the individuality is unmistakable. The human brain compartmentalizes the individual nature of each colleague, and thus optimizes itself to effectively communicate and socialize with them.

However, while working from home, the individual characteristics is blurred, as each colleague is an avatar on the computer screen. The brain slowly stops treating them as individuals, and often merge them as a single entity. This creates a massive negative impact on communication and socialization. Often, email attachments are sent to wrong colleague, or times of meeting with different colleagues are mixed up.

Solution to problem :

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Perhaps some workers can organize all these things themselves, but it would be better to have a computer to do these peripheral tasks.

Cluster computing is routinely used in engineering. Why not use it for social / communication needs ?

A cluster computer is used to separate the communication streams with different colleagues in different computational units.

Each colleague gets a dedicated "module". Each module has a dedicated RTC, a dedicated display screen, two dedicated processor cores ( to run PIM / AI softwares) , two dedicated storage units, and an unique "address" to call to.

Every email from a particular colleague is automatically forwarded to the specified module, and the attachments are stored in its own storage. These attachments will never come in touch with other modules and their storages. This way sandboxing, and data security is also established.

Every call from a particular colleague is also forwarded to the specific module. If it is a video call, it's dedicated display module is activated. 

The RTC module keeps track of time spent with individual colleague.

Various other electronics can be added as well.

Each colleague is thus associated with an unique address. The colleague does not have to know the address. Any call / mail / video conference is automatically routed to this address.

For highly trusted colleagues, I can give them such addresses so that they can prioritize themselves.

A simple UI can be used to assist with this work.

socter.FCStd

a Simple 3D drawing of the shelf i plan to put it all in

x-extension-fcstd - 57.47 kB - 07/18/2021 at 07:09

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Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 51.95 kB - 07/18/2021 at 01:44

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Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 77.86 kB - 07/18/2021 at 01:44

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  • 3D Rendering of Shelf

    Sean S Con07/18/2021 at 07:20 0 comments

    I picked up a shelf from the garbage dump.

    I will put two monitors ( = a cluster with 2 subordinate units) in the shelf.

    I quickly made a sketch.


    The top shelf will host the monitor (cyan boyes in the back of top shelf), and I will place a pair of two way mirrors in front of it.  I took the idea from Matt of DIYPERKS. ( see the tilted cyan plates in from of the top shelf)

    The Cameras will be placed in the top shelf as Matt showed (green boxes).

    On the left side of the camera, at 5 degree Tilt, there will be a e-Ink screen. On the right side will be a pair of clocks, driven by the raspberry -'s GPIO pins. (see the slightly tilted panes at both side of the camera).

    The top shelf is divided in two parts. On the divider, we have a status display (yellow pane). This will show, for example, whether both video conference streams are isolated from each other, or whether one stream is being forwarded to the other .. or all kinds of useful information.

    I still have to finalize this.

    The second shelf will have a keyboard and a mouse and a kvm switch.

    Below that, on the third shelf, we will have storage (hard drive and power bricks , blue and maroon ) -  one dedicated to each stream.

    The fourth shelf will have the raspberries themselves, one per stream.

    Finally on the 5th shelf, we will have the master raspberry connected to my router, and the LAN switch.

    This now looks a bit overkill, but it should be good.

    I have no shown the wiring in this simple sketch.

    Components are ordered, sadly not yet received.



  • A Scalable Software Stack‚Äč

    Sean S Con07/18/2021 at 01:01 0 comments

    I have been trying to find a proper framework that can work as I want it to.

    The service that comes to mind is Jitsi. It seems it has a webRTC based system that I can use : Github Link here.

    This now brings me several challenges. I am still studying Jitsi.

  • High Level Layout

    Sean S Con07/12/2021 at 03:15 0 comments

    Finished High Level Layout

    Chosen SBC : Raspberry Pi Zero

    Chosen Switch : DLink DES 1008D

    Chosen Monitors : Some Dell Monitors Laying around

    Chosen Camera : Cheap USB cam

    Chosen Microphone : In camera

    Chosen RTC : TBD

    Chosen Storage : Sandisk 64 GB

    Chosen SD Card Reader : TBD

    HDMI to DVI converter

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