This build has been a great experience for me; I have been able to create a product that my son can use, and is a great way for my son to carry his media around for playing via a TV.
It's main place of residence is in his bedroom, attached to a HDMI projector for displaying that blasted Peppa Pig on his ceiling, ha ha!
I would like to make some changes to the design, and create a new version of the device to be a permanent fixture in his room, along with the projector. Here's some changes I am planning - please comment if you have any more suggestions!
One of my main issues with Version one had to be portable power; slow to charge, constant powering issues, Pi brownouts, powerboost explosions, you name it ha ha!
The device will be installed near sockets so either a 12v DC barrel connection would simplify my power needs; all I would need is a step down regulator to 5V.
Less Arcade Buttons, more Touchy Touchy!
When i first came up with the plans for this project it centred round a non-touch screen and required the buttons to control and navigate. With my success with the FDI ELI Design Challenge the build now features a 7" Touch Screen, which I would like to make more use of.
I propose to keep 4 of the 9 arcade buttons in the build, but move them to the top panel either side of the HDMI out. I will use them for changing programs, triggering defaults etc.
With less buttons in more manageable places and the lack of batteries I would like to see if I can reduce the footprint of the enclosure. This will make the device a bit more discreet if wallmounted/mounted to his drawers.
With a permanent fixing in my boy's room I would like to explore a bit of automation; controlling lights, his fishtank (and a potential feeder), and more in the future.
To do so I would like to incorporate an external connection for some of the GPIO pins (think i2c and suchlike) in order to connect multiple devices to it. This tought needs some work :-)
My Son is going to be receiving an Android tablet as a Christmas gift and it would be great if this box could provide some entertainment value on the tablet.
I am looking at the Python Tornado library to act as a Webserver. I would like to serve two pages; a kid's page, with links to all the kiddy content (one page for videos, one for playing with lights, one for triggering patterns for the projector etc) and an Adult's page for setting timers & parameters; shutdown timers at bed time, control for the fish feeder etc.
The web based feature is something i wanted to use in V1 but I never got around to doing it.
It would also be great to have a default state with things like the time, the weather, room temps and suchlike on it for when it isn't being used with the projector.
Split GUI/Video output
In an ideal world this device would have two Pi's - one for playing the video content and one for powering the onboard touchscreen. That way, when connected to a projector the media could go to the projector but the touchscreen remain displaying the GUI.
I may actually experiment with adding a Pi A+ into the mix and explore how that could work (the GUI pi would need to pass instructions to the Video Playing Pi when connected to the projector, or be able to play them themselves when not...). Hmmmm - help required with this one!
I will add more ideas as/when they come to me. In the meantime your input would be greatly appreciated.
Once this Version has enough momentum I will create it a Project page for it :-)