Wanted: An open-source, user-centered touchscreen platform
There has been a lot of excitement recently around a couple of developments in touch screen interfaces: First there was the insane presentation at TED 2006. Secondly, of course, the iPhone made everyone all hot in the pants for it's touchable goodness.
In Malawi, the NGO Baobab Health Partnership ... adapted Linux to $100 touchscreen Internet appliances, then wrote a program for Opera to run in full-screen kiosk mode. The resulting terminal can easily manage the nationâ€™s health data and is scalable wherever a web connection can be made.J. Goodman at VestalFundamentally I think that touch is intimate and intuitive, and clearly touchable interfaces have incredible potential, especially for the folks that haven't been brow-beaten into adapting to 20th-century conventions of computer interfaces like the QWERTY keyboard. (i.e., the billions of people that will be introduced to "desktop" computing the next decade. See the OLPC, just launched for reals in Uruguay.) So I'm excited about a new project at work that involves designing a web application for use with a touch screen interface. When I first heard about it from the client I was coffee-though-the-nose excited because I have been infatuated by a recent project I read about on Vestal: Malawi, Linux, & The Fight Against HIV. I knew immediately that I was going to rip off the idea. (In the best open source sense, of course.) Unfortunately the iOpener touchscreen used in the project is no longer for sale (it had a lovely $100-$200 price tag b/c it came with some money-making software -- there's a funny story about the linux hack), so I was hoping someone might have some idea about how to implement this as cheaply as possible. A few criteria:
- As open-source as possible
- Low Power
- Low CPU resources (The machine will be cheap, with flash memory, prob.)
- Beautiful (in a Platonic way
- Make a huge impact in developing world healthcare like Baobab has done.
- Collect data easily from a kiosk at a disaster area.
- Setup a database-driven check-in desk at your next nonprofit conference.
- Collect survey data remotely (anywhere in reach of the net).
- Setup a small store without an incredibly expensive, proprietary POS system.