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Old 10-18-2010, 11:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

Building my own Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal
Hey group...thanks in advance for the help!

I'm trying to design a simple 23" touchscreen kiosk that only needs to work as a web portal. I am comfortable with the cabinet design but need help with the internal hardware needed to run internet on a touchscreen monitor.

Requirements:
1.) 23" Touchscreen
2.) The ability to run a web browser (Safari or Firefox or IE)
3.) The ability to connect wirelessly to a wi-fi network for internet access
4.) The ability to hook wirelessly to a cellular network for internet access (via a USB modem from Verizon or other carrier)

There is no need for a keyboard or mouse.

It would be so great if there were a 23" tablet (like a 23" iPad or Android tablet) available since that would provide all of the requirements above and it would be easy...but none exist.

I know that I can simply buy a cheap desktop computer and hook it up to a 23" touchscreen monitor. I also know that there are some really nice 23" ALL-IN-ONE touchscreen computers (like the HP TouchSmart series) but I wonder if there is a much cheaper option since I really don't need a hard drive or much/any computing power to simply run the internet. But I don't understand what type of "computing power" or devices are needed to run the touchscreen monitor.

Is there a simple way to buy a few separate components (or smaller assembled solution) and hook it up to an off-shelf touchscreen monitor that would be cheaper than buying an actual computer? If so what do I need to configure the system?

Thanks for the help!!
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

*Technically* you could build a touch screen yourself. There are several ways to do this (e.g. infrared camera, standard webcam, capacitive overlay, etc) but all of them would require a software package on the target machine as well as quite a bit of technical know-how on your part. So your best bet would probably be to buy a pre-assembled touchscreen.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

Thanks! But I am not looking to build the touchscreen. There are plenty available off-shelf. What I am trying to build rather is a Web Portal Kiosk. The kind you find in a mall that has a simple computer running a touchscreen that is connected to the internet. No webcam needed, no infrared, and I don't need to build the actual touchscreen with a resistive or capacitive overlay....since I would just buy an existing touchscreen. It is the hardware that runs the touchscreen I am clueless about!

Here is a fine 23" touchscreen: Acer T230H 23" LCD Touchscreen Monitor ET.VT0HP.001 - B&H

THe question is...how do I take this touchscreen and make an internet kiosk with it. Do I need to buy an actual computer to just run the internet (and touchscreen drivers)...r is there a simpler solution since I probably don't need a true computer (with hard drive and all) just to run an internet browser.

Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

Ah my bad, thought you were saying the touchscreen cost too much.

If you wanted to turn that into an internet kiosk, you'll need to connect it to a computer. Doesn't have to be expensive at all though. Grab something like this:
Newegg.com - Foxconn 45CSX Intel Atom 330 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Grab yourself a cheap PSU to go with it, and a wireless card if you want wireless, and you're pretty much set.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

WOW....that is cheap. So I grab a power distribution unit that will power the Foxconn motherboard and place it in an off-shelf enclosure.

But if there is no hard drive where does the operating system get loaded? I am assuming the touchscreen will need drivers installed and the web browsers will also need to be loaded....does that require a hard drive or can programs and drivers be loaded straight to the motherboard?

If I just need a web browser do I need an operating system? If so, would I need one as expensive as Windows 7?

Thanks for the assistance!
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

Yeah you'll need a hard drive and operating system too. A simple small hdd will more than suffice though, a 160Gb one should only run you $30.
You don't need as expensive an OS as windows 7, but the OS you decide to get should be compatible with the touchscreen drivers taht come with the screen you're getting (worth ringing them and checking IMO).

And yeah, just grab a cheap 200W PSU from newegg as well and put all that on a shelf inside the kiosk (secure it obviously, don't want someone knocking the kiosk and bumping the parts inside off )
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

So it seems that I will be in the hole around $500 to $600 when all if finished (touchscreen monitor, PSU, motherboard, hard drive, OS)...with a few headaches from possible compatibility issues and other stuff that may come up.

It looks like I can get a good off-shelf touchscreen "All-in-one" computer for around $800 - $1,200. Something like: ASUS EeeTop PC ET2203T Desktop Computer Review - PCWorld

I won't need the blue-ray player and other components that come with it but it might be much easier for me to just buy the already configured, already working all-in-one and just mount it to the cabinet.....instant kiosk!

What do you think?
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

So I spoke to a friend who says you are right...that I can actually make a fine computer for around $210 with the components you suggested...that means with monitor it would all be less than $500!!

He also recommended some packaged net top or media computers...these options look cheap and easy for around $300 to $400:

Inspiron Zino HD Desktop Details | Dell

Newegg.com - ASUS Eee Box EB1006-W-111-5002 Intel Atom N270(1.60GHz) 1GB DDR2 160GB ATI Radeon HD 4530 Windows XP Home


Thanks again for your help!
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

Course I'm right

and yeah, either of those two links you posted will also do fine.

In the end, what you decide to do comes down to:
1. How much do you want to spend
2. How much work are you willing to put into this

You can get the prebuilt, it'll be dead easy but cost you a little more.
You can buy parts yourself and put them together, more work but cheaper.


For you, I'd probably say go with the prebuilt option. If you don't have a lot of experience, then a strange project like this isn't a good place to start
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building a Touchscreen Kiosk to run a web portal

Well, you could build a cheap PC. I chose this motherboard because it is small and has a dual-core atom (low power) and Nvidia's ION, which will help if you want a 23" flat panel.
Newegg.com - Once You Know, You Newegg

Or, You could get one pre-built.
Newegg.com - Zotac ZBOX HD-ID11-U Intel Atom D510 NM10 Chipset 1 x 200Pin Next-Gen NVIDIA ION GPU Mini / Booksize Barebone System
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