Our custom made SmartAPC picture & video frame

SmartAPCThis week we made a customised picture & video frame from a hybrid laptop upon special request from one of our customers. The unit was a gift for an elderly family member who lacked the technical skills of using the computer and social sites such as Facebook but still wanted to keep updated with his family photos and videos. Now his family can automatically send new videos and pictures via a smartphone or computer device and have them appear in his picture frame without having to press a button. With the SmartAPC unit we included in the follow feature:
  • Upload pictures and videos from anywhere in the world via any smart device instantly
  • Remotely controlled, WiFi, Internet
  • Automatic powers up and down at customizable times
  • Wirelessly control media
The SmartAPC turns itself on at 9am in the morning and switches itself off at 8pm at night which automatically adjusts for DST.

So how did we build this unit?

Well most of it was pretty simple, all you need is;
  • an old laptop with  a 15.4″ screen with a wireless card or dongle
  • a picture frame that can accommodate the 15.4″ screen
  • Some brackets and screws
  • A glue gun
First off you need to take separate the laptop screen bezel so you can turn around the LCD. Depending on the laptop sometimes you can just twist the screen around once its separated from the base, in other instances you may need to remove the screen bezel and back altogether. SmartAPC1Once you have the screen reversed you can now look at fixing the LCD to the back of the picture frame. This image was one our first attempt so it’s a little messy, but you can tidy this up afterwards. The back wont be seen so it’s not a major issue if it doesn’t look too tidy. Once you have the laptop in place, secure it down using a glue gun and brackets to hold the back panel in place. The brackets are particularly important if you choose to hang the unit on the wall. NOTE: Pay special attention to where the fan is on the laptop. You should really use a laptop with a side vent so that air can still pass through, or if not you could modify the back of the picture frame to suit. Finally, all that was left to do was to install the software. We used a free slideshow & video player application to view media placed in to a free Dropbox (cloud storage) account. An automatic start and shutdown app was installed and then we through in a remote desktop program in case we ever needed to look at the operating system without taking it off the wall, and a remote control program for flipping between pictures and videos for the client.

So what did we achieve from this?

A happy senior customer who gets to see his family every day, as Mastercard would say … “Priceless”. SMARTAPCOFF      

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