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John writes in -

I picked up some of these Point of Sale Touchscreen Systems on the cheap, so I set one up to boot into PBSKids.Org in a captive Firefox window (full screen, no menus). The kids are 3 years old, and 18 months old, and they love to click around. PBS Kids.Org is surprisingly touchscreen friendly, but if they manage to get stuck, I can VNC in and take over.

The system specs:
Pentium III 700
256 MB RAM
ELO Touchscreen (Embedded, with serial interface)
128 GB HD

What a great project – perhaps more sites will make their sites like this and easily roll out kiosk/appliance versions for kids.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Fooley says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong (I’ve seen other kiosk/POS systems that were also overkill), but this has a 128 GB hard drive?

  2. mikeymckay says:

    John – where did you get the cheap POS device? I work on a project in Africa that uses touchscreen computers for HIV treatment and other health related projects. We are always looking for low cost hardware. Please get in touch: http://www.baobabhealth.org

  3. mikeymckay says:

    John – where did you get the cheap POS device? I work on a project in Africa that uses touchscreen computers for HIV treatment and other health related projects. We are always looking for low cost hardware. Please get in touch: http://www.baobabhealth.org

  4. tomcollins says:

    I’d love to put together a similar setup at home. What did you have to do to get the system to automatically startup Firefox in captive mode? Are there any resources or instructions out there that would recommend following? Thanks, and great project!

  5. Daenris says:

    I’d also like to know how much you got the unit for. I’ve seen them on eBay, but the ones I’ve watched haven’t gone cheap.

  6. JohnCabrer says:

    Setting up a captive firefox install from boot:
    1. Set PBSKIDS.ORG as the default URL for the browser.
    2. Create a Firefox shortcut and drop it in the startup folder.
    3. Install Firefox Full Screen Extension from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4650

    Regarding the 128GB Hard Drive, that’s what I put in it. The original one was 6GB. The extra space stores Wiggles, Barney, Baby Einstein, and BooBah videos.

    As for acquiring POS devices cheap, I got 7 of these at the Chino Hills Swap Meet (3rd Saturday of each month at Chino Hills High School). You will hate me when I tell you that they were only $20.00 each, and I didn’t buy the entire lot.

    Another source for touch screens is Goodwill of Orange County. They recently upgraded their cash registers, and sold off all their ELO touchscreens. They were priced between $100 and $200. I picked up a couple of those as well.

  7. Daenris says:

    You’re right… I hate you :)

    $20 is pretty crazy for any touchscreen, let alone a full touchscreen computer.

  8. JohnCabrer says:

    Just spotted 4 ELO touchscreens on eBay for $129 ea.

    Not a bad price, if anyone is interested.

  9. fxsaucedo says:

    Textbook example of excellent technical problem solving skill combined with poor technical writing.

    In the description:
    “Point of Sale Touchscreen Systems”.

    “Systems” generally refers to more than just a screen.
    “Touchscreen” implies a video screen only.

    Elo has two product lines called Touchscreens and Touchcomputers; so did this genius use a Pentium III 700 pc with a touchscreen or a newer touchcomputer system with a Pentium III 700? Not a single clue.

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