Insignia Infocast chumby-powered display gets hack instructions

Jun 22, 2010
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Best Buy have thrown the Insignia Infocast internet media display up for sale, and before you dismiss the 8-inch touchscreen device as just another "smart" photo frame, take a second look.  Powered by the same software as the hack-friendly Chumby, the Infocast has been described as "a $169, 800MHz ARM Linux computer with 128 MB of DDR2, 2 GB of mass storage and an 8-inch, 800 x 600 touchscreen display" by none other than Andrew "bunnie" Huang of Chumby itself.  He's revealed some of the Infocast's hidden secrets, having had a hand in the design of the touchscreen machine itself.

He used that insider access to make sure some hack-friendly features were included.  For instance, there are clearly labelled serial port connections on the mainboard, a "mini hack port" - with GPIOs and power - together with places to solder in a 3-axis accelerometer or a digital camera module.  He also describes how to take the unit apart, how to get into the OS via ssh, and how to install a native ARM compiler along with some other programming tidbits.

So, for $169.99 you're getting a compact desktop Linux computer that, in its untinkered state can play Pandora streams, show internet photo galleries, load images from an integrated memory card reader, and run all the usual Chumby apps, or, with a little tampering, can do whatever your hacky heart desires.  Impressive stuff!


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