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dave

August 6th 2014 2:18 pm

Is it possible to use a digital photo frame to set up an always on status board?



Digital photo frames have long been considered some of the Worst Gifts Ever. Seriously, just Google "digital photo frames worst gifts" and you'll get millions of results.

However, it seems like everyone has at least one that's collecting dust on their bookshelf (and inevitably, it's not plugged in).

So, besides send these sorts of things to a landfill, is there anything useful we can do with them? I'm thinking of something that would wipe out the firmware (or repurpose the hardware) and potentially give it the ability to display some relevant information: train / bus times, weather, potential local news and traffic alerts, etc.

Basically, something similar to what the Status Board app for iOS does (but without the expensive tablet -- w're trying to repurpose old / unused hardware here!): panic.com­/statusboard/



After some quick Googling, I don't see anything that really does this. It looks like some people have had luck using Arduino or Raspberry Pi boards and building their own frames (using laptop screen replacements). I'm not opposed to this, but really I just want to use the old frame that we have.

See more here: www.instructables.com­/id­/How­-to­-Make­-a­-Raspberry­-P...

It looks like this person repurposed an old Android tablet -- I suppose that's another option though I no longer have an old Android tablet laying around.

Anyway, have you done anything like this or are interested? I'm genuinely interested in getting this working!

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4 replies
Dignan17

I just can't imagine that there are any photo frame hacker communities out there that are looking into ways to exploit those products. There's such a wide range of those pieces of junk that I'd be surprised if there was a common back end to work with.

The other problem is that as far as I can tell, the only photo frames with WiFi are ones that, at $129-199, cost more than double what most low end Android tablets run (found on Amazon for $50-70).

I'm not even advocating going with those tablets. I've used a couple of those types of devices and they're complete junk. I'd just get one of those over the frame.

Take the frame to a responsible electronics recycler so at least we'll keep the parts out of the landfill.
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dave

Yeah, I actually didn't even consider the WiFi aspect. Derp.

I'm thinking this is probably the way I'll eventually go. Just get some ridiculously cheap tablet, leave it plugged in, build some responsive web page using something like Bootstrap (getbootstrap.com/) and use various public APIs to display the data I need (and automagically refresh it).

If I find time to do this, I'll have to write it up!
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mrtiro

The most universal way that I can think of would be to use a WiFi-enabled SD card. The one from transcend seems to be very hackable, with an accessible linux system on board. Then you can write scripts to be executed either on board the sd card or on another computer on the network to render pictures with the desired information, which the frame would display. If I remember correctly, there are already scripts to do this for devices like the kindle and nook.
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GarthBock

I have been using a Kodak W1020 to display weather information for the past couple of years. I also have a HiSense Sera 7 Pro that can do the same thing. The Kodak wifi frames probably could be hacked but I am thinking that a cheap tablet from say www.ahappydeal.com would be the better choice. Oh and I get the Kodak frames (10") off of eBay for between $50 and $75. Anything higher than that is a rip off. You can do what you are thinking of by using a Raspberry Pi and software from www.binaryemotions.com­/raspberry­-digital­-signage/ .
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