This instructable was born from a laptop split in half, bought from a friend.
The first attempt of such a project was my Lego Digital Photo Frame, however, being an enthusiastic user of Siri and Google Now, I decided to take it to a new level, with a virtual assistant, integrated into the digital photo frame.
The whole project is made with recycled materials, which I hope will serve as inspiration for you, to do something similar.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Latop broken but functional
- Wooden strips or wooden frame to the size of the lcd screen
- Rectangular piece of wood, to hold the screen and place the supports of the mother card
- Epoxy Clay
- Utility knife
- Sanding block
- Motherboard standoff
Step 2: Taking Meassures
This is a simple step. Since we are going to create a wooden frame to hold the lcd screen, we need to measure the size of this to create the surrounding frame.
Also, this is a good time to validate if it is more economical or simple for you, buy a wooden frame that fits the measurements of your LCD. In the end, it will save you a lot of effort and work.
Step 3: Buiding the Frame
To build the frame yourself, we start by cutting some strips of wood about 5 cm longer than the length and width of the lcd to have a margin of 2.5 cm on each side.
Next, we will cut an angle of 45 degrees at each end, to have a smoother union. Use a square to align the frame, and stick them, placing masking tape to prevent it from sticking to my desk
We will check that the frame is well centered on the screen, and we will proceed to construct the lateral frame. In the same way, using a sanding block, we will create an angle of 45 degrees, on the wide side to join the edges. We will join them with glue, and we will stick this to the main frame to have depth.
Step 4: Fixing the LCD Screen and Motherboard
Now, we need to have the screen centered and supported by the edges to
prevent it from falling, so we will cut from another strip of wood some triangles, and using the sanding block, we will create a slot until we have an L-shaped piece that we will stick in each of the corners.
Now, we will measure the distance between the side frame, on the top, and cut a piece of wood, which is as wide as the motherboard, and high enough to hold between the top and bottom frames.
We must consider that the cable that connects the screen to the motherboard must pass in between, so we must cut a small piece so that it passes through there.
In my case, as this wooden support was a little short, I added a second strip of wood, in the upper and lower frame to make it firm. In this piece or wooden support, we will place the motherboard, and we will mark the holes where it was previously held to the laptop's case and carefully, we will add the motherboard standoffin the same place to fix it here.
To prevent excess heat, I added a second strip of wood to the entire side frame, thus preventing the fan of the motherboard from sticking to the wall. You may notice that the frame is not continuous to allow for better air flow. And to keep the pieces well attached, use paper clips.
By a nice coincidence, the thickness of the wooden strips was slightly thicker than the lcd screen, so this second frame, supported on the L-shaped supports, keeps the screen perfectly fixed, without exerting too much pressure. Now we will place the motherboard on top of the support, and we will screw it.
Step 5: Fixing the Wiring, Ports and Painting
Once the LCD screen and the motherboard are fixed, we will have loose the antennas of the wireless card as well as some usb ports, power buttons and maybe the charging port.
Start with the antennas, fixing them to the upper part of the motherboard support with double-sided tape. Then for the charging port, mark its position, and screw a couple of screws on the sides, being careful not to exert pressure, and not go through the support of the motherboard, and put epoxy clay between the screws and over the charging port, to have enough support to the possible pulls of the charger cable.
Depending on the computer model you use, the additional power and USB buttons you have, you can fix them in different parts of the frame or support
Now, we will proceed to paint the frame. First using masking tape and paper, I covered the lcd screen and the motherboard and using spray paint I gave at least 3 layers of paint on the front and side.
The ideal scenario would have been to paint the frame first, but as I was making adjustments and cutting and adding pieces as I went along, I did not want to disarm everything to paint. However, this would be the most advisable.
Step 6: The Software
The software was the hardest part because I wanted something really simple and functional but I'm not a programmer.
At some point I tried to use the Android x86 project, but even though it worked well, I never managed to restart the computer and it would work again. Finally I decided on Windows 10 and Cortana, since it was the easiest solution. The process of installation and configuration is quite traditional. It is only important to adjust the following parameters:
Execute the netplwiz command and deactivate the option for the user to request the user's password. In this way, when starting or restarting the computer, it will directly initiate the user's session. It is also convenient to adjust the energy parameters, so that the screen does not darken and the equipment does not enter into suspension or hibernation.
To work as a digital photo frame, we simply activate the screen saver, after a minute, choosing a folder where our photos are stored.
In my case, I backup my photos in Google Photos directly from my cell phone, so that as soon as I take a new photo, it is uploaded to the cloud, and downloaded automatically in the digital photo frame, no matter where I am.
For this, we just have to install and configure Google Drive or Google Backup And Sync on the computer, and in the Google Drive settings in your browser activate the option to create a folder with the photos of Google Photos.
Additionally, I have my music library synchronized in Google Drive, so it is downloaded and synchronized with my other computers.
Step 7: 1, 2, 3... Testing!
Now that we have everything installed and tested, it's time to perform some tests.
The configuration of cortana is quite simple. Only the assistant is activated from the control panel, and you start talking to him. The microphone that is being used to control the computer, is the one that came integrated in the screen, and that came in the same video cabling. It only sticks to the front of the frame.
Next, I include a video with the framework working, and giving orders to play music.
The cortana commands will allow you to ask for weather, to send emails or text messages to your contacts. I hope that in the future, voice recognition will improve much more, and allow more complex orders!
I hope you liked this Instructable, and if you have any comments or suggestions, you will be more than welcome!