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PlayStation Touch Screen for Your Linux Box 136

hebertrich writes to tell us that IBM DeveloperWorks has an interesting article about how to modify a PlayStation LCD for use as a touch screen panel for your Linux box. From the article: "Historically, the lack of friendly interfaces has been an obstacle to making Linux® a commercially viable product for end users, but with available GUIs, that's yesterday's news. What's the next step in creating an easy-to-use Linux-based product for consumers? Imagine adding a user-oriented LCD touchscreen. A touchscreen facade can make back-end Linux applications very usable in such devices as custom digital media centers (either in the home or in automobiles), DVRs and PVRs, and even control interfaces for household robots."
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PlayStation Touch Screen for Your Linux Box

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:13PM (#14205714)
    If lack of a touchscreen was holding linux back, a procedure that requires cracking something else open, cabling and soldering will not be winning you new converts or my grandmother.
    • by jacobcaz ( 91509 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:20PM (#14205758) Homepage
      If lack of a touchscreen was holding linux back, a procedure that requires cracking something else open, cabling and soldering will not be winning you new converts or my grandmother.
      Ding, ding, ding. I fail to see how adding a kludged together touch-screen would be the tipping-point in making Linux have a friendly interface. Is it cool? Yes. Is it the holy grail to making an interface user-friendly? No. That task is still up to application designers.
    • I for one Welcome our new Touchscreen enabled Linux using Grandmother overlords.

      . I've always wanted to say that :).
    • Duh...

      I don't think he was advocating that Grandma do this herself... this is something for technical nerd type people to do and sell to Grandma.

    • by plantman-the-womb-st ( 776722 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @07:23PM (#14206148)
      Things like this were best summed up by Rasterman (author of enlightenment) when he was asked if he felt linux would be "ready for the desktop". He said something to the effect of, "No, the desktop battle is over, linux didn't win. Don't waste your time trying to fight the desktop battle. Instead, put linux on people's cell phones, their toasters, on their PDAs. The future is in embedded systems. That's where linux can win." He's right. I think IBM understands this too. What things like this article do is, instead of helping a company sell something, they help a developer build something. That developer can then take a working prototype to potential investors without having to go to the trouble of finding parts distributor's and whatnot before testing their idea. They can just buy a PS1 at a junk store and strip it for parts. Once the investors give them an investment, thanks to the help of the working prototype, they can drop the big cash on custom components if need be and even buy in bulk.

      So yes, this is a huge help. Developers don't just write office software after all.
      • Well, I suppose that if one invests hundreds of man-hours into a project without seeing it take off and accepted by a huge number of people, then one might tend to generalize that all similar projects are doomed to fail.

        On the other hand, similar projects have been doing releases constantly and attracted a developer following of that the enlightenment community could only dream of.

        Please don't understand me wrong. I am not bashing rasterman or the Enlightenment project. It just seems to me that the E. proje
        • No worries, I don't take it as "raster-bashing" in any way. With regard to enlightenment, I think it's major public failing is the fact that it isn't constantly new. I've used enlightenment for years myself, but I'm always baffled when people say they don't like it due to it not having current releases. As far as window managers go, in my opinion, it hasn't needed an update in years. It's works exactly how it should. And if it's not broke, don't fix it. I think I'm one of three people on the planet th
    • Erm... I already have a touchscreen working on a Linux box.

      There's nothing to it. The screens are widely available (look on eBay) and it uses a USB interface. The driver's in the kernel already. All I had to do was to flip the X and Y axes in xorg.conf, because the driver doesn't match my model precisely.

      I've also tried it on Windows 2000, and it wasn't so easy to get working. But you knew that already!

  • by kyoko21 ( 198413 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:14PM (#14205718)
    I write articles such as the one mentioned above. I get payed to think and work on things that are eventually free.

    Man, what a job.
    • Do you also gets 'payed' for using resources like that for writing these articles ?

      "The cranky user: Macro viruses" (developerWorks, August 2002) explains the modeline option in early versions of the UNIX editor vi.

      Now that's real nice stuff that you are reading there ... reminds me of gossips about dental care from the other side hole of the "pipeline" ...
  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by setirw ( 854029 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:15PM (#14205722) Homepage
    I wonder if touchscreens such as this could function on ADC (Apple Display Connection), which integrates both DVI-I and USB into one plug... That way, a separate serial/USB cable for transmitting HID data wouldn't be necessary.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:29PM (#14205826) Homepage
      Apple's depreciated ADC because it created more inconveniences than it solved, ie. no powerbook compatibility, hence the necessity for an DVI -> ADC adaptor which you would also need if you had 2 displays. If you wanted to connect 2 non-apple displays, you needed a ADC -> DVI adaptor. If you wanted to connect a VGA display, you needed another (and somewhat rare/expensive) adaptor.

      Oh, and it created all hell if you wanted to use one of apple's (very nice) LCD panels on a PC (not to mention that the early cinema displays & DVI adaptors didn't conform to the proper DVI spec)

      And thus, I think all current-model macs ship with DVI ports instead. Creating a new ADC device would be completely pointless
      • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @08:01PM (#14206357) Homepage
        ADC also carried the power for the display. Having analog+dvi+usb+power on one connector really cut down on cable clutter. Even Apple's 17" CRT was powered by the ADC connector!

        But it was hell for the graphics card! Apple had to add a card edge power and usb connector just past the end of the AGP connector on its graphics cards, meaning not only did they have to have their own firmware and video connector for the ATI and NVIDIA cards they used, but also their own special printed circuit board to route the power and USB to the ADC connector as well. BTW, the ADC->VGA adaptors were pretty common, ADC macs used to ship with such an adapter and they sold new for $10 - $30, it's just a little thing that routes the analog RGBHV pins from the ADC connector to a VGA connector, much like the "Mac"->VGA adapters back when Apple used DB15 for video.

        Apple ditched ADC about two years ago when they switched to DVI for their aluminum skinned LCD monitors... more specifically, dual link (DDL) DVI to suppor the resolution of their 30" monitor (ADC only supported single link DVI).

        This wasn't the first time Steve Jobs tried this, back in 1988 his NeXT computers used a single cable to carry power, video, audio, and keyboard/mouse data to the snazzy black monitor. This became a headache when NeXT went color, requiring a combination speaker box and splitter cable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:15PM (#14205725)
    Nethack Touch Screen Edition, you could... finger finger, finger bash, finger fsck... you get the point.
  • sigh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:17PM (#14205738) Homepage Journal
    Touchscreens. The universal UI panacea. Well, apart from speech recognition.
    • Well, I wouldn't call it the be-all and end-all of UI, but I can imagine a touchscreen-style device being very intuitive and useful.

      I can't go into my ideas right now (which I know is not very helpful, but I've got work to do), but used as an extension to a standard computer setup I can imagine all sorts of uses. For one thing, move the functionality of all those little tray-apps into a small touchscreen next to the keyboard. Volume for Winamp, Email notifications, appointment notifications, IM messages, et
  • by Funakoshi ( 925826 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:18PM (#14205746)
    to Linux really.

    While the article has a point that touch-activated LCDs would indeed increase the usability of custom aps, Im not sure how it implies "...easy-to-use Linux-based product for consumers..." that would be a benefit solely to Linux. The operating system is really irrelevant, it's the LCDs that are the key technology.

    Nifty project if you have the time on your hands I suppose.
    • yeah and anyone else see that even tho /.'s title says "Playstation Touch Screen For Your Linux Box", the article mentions nothing about Playstation..

      Nobody mentioned this so far...

      have I gone nuts?
      • hate to reply to my own thread, but it seems like I was on drugs.

        I scanned the article for playstation, not psone... I never even knew there was an LCD for the psone... have only seen one psone in my life.


        back to the glass pipe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:21PM (#14205763)

    its not like they are expensive (150$), plus you get to choose between resistive or capacitance touch and get the benefits of modern TFT manufacturing and a warranty, seems like a no brainer really, or of course you can trash a PS1

  • Looks to be possible. The plastics might even match a Mac Mini :)
  • Whoa... wait a minute... I thought it was a lack of a good email client that was holding Linux back.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:28PM (#14205819)
    There are a lot of factory shop floors that could benefit from cheap touch screen input to Linux boxes.
  • Does it really have anything to do with Linux? Wouldn't the touchscreen work just as well under another operating system?
  • Grandma (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MasterPi ( 896501 )
    This'd probably be good for older people who lack the mouse skills to get interested in computers. I've watched older folks be frustrated with not being able to click something and just give up without experiencing the functionality of a computer. Young kids as well, although they learn new skills easier so this isn't as much of a barrier. (yes, lack of motor skills plays a role but there isn't too much a kid that age can do on a computer except play the newest edition of Blue's Clues). I'm not sure how
    • Of course as soon as Linux does it Microsoft will too and claim they had it first...

      Won't have to work hard to back up that claim [].

    • So, when M$ steals it and says they had it first, will we call it the Blue Touch-Sensitive Screen of Death?
    • Re:Grandma (Score:2, Insightful)

      by G60 ( 937025 )
      FWIW, little kids generally don't have any problems using a mouse. In fact they seem to pick it up almost immediately - possibly given that they have no preconceived expectations, as opposed to old folks who are somewhat prone to expect it to be difficult and new-fangled, which kind of sets them up for failure.

      For the old folks, I think the idea of a touchscreen-driven web browsing device has legs, and Linux would be the perfect base for something like that (as long as nobody ever saw it, a la TiVo). If y
    • Young kids as well, although they learn new skills easier so this isn't as much of a barrier. (yes, lack of motor skills plays a role but there isn't too much a kid that age can do on a computer except play the newest edition of Blue's Clues).

      You were a bit vague about what you mean by young kids, but I feel obligated to point out that (some) kids aged four or five can use computers to a greater degree than many adults can imagine.

      For example, my school district [] was fortunate enough to have a special pr

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:31PM (#14205848) Homepage Journal
    You could use the cheap PSOne screen+touch screen as a control panel for a mythTV box.
    Add a second card to run the PSOne lcd and your main card for the video out.
    • Great idea. Now, if MythTV only *SUPPORTED* mouse interaction (and, therefore, touchscreens) I'd be well on my way to "MythCAR".

      MythTV 18.1 adds a few mouse functions, but the primary interface navigation is still keyboard only. The GTK widgets aren't written to accept mouse events and need a total rewrite, from what I've read.
      • One, there's no GTK involved, it's ALL QT. Second, the mouse works for pretty much everything, the cursor is just hidden, so it makes mouse usage pointless (but touch screen usage perfect).
        • I've been working on this idea myself. I'll have to try clicking blindly and see if the inputs are accepted. The real trick though, is getting myth to accept commands from another screen. I'm thinking I can send signals to lirc which will then send them to myth.
          The problem is, say your touch screen has big huge play/rewind buttons. While your playing a video, how do you send those keystrokes to myth? When the menu's come up, do you display everything on one screen and mirror? I haven't
      • "If MythTV only *SUPPORTED* mouse interaction (and, therefore, touchscreens)" Ummm... You have the source so fix it. That is what OSS is about. I am thinking more of an auxiliary control panel your car idea could work also.
  • by snookumz ( 919796 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:33PM (#14205854)
    Touchscreens are only useful when they are on handheld devices. For your average home computer, they make no real sense. For one thing, a desktop pc will always have it's screen perpendicular to the hands natural orientation. That creates unnecessary strain. Another thing is that touching doesn't work well with the office metaphor to which most os, including linux, adhere. The ideal touch interface would have a flat screen embedded face up or maybe at a 35 angle in a table. It could have a square section representing your out/in box, a list of icons on the side representing such things as calendar or notes, etc. Think how easy it would be to have ebooks or architectural schematics on an entire desktop. Of course this would probably require some sort of cheap e-paper, but I think the possibilities are endless.
    • Special case, I realize, but I would really like a touchscreen on my (music) keyboard rig. Unfortunately, I know the touchscreen idiom as implemented, only allows for a single touchpoint at a time. So UI ideas like "grabbing a row of faders" or "tweaking multiple knobs with the side of your palm", or "piano keyboard" are not available anyway.
    • Actually, a touchscreen is also very useful on a wall-mounted display, like one for a home or commercial building automation control system. And Linux could make a fine platform for that purpose.
    • I'm waiting for the day when touchscreens are big and affordable. I want a big (4 feet square or so) LCD screen with a touchscreen mounted on an angle like the "desks" that draughtsmen used to draw on (before CAD). And I want have it strong enough so I can rest my elbows on it, and have it only respond to it when I touch it with my fingers. That's still a long way away, though. And I want it mounted on something adjustable, so I can use it at any angle I feel like. :)
    • This may not be practical for a primary display (resolution is too low). However, we're talking linux here. Pop in a cheap $30 ISA video card and use this as a secondary input.
      At home, this could be a control panel for MythTV, your music player, Audacity, etc... I know a guy who uses something very similar to control effects for his guitar (which is plugged into the linux box).
      In the office, this could display navigate email/calendar/etc..., while your primary display contains your work.
      In either environmen
  • I have a PSOne LCD screen and as far as I amaware it does not have any touch screen functioanlity, only display and sound. I have hacked mine up already and since many Nvidia cards do not have the right type of VGA sync signal I use the S-VIDEO TV out of my Nvidia card instead. If you run with TV out then select the native resolution of the pannel (320x240) as your TV res mode it is pixel perfect. Please could someone correct me if I am wrong about the touch screen functionailty of the Psone LCD screen?
  • by The OPTiCIAN ( 8190 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:37PM (#14205888)
    "Historically, the lack of friendly interfaces has been an obstacle to making Linux a commercially viable product for end users, but with available GUIs, that's yesterday's news"

    It might be yesterday's news, but that isn't to say that it's less current today. Try making sense of the clipboard in apps on the linux platform:

    First test:
    - copy text containing 'Windows characters' (eg: stupid quotation marks - 'long' dash)
    - try to paste into gnome-terminal
    -> does nothing, which would be even worse for people who don't understand the issues around Windows characters (why can't it just filter the characters?)

    Second test:
    - copy text in gnome-terminal or gedit
    - close the window
    - try pasting somewhere
    -> doesn't work (the clipboard data has disappeared)

    They're just off-the-cuff examples of usability problems in a linux platform, and they are neither user- nor idiot-friendly. I'm on my gentoo workstation at work at the moment but am pretty sure Badger suffers identical problems.
    • Thank god we now have OS X:
      1) Copy
      2) Paste

      1) Copy
      2) Are you sure you want to not replace but also overwrite the existing content?
      3) Reread and then analyze the dialog box for exactly what it doesisn't want you to do.
      4) Hesitate
      5) Paste and hope you interpreted the dialog box correctly.

      [ Try it: Open a document in Excel 2003 and try to save it in a Tab delimited (industry standard) format. "Do you not want to not save this document and lose important features? -> Yes, No, "Learn More about the be
    • Second test:
      - copy text in gnome-terminal or gedit
      - close the window
      - try pasting somewhere
      -> doesn't work (the clipboard data has disappeared)
      Hmmm, it seems to still be there when I middle click (scrollwheel).

      I would say that windows has the first problem too, for example, not handling line breaks without CR and LF when dealing with text from a unix box.

      • > Hmmm, it seems to still be there when I middle click (scrollwheel).

        Aah you're correct and I should have qualified. You're talking about the *other* buffer. [1] Try copying and pasting using the hotkeys. In gedit that's ctrl+c.

        Of course - in gnome-terminal it's ctrl+shift+c (ctrl+c does something else). I wish they'd standardised gnome on clipboard operations using WindowsKey + c, WindowsKey + x, etc. [2] Alternatively they could have used ctrl+shift as the meta for all clipboard operations everywhere.
  • The more the article emphasizes Linux "ease of use" or "desktop readiness", the higher the likelihood that a user will be hand-editing X config files.
  • Is it just me, or did the author fail completly to specify exactly what brand & model touchscreen he used for the PSOne lcd?
  • Historically, the lack of friendly interfaces has been an obstacle to making Linux® a commercially viable product for end users, but with available GUIs, that's yesterday's news.

    indeed, now that Linux has a GUI, all usability issues have been solved!
  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @06:44PM (#14205934)
    Historically, the lack of friendly interfaces has been an obstacle to making Linux® a commercially viable product for end users, but with available GUIs, that's yesterday's news.

    This sounds a lot like (and is about as accurate as) Bush on the U.S.S. Lincoln claiming "Mission Accomplished."
  • From TFA:

    "Historically, the lack of friendly interfaces has been an obstacle to making Linux® a commercially viable product for end users..."

    I would switch to Linux on my home PC /today/ except for one thing. The primary purpose of my home PC is entertainment. Until I can run my games on it, and I'm talking maintstream-buy-at-Walmart games, it's just never going to happen for me.

    I want to be on the Linux bandwagon in a big way. I'd switch instantly. But that is the showstopper for me.

    • There are lots of people in the same boat, and hence lots of solutions: primarily dual-boot machines and multiple machines. You can't be a PC gamer for very long without accumulating enough obsolete parts to build at least one extra computer. Dig out that old mobo, video card and 'too small' HD, buy a cheap case and a KVM. You're set.

      Or, if you just wanna play, download Knoppix [] and be a Linux user tonight!

  • Could IBM please install this gimmick on some of their xSeries servers... they could then be sold as "the xSeries for Linux, with cool touch display".
    ...and now we are talking IBM and Linux: We still need a Lotus Notes Client for Linux, pls!!
    Yes, I know it runs fine on wine... and so do I but my wife prefere me in sober condition.
    • As much as I think IBM should just compile Notes with the WineLib (they already run Notes on Wine internally), I don't expect it to happen. Back in the 4.6 days, R5 was promised to be a complete rewrite of Notes with every component being a Java applet. This would have made Notes a write once, run anywhere application. (even in a browser) Well, Java didn't pan out as expected, and Lotus pulled back on the cross platformness of their client.

      *****I know that Java has come a long way. I am speaking hist
  • given the amount of /.ers who were stating quite vehemently their intent to never buy any Sony products ever a couple of weeks back [] [Slashdot, passim].
    • Well, after I smashed my PS, I just couldn't throw away the parts!
    • The way I see it, you have two options:

      1.) Show me an example of a specific slashdot user who vowed to never again buy another sony product after the rootkit debacle, and now intends on buying a PS1 lcd based on this article. You'll then be free to call that person, and only that person, a hypocrite.

      2.) Realize that /. is full of different people with different opinions, and that the opinions of one poster contradicting the opinions of another poster is not a problem at all.

      I, for one, would like to see a
  • I've been working with the Nokia 770 ( []) and it's a nice small wireless (802.11b) ARM PC running Linux. It has a 800x400 touch screen that I'm comfortable with. It has a streaming music app, email, a browser (Opera) and a couple of other apps on it as well as storage for adding more. I plan on using it for my HA interface (running []) so the browser is important. So far it works rather well and beats bringing a book into the bathroom for reading. :-) This w
    • So far it works rather well and beats bringing a book into the bathroom for reading.

      Hope you can spray Lysol on it afterwards. Otherwise ... remind me never to touch any random PDAs I find in other people's houses.

      Speaking of odd bathroom entertainment, I guess I shouldn't make too much fun of you: I went into a fairly trendy bar a few days ago in DC, and in the men's rest room there were televisions mounted on pretty much every surface that you'd be looking at as you were doing your various bathroom activi
  • Smirnoff (Score:4, Funny)

    by slashdotmsiriv ( 922939 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @07:14PM (#14206101)
    In Soviet Russia screens touch you...
  • by evilad ( 87480 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @07:21PM (#14206135)
    I recently tried and failed to add a touchscreen to my media server. The stumbling block was finding a way to have a simultaneous xservers (Ubuntu Breezy 6.8) running on different video cards. No matter what I do, only one will be active at a time (one per virtual console), and I'm forced to switch between them with the Alt-Fkeys.

    A little searching found the ancient Backstreet Ruby project, but there doesn't seem to be a way to do it with a modern kernel and xserver.

    Anyone managed to accomplish this recently?
    • I ran two XServers on my Alpha... about a hundred years ago with RedHat 5... One on the mobo card, one on a Trident 9860 or something like that plugged into the PCI bus.

      Now, you get two *displays* doing this, not one big screen, or a display with two screens.

      All I had to two was fire up a different X Server, with a different X config file. Oh, and I had to set the keyboard and mouse on one of them to non-existant.. I used x2x to get mouse and keyboard on the other monitor.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and throw your money on these linux guys []? After you're done, THEN you decide whether the car or the house gets the lil box...
  • You know it's sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Wednesday December 07, 2005 @07:47PM (#14206281) Homepage
    When the original poster doesn't even bother to RTFA.

    If you actually read the article, it becomes painfully clear that there is no "PSOne touchscreen" - The PSOne display is simply a cheap small display that he is placing behind a touchscreen that didn't come built in to a display. He does not make a SINGLE mention as to exactly what model of touchscreen he used, nor where to get it, and there is nothing preventing you from getting a touchscreen large enough to put on a normal LCD monitor (or a CRT for that matter), other than possibly cost. (He does mention the brand indirectly, apparently the touchscreens are made by eGalax, although looking at eGalax's website gives me the impression that they only make controller ICs for touch screens, not complete touchscreen units. They also do not have any U.S. based distributors listed.)
  • I'm thinking... combine this with a nano-itx board - large HD and you got yourself a nice little server.. possibly even putting the parts into a hollowed out PS1
  • While this article may bring some new ideas (hoping for it to be the panecea for converts is kinda silly) a very similar article was out in Feb 2005: Hacking a PSOne Screen []
  • If there was a viable option for a touchscreen to emulate a mouse. I would convery mt car PC to linux based. I would LOVE to have a small distro load to RAM and run from there as I'm running a ~900 Mhz EPIA w/a 4200 RPM HDD and this would (or could and should) boost performance. A dream becoming a bit closer to reality. Oh, and it's nice for those Knoppix Kiosk lovers.
  • I have a few of the PSone type touchscreens (the Sony one is the nicest, mine are generics with an inferior OEM panel) but have no idea where to source a touchscreen film/digitizer and controller.

    I know they make 7" and 8" LCD panels with touchscreen, but I don't want to pay that kind of money for an integrated product. Any ideas?
  • Most State lottery terminals in Minnesota are touch-screen boxen (x86, if you were wondering) running Monta Vista Linux (at least when I worked at a gas station a few years back).
  • Wow, great! The thing will apparently even control interfaces for household robots! Boy, that's a compelling application. I mean, we've all been waiting for household robots since maybe 1935 or so. It's now clear that the major holdup has been the availability of touch screens that can control the interfaces for these robots. Terrific! Now we can all have, and indeed, control, our household robots. I think I'll name mine "Rosie."

    Now then, what does a guy have to do to get a flying car?
  • - 7 TFT-LCD Monitor []
    - High Resolution 640*480 TFT LCD Display
    - 16:9 Viewing Aspect Ratio
    - PAL/NTSC Auto Select
    - With USB Connector
    - With VGA Connector
    - Headphone Output
    - Built-In Speaker
    - Universal Mounting Bracket for Monitor
    - Full Function Remote Control with on Screen Display
    - Power Source DC 12V

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court