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23-inch Android display shows HD digital art

Jul 22, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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Electric Objects has achieved Kickstarter funding for its Android-based EO1, a wall-mounted, 23-inch HD signage computer for displaying digital art.

New York City based Electric Objects is one of several companies reinvigorating the wall-mounted digital picture frame form-factor with more affordable prices, smartphone access, and other modern amenities. Like Framed, which is based on Windows Embedded, Electric Objects’s EO1 picture frame has easily surpassed its Kickstarter funding goals. There are still 17 days left, however, to get in on discounted pricing, including $299 for a May 2015 release, or $499 (the eventual retail price) for a wooden-framed version, or a beta test model due in Jan. 2015.



EO1 on wall: We watch stupid cat tricks on the Internet, but cats prefer Organ Armani
(click image to enlarge)

 
EO1 prototypes use Raspberry Pi

The EO1 is a 23-inch HD display that runs a custom Android OS on an unnamed 1GHz, dual-core Cortex-A9 system-on-chip with 1GB of RAM and 2GB of flash. Zoë Salditch, the Electric Objects artist and community rep, confirmed to us the reports that the prototype ran on a Raspberry Pi. “We have about 100 beta testers currently using the Pi prototype in their homes and offices,” she wrote.



Partial selection of digital art available for the EO1
(click image to enlarge)

The WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled hardware is fairly basic except for the art-friendly screen, which offers an anti-glare matte finish with high contrast, minimal brightness, and low latency. The display is intended to hang on the wall and run a user pre-programmed lineup of rotating still or animated art in the background, not unlike the digital picture frames of old. You can change the display with an Android or iOS mobile app, and view any URL. No audio is provided, however, and the display works only in portrait mode.

As detailed in this Wired report, the intent was to remove the process of viewing digital art from the ad-driven, carnival-like atmosphere of the modern web. The company plans to set up a community and storefront for digital art where artists can get paid for their work. Free content will also be available.



EO1 on stand with Liora Basse image (left) and EO1 exploded view
(click images to enlarge)

The project appears to be focusing on digital art rather than digitized reproductions, although those can be viewed as well. The work will include still images, video, WebGL animations, animated GIFs, Javascript based projects, “and potentially even data-driven visualizations and other generative works,” according to Wired.

Electric Objects is collaborating with museums, libraries, and other organizations to port digital content to the platform, including the the New York Public Library, The Boston Globe, Behance, Giphy, Museum Of The Moving Image, Digg, and to.be. So far the lineup of featured artists includes Nicolas Sassoon, Casey Reas, Sara Ludy, Yoshi Sodeoka, Pasquale D’Silva, Erica Gorochow, and Patrick Moberg, among others.



EO1 mobile app
(click image to enlarge)

Electric Objects is also working with artists and developers to create original works of art for the platform. In the coming months, the company will be releasing early versions of an SDK. No details were provided except to say that the firmware features a custom browser running both WebKit and Gecko rendering engines.

“As far as what will be open source, we are still trying to figure that out,” said Salditch. “We want to make whatever it is useful and interesting to others.”

Specifications listed for the Electric Objects EO1 include:

  • Processor — 1GHz, dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 with 1MB L2, Neon, VFPvs16 Trustzone, 4-shader 3D GPU, 2x 2D accelerators
  • Memory:
    • 1GB 64-bit DDR3 RAM
    • 2GB flash
  • Wireless (TiWi):
    • 802.11b/g/n
    • Bluetooth LE
  • Display:
    • 23-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS display
    • Anti-glare
    • 50 million:1 Mega dynamic contrast ratio
    • 250 cd/m2 brightness
    • 5ms response time
  • Other features — wall-mount kit; accessory stand to come at launch; sleep and awake power modes
  • Dimensions — 21.8 x 13.0 x 1.7 in. (with wall bracket and mounted on wall)
  • Operating system — Custom Android

 
Further information

The EO1 is available for Kickstarter funding through Aug. 7 at $299 for a May 2015 release, discounted from the $499 retail price. A beta test version of the EO1 due Jan. 2015 goes for $499, which is also the price for a wooden-framed version due May 2015. Volume discount packages are also available. More information may be found at the EO1 Kickstarter page and the Electric Objects website.
 

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