Design proposal for a shoji screen desk/area light that integrates components for a light HTPC. The design should aesthetically contribute to the atmosphere of a general purpose room while retaining technological charm. The folding method should contain the internal components while the unfolded shape should hide the PC components and present the integrated shoji-lamp. Components should be arranged such that each is accessible from the edges of the shoji, with good component distribution that allows for easy access and folding of the screen. The lamp part of the shoji should present area light with light color/intensity gradients and fluctuations that tie together the different elements of the room. Device should contain at least one optical drive, inputs for mp3 players etc, outputs for home audio, and a removable hard drive, possibly an external drive in a cradle that allows removal.
Form follows function. The function of a case mod is in part form. My primary need for an atom machine would be living room internet access and movie/music playback on a healthy TV and sounds system. Our apartment is also currently very under-decorated. Two of my roommates are Chinese and I speak fluent Japanese. Going in the general direction towards HTPC wrapped in classical Asian styles would be really cool for us.
Although the ideal system will look really cool and deliver lots of functionality currently missing in our living room, as a decorative piece, the design should steer towards harmony with the non-electronic elements of the room. One of the things missing in our living room is a diffuse lamp that brightens the area without capturing too much attention. Passing light through the shoji front of the device would be a perfect way to augment the room lighting. Also, on my desk (where the device might also end up) I tend to point my desk lamp straight up to get the passive lighting of the reflections from the ceiling and walls. It's much easier on the eyes to have even lighting.
One of my favourite things to put into a room is dynamic lighting. Lava lamps, mood lights, whatever. Really gives the room a sense of smooth motion and makes for very comfortable sitting. To augment the passive lighting capabilities of the screen, some color shifting and brightness changes would be excellent. LED's behind the translucent paper on the front are probably the best way to achieve this effect. I went into a restaurant one time where the whole walls were done this way, and it was pretty undeniably awesome.
As far as functionality, the optical drive is for DVD's, the outputs are for home theatre equipment, and the hard disk is to allow for uploads without actually connecting to the PC itself. If it runs milk drop in winamp, then life is good.
One of the markets that these little atom/ion based machines will be well made for is Japan. There is a large portion of the population that still uses cell phones as a method of primary access to the internet. One of the reasons is that space is at a premium. Small laptops and integrate gadgetry has always been at a relatively high level of popularity compared to the rest of the world.
I'm going to be moving back to Japan after graduating, so a device that's already what I would be abso@&!)@*inglutely thrilled to pay premium for is what I'm after. The soft lighting, dynamic lighting, small size, power friendliness, and integration with tried and true harmonious elements of style would form an excellent combination that would be permanently somewhere on display.
Specific Construction Recommendations
Shoji consists of paper mounted inside of a wooden frame. The purpose was originally just to divide spaces and look nice. Shoji doors also allow a lot of diffuse light to enter a room, giving a nice soft global illumination. Since the design needs to emit light and be flat, construction similar to what's used in LCD backlights would be very effective. Multicolor LED's would be power friendly and satisfy the capability for dynamic lighting. LED's would also allow the light to be distributed around the panels somewhat uniformly. A V-shaped crevice coated in a reflective material behind the translucent front material would give the impression of a true emmissive surface.
Make the wooden frame thick enough to enclose all components while being able to be folded up. Use slim laptop components and small externals that can be powered via USB alone. 1U or smaller form factor power supplies would allow for a self-contained power supply that's power and size conscious.
The thickness will at that point be dictated by how thin the passive lighting system can be and the thickness of the thickest component that needs to be integrated into the frame. Sounds fun right?
The whole frame can have wires running to LED's or LCD's or whatever running inside of the frame, which should be glued together. Crevices can be cut in the two halves of the frame to provide space for running these cables. The wood can be "built up" from components with careful attention to dimensional accuracy. A lighter tone of wood that's near yellow with a little tinge of redness like a good Kaya or Katsura wood would be best.
I can personally help with the design on the shoji screens. A design simliar to that used on fusuma would be awesome. If you come up with a method of printing or perhaps just make the design where the material can be replaced with similar material containing artwork, I can supply you with graphics or inspiration.
I Need an Ion Testing Platform
This device would be more than just a HTPC. I'm developing software for a go client and want to specifically target the atom/ion hardware. Please select my design so I can get a testing machine for our app. We can get by without it, but it would be nice to tweak the performance for what's probably going to be the new par for net-top graphics for the next two years.
In closing, I'm doing a lot of studying up on classical Japanese architecture so I can accurately model what I'm working on. Using this device as a test platform while being constantly reminded of the style that I'm striving to achieve would be pretty awesome. Please Xhibit...I mean Modders-Inc, pimp my living room
Thanks for reading my design. Please contact me if you have any questions. My email is [email protected]