“Visible Computer” Project

Its been a busy couple of weeks at home and work, so the workshop has not gotten much use.

I did manage  to crank out a bunch of house projects, repairing plaster, interior paint, etc, but not many fun projects.

I began ordering parts for a summer tech project for my son and me.  We are going to “build” a computer from parts using a completely clear computer case that I found on EBay (made by Logisys).  My son will learn the components that make up a computer, and I will end up with a new computer at the end of the project (he’s still too young to have his own at 6).  Also, it will be fun.

This project reminds me of the plastic “Visible V-8” engine model that I built as a kid.  The engine was clear plastic so that you could see the interior parts of the mechanics.  The model ran on batteries so that you could watch everything move.  I really liked it.  I see this computer project as our modern version of the “Visible V-8”. (WOW!  I just found that the old “Visible V-8” model is still for sale…click here for link)

The clear computer case is Acrylic, so it does not have the heat dissipation properties of a traditional steel or aluminum case, but with 3 fans, I think it will be fine.  We also might install some interior lighting in the case so that you can see the internal parts “working” after in the computer is finished.

Goals for the final machine will be:

1.  Lots of storage for the family’s multi-media (tons of digital photos and music)
2.  Strong backup capability to protect above (maybe RAID 1 drives)
3.  Inexpensive processing.  All we need is typical photo editing, web, etc capabilities.  No need for high end 3-D GPU until my son is older.
4.  Built in media card reader (for photo cards) and DVD burner (for backups)
5.  Components ready for Microsoft Vista OS when it comes out in 2007.  We will use XP Home till then.

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on May 2, 2006, in House Projects, Web/Tech. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on “Visible Computer” Project.

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