Kiosk Wish List and Ideas


  • compile ideas in a common place
  • create a living document that will grow and further extend our knowledge base as we better define the problem
  • contains both practicle and possible solutions
  • get some feedback
  • fully define the problem to create a viable solid solution and the steps needed to obtain it
  • get started so we can create some kind of roadmap for development milestones

The Problem(this list should continue to grow)

A device is needed that:

  • is low power
  • is cost effective
  • functions as a remote content repository
  • distributes content to the talking book device
  • is capable of content play back
  • has content authoring capability
  • can accept custom user created content
  • can sync to files from another repository (remote sync or multimedia card)
  • is usable by individuals with little to no literacy level
  • is usable by blind or visually impaired individuals possibly with literacy levels similar to the above
  • has some sort of visualization - Graphical User Interface
  • retains the functionality of the talking book device for operation
  • reports usage metrics
  • has more stable power source than retail devices so that it can always provide reliable time/date when synchronizing with devices

"The 10,000ft view wish list"


  • Low power or solar power capable
  • 1GB ram
  • Embedded device(pico itx or normal itx motherboard)
  • LCD or LCD Touch screen (touch screen would be completely inaccessible for the blind)
  • Keyboard
  • Talking Book UI Controller
  • Media card reader
  • Modem
  • Ethernet
  • Wireless
  • Cellular
  • Barcode reader/scanner

Kiosk Storage

  • Internal Harddrive
  • Internal Flashdrive


  • Linux Ram Disk
  • XServer
  • Java


  • USB
  • Wireless
  • Ethernet
  • PPP(Dial up)
  • Cellular
  • Audio
  • Barcode reading/scanning
  • Single device connection per session

Feature List

  • “Picture/Graphical” based Swing UI designed to accommodate little to no literacy level(should be able to function in a similar manner as the talking book)
  • Accessibility for visually impaired must be based on synthesized speech rather than exclusively depending on pre-recorded mesages such as with retail device
  • A paired down controller should possibly accompany the kiosk/software that allows for operation similar to that of the talking book device
  • Talking book device should appear as such or as a specified storage device when connected
  • Allow barcoding of published content created with the Talking Book Authoring System(ISBN)
  • Device Uploads
  • Device Downloads
  • Determine device capacity
  • Repository Synchronization or some sort or available media insertion
  • Authoring system capability
  • Net/repository upload
  • Net/repository download
  • Usage metrics recording:
      • user created vs published content
      • uploads/downloads
          • average time
          • file size
          • number

Component Breakdown of the wish list

We are going to breakdown the components here at a fairly highlevel still.

Operating System:

Topics to note

  • If the kiosk will use a GUI interface then the only realistic option we have is Gnome with Orca and eSpeak with Firefox 3 for the blind and visually impaired. If it will use text-based console, then we could use YASR or Emacspeak. A text-based interface is not realistic given the target audience.
  • Braille devices are prohibitively expensive. Those sold in the US start at over US$2K, and even a Chinese-made version starts at over US$1K.. We need to stick to synthesized speech via Gnome + orca + eSpeak to keep costs down.

Distros to consider

These are not set in stone and should continue to grow as distributions are found that support what is needed:

  • Suse Linux
  • Puppy Linux
  • Solaris or Solaris derivative

The distro of choice would basically be stripped of all non-essential software and left with the following:

Supported Reason
Hot Plug USB Support Talking Book Device
external storage
internal storage/multimedia reader( for sd, compact flash, etc.)
possible user interface controller
keyboard and mouse
XServer Graphical Touch and Drag User Interface
Content Authoring System
Audio (ALSA and or Open Sound System) Record
Content Authoring System
User Interface Feedback
Linux Accessibility Packages Text to speech
Braile Device
Standard File System Self explanitory
Console Terminal Access
RAM Disk OS and related functionality
Communications/Networking/PPP Ethernet
Dial up/Modem

Third Party Packages

OS level packages that are utilized

Package Usage
Codecs Vorbis/Ogg
Custom Device Driver Talking Book Device recognition
CD/DVD ripping and recording K3b or other for custom content
Web browser Opera - capable of running in Kiosk mode
Firefox (Could we standardize under Firefox to leverage the work already done to make it accessible. it is also more memory efficient than Opra according to.)
Accessibility Packages Text to Speech (eSpeak)
Teletype Devices

Third Party and Open Source Libraries

Libraries utilized in the software development

Library header
Apache Lucene repository and log indexing
Log4j application logging
Apache Xerces Parser parsing content metadata
GTK Graphical User Interface
SDL Graphical User Interface and multimedia
OpenAL Audio functionality


What we should be looking at for hardware and why

Component Reason
ITX, Micro ITX, or Pico ITX motherboards low power
low cost
retains x86 fuctionality
supported by most Linux distros
supports hardware we need
USB Talking Book Device
Keyboard and mouse
multimedia card reader
LCD or LCD Touchscreen Touch Drag and Drop Graphical User Interface for low to no literacy level
Barcode scanner ISBN encoded books and media can be utilized as a way to load content onto a connected device without the need for a visual interface or extra fuctionality that is normally provided by the talking book device
Keyboard and Mouse For content authors, literate users this is a stop gap that would allow faster and more accurate access
provides access for maintanence etc.
Multimedia card reader content distribution mechanism
external storage
store content remotely vs on the machines internal storage device
Kiosk user control/auth
Paired down Talking Book Kiosk controller Possible User Interface control mechanism that works in a similar manner to the talking book device
1 Gigabyte RAM OS in RAM Disk
Kiosk Software in Ram Disk
Enough RAM to encode and decode if needed
Internal Harddrive OS and functionality
Installed software and packages
Kiosk software
Authoring Software
Content Repository
Internal Flash drive lower power than typical harddrive
OS and functionality
Installed software and packages
Kiosk software
Authoring Software
Content Repository
Ethernet/Wireless/Modem/Cellular Communications VOIP
remote repository syncing
remote kiosk management
content distribution