I've been following the Electric Objects digital art displays lately. There's several other art displays like this but I like Electric Objects simplicity, there's something nice about just setting an art playlist and not messing with anything for months at a time. I had been toying with the idea of building a similar device with an e-ink display before I saw Electric Objects' version of the idea but the e-ink displays turn out to be prohibitively expensive at the size needed. The EO2 is also much cheaper than the first generation was and I like the concept of the art club.
But the idea of putting a computer on my wall that I don't know anything about is a little scary. I asked Electric Objects on Twitter about the hardware and got some answers but not enough to really nail down what's running inside this thing. Darius Kazemi had already done the work of figuring out the EO1 was an Android device. The EO2 is also an Android device, running Kit Kat. This pointed the way to a number of cheap dev boards that run old forks of Android and slightly ancient Linux, but seeing as I don't actually have an EO2, didn't really get me any further.
I finally found the FCC teardowns and that sheds some more light on it. I'm posting the key details here so they're discoverable for anyone else interested.
- AMLogic S805 SoC
- Quad Core Cortex A5 CPU
- Mali 450 MP8 GPU
- 1GB of total memory
- 2 x Nanya 4Gb (512MB) NT5CB256M16DP-EK memory
- 8GB eMMC Samsung KLM8G1WEPD-B031
- Samsung LTM230HL07 1080p 60Hz 300 cd/m2 a-Si PLS Panel
Overall some pretty standard AMLogic hardware. There's a number of cheap Android TV boxes that use almost identical parts. My guess is this could be a variant on the Rikomagic MK05 board, cut down for this use case to save production costs.
It's too bad it isn't based around a more common board with more modern Android and the supporting OS components. After finding out the hardware details, I'm leaning towards building my own clone, perhaps with a nicer screen and something like the Raspberry Pi, or something small but going the e-ink route.