StG needed a way to communicate news, general messages and important info throughout their multiple sites. Not all employees used email or had a dedicated computer so an intranet was not an ideal solution.
We proposed to build electronic message boards that could be placed anywhere there was wifi, which would automatically update themselves to present live info to employees and visitors.
An individual message board would consist of a microcomputer attached to a large screen. The micro computer would then display an internally hosted website which would automatically refresh its content to display on the screens.
The Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi (RPi) is a single-board computer that is about the size of a credit card. Running a an OS called Raspbian Wheezy (based on Linux) the RPi is capable of the same tasks as a normal computer, albeit a bit slower due to the limited processing power and memory. However for the purposes of this project it was perfect, and very inexpensive.
The RPi runs off usb, so we ensured that the screens we sourced had built in usb connectors to power the RPis without the need for extra cables,
To display the website we installed a version of Google’s Chrome browser and had it automatically launch the website in kiosk mode when the RPi was turned on. Kiosk mode hides all UI features and run the website as if it were a fullscreen app.
We gave each RPi a specific name which allowed us to remotely connect over wifi to each of them if we ever needed to reboot or update settings. We set them up to be completely autonomous however so that simply turning the screen off and on again would reboot and fix any issues with them.
A single Raspberry Pi in a case
Multiple RPis in named cases to differentiate between them.