best Processing hardware setup for installations ?

We often need to setup our Processing projects with their own specific hardware. My experience during the last year, took me to 3 setups:

  • RASPBERRY PI 3 + Raspbian + monitor for a "magic mirror"
  • ZOTAC nano PC + Ubuntu + Lubuntu + projector for a retail store installation
  • NVIDIA Shield K1 + Android 7.0 + video Projector for an art installation

    The thing I like most about the 2 linux setup is that I can easily have them to "wake up on power" and launch my sketch automatically, making them extremely convenient for their users.

    For the Android setup, I really appreciate the reasonable price, ample power and easy to use HDMI out. Also, being a Tablet, it is both the computer AND the controller for the installation. But I think Nvidia is discontinuing that product and, I didn't yet find a way to have it "wake up on power and launch my app automatically"

So, here I am, asking you what you think is the best hardware setup for installations using Processing.




  • What a great question! I don't have any answers, but I am really hoping that some other forum members share their experiences with this....

    ...including perhaps people teaching in media arts programs whose students are constantly experimenting with installation setups....

  • ANDROID Currently I'm running a face recognition system on an old LG G2 phone using the brilliant Ketai library. Works at about 3fps at 480px. You can still buy these for less than 100 euro on Aliexpress, and the G2/G3/Gx has a really big community keeping it updated with custom roms, which give you a lot of control.

    But right now I'm more curious about the cheap mini pc devices that are designed to be video players. They start at just 22 euros. Build quality is obviously much lower than an LG device. Haven't tried them yet.

    ATOM Z-SERIES Another option are the Intel devices, like the Atom Z-series. They are dirt cheap (Intel was trying to enter the mobile market) and run Android, windows 10 or Ubuntu.

    I have a Teclast X80 Pro tablet that runs all three, cost me 55 euro. The Linux support is new, as good support for the Z-series Atom chipset is now getting mature. I just created a Ubuntu boot image of the the latest beta, as a test, and it booted without any important problems problems (no bluetooth, device got a bit hot, but everything else seemed to work).

    RASPBERRY PI On the Pi 3 face recognition was dreadfully slow through Processing. There I would use Python alternatives. The Raspberry Pi Zero (W) is cheap (5/10e) but very slow, and you need some adapters. GPIO is useful though. Great as a simple video player. These devices don't support all the whizbang graphics stuff you would need for, say, displaying 3D art in a webbrowser.

    NUC To do that we've used a serious core i5 NUC in a library as a devices that would project various online netart pieces onto a big wall. Expensive, but powerful. Here we had problems with unexpected powerloss. That's something where a read-only version of Raspbian is quite useful. You might be able to create a read-only version of Linux here.

  • edited October 2017

    I did a little research on the cheap boxes.

    • Get Amlogic boxes, not rockchip. Amlogic has more custom development from the rom scene. By installing roms like Libreelec you not only gain speed, but more importantly: stability.

    • The cool thing is you can often run these roms from an SD card/USB stick, so no need for complex and dangerous flashing if you don't want to.

    • On the 905X series you can even run Linux

    • Some of the more expensive ones have better heatsinks.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your research with the forum, @incoherentrace .

  • yes thank you very much @incoherentrace :D

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