Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Get your very own Frankenkindle!

Long time no see!  Turns out having an infant at home kinda takes up a lot of one's time.

Last week I received my first request for pricing on a Frankenkindle.  (insert happiness and merriment here).  The eventual goal has always been to offer this up for sale, but the design needs a lot of work.  I've got some great ideas for additional functionality that I'd like to add, but as of now they're just that: ideas.

Stay tuned for information on the next-gen Frankenkindle.  For now though, let's concentrate on what we have right in front of us.

Original Frankenkindle (FK1)

Parts have been ordered from TAP Plastics to create a housing that is easier on the eyes.  I figured it was better to have a platform that could be streamlined and trimmed back later.  It will be constructed of 1/2" plastic and will utilize six arcade-style buttons for control, but will use the same control system we've seen before.  Here's what the design should look like.  Expect pictures after Thanksgiving.

It was this version that I quoted to the reader who requested more information.  Then I realized that there's really no reason to make you guys wait if there's anyone else out there who might be interested.  After all, Christmas is coming up... 

Before we get to a quote, it's important that we all understand a few key points about the FK1:
  • The design isn't finished yet.  
There are a lot of changes and improvements coming soon... (cue cheesy, ominous music)  While the critical page turning functions work beautifully, the user has only the following keystrokes available: Up, Down, Left, Right, Select, and Home.  This is sufficient for selecting and reading books, but it will still require assistance for things like connecting to the Amazon network to download additional books.
  • The design isn't finished yet
The FK1 will be constructed of 1/2-inch plastic.  It will be strong.  It'll probably survive the next big California earthquake.  This was intentional.  Rather than testing structures that may break under unanticipated stresses, I decided to overdesign it.  The housing will be a key area of the next design, which should look better and (with any luck) cost less to produce.
  • The design isn't finished yet  (see a pattern yet?)
The control board that powers the Frankenkindle was hacked together piece by piece as each function was figured out.  While "pretty" isn't usually a requirement for DIY electronics projects, efficiency should be.  This control board will receive the bulk of the design attention in the next revision.  Many new features will be added, and a custom circuit board will be created.  It should be far simpler to assemble, and (again, with any luck) cost less.  The FK1 however, will ship with something similar to the control board you've seen in previous posts.

Finally, understand that the use of any Frankenkindle unit will shred any warranty that Amazon may offer.  for this reason, it is not possible to modify an existing Kindle unit.  Each Frankenkindle (certainly the FK1 and possibly later versions as well) will ship with a new 3rd-generation Kindle.  You will receive a completely assembled unit, and detailed instructions will be included for any operation that may be required for use (for example, replacing the original Kindle cables to add books.) 

So, all that said, if you would like to purchase your very own FK1 unit it can be yours for the bargain basement price of...

$445 (w/ Kindle WiFi)
$495 (w/ Kindle WiFi + 3G)

This won't always be the case, but for now I can only accept payment through PayPal.  Please direct all sales-related inquiries to eewestcoaster@gmail.com.

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