Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Button size IR web server

Tiny web server for labels, user manuals etc.
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

Make a tiny web server, with an IR interface that server a small web page or ftp site. It could be the size of a button, sealed and waterproof. Have a small rechargeable battery and a small solar panel. The solar panel keeps the battery charged and powers the device when it is just listening for an incoming IR signal. Perhaps a changeable lithium battery would be enough to last several years. 1 Megabyte of flash ROM would hold a pretty good user manual.

Read the web site with a palmtop or other device with IR interface. Upload files to the button through the IR also. It would come with a default web site for configuring and uploading your files. Have it uploadable and downloadable as a single zip file, for easy copying.

All the documentation for a product could stay with it its entire life. Signs could have a web button with much more information attached. They would be perfect for museums. They could be distributed like CDs or paper pamphlets are now, for menus or advertising. They could contain music or video. They could probably be made for <$1. When wireless internet becomes common they could just contain URLs. They would be great for storing warrantee information and an electronic copy of the original sales receipt.

Viewing them would be nice with transparent VR glasses - as you look around the web sites home pages or icons could appear next to the buttons.

It might need a few minutes of bright light after years in darkness to recharge.

IR would work better than RF, because location is important. You can differentiate between IR devices a few feet apart. You don't want to pick up the coffee maker's web site when trying to read the car's owner's manual, or the car battery's web.

They could also be good for control panels. One of them as a virtual control panel would probably be much cheaper than the LCD display and buttons on a microwave or dishwasher, and it would be much more flexible.

tolly3, Mar 05 2002

Smart Cards http://java.sun.com...ard/smartcards.html
$7-$15 dollars for smart card with 8kbytes memory and CPU. [pottedstu, Mar 05 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Wireless everything http://www.theregis...ontent/3/24267.html
Intel are on the way to baking this at a more granular level. [mcscotland, Mar 05 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       So you want an ASIC with a CPU (supporting a TCP/IP stack), flash ROM interface, other interface to IR port, and DC/DC convertor; a 2 way IR port; 1megabyte flash ROM; solar cell; in a rugged housing all the size of a button for under $1? Too big, too expensive.   

       Maybe if you reduced this to existing smart card functionality (much smaller memory; no IR or power supply) you could get something to hold instructions for a few dollars, but running an FTP site requires too much computing power, memory and interfacing for an existing smart card.   

       Or just fit a palm pilot to everything.
pottedstu, Mar 05 2002

       (Obligatory :CueCat reference)
phoenix, Mar 05 2002

       OK, so $200 for a matchbook size sealed device with 1 Meg, dropping to $10 eventually. I think a glueable web server is a killer app.
tolly3, Mar 06 2002

       [tolly3] It is, just not this implementation at this time.
phoenix, Mar 06 2002

       There would always be a choice between storing all the information on the button as described and storing a url on the button.   

       The first requires a large amount of minturisation and cost reduction. The second is pretty much baked using a clothing label transponder (do a google search on "clothing label transponder"). (or even cheaper using CueCat and a barcode).
st3f, Mar 06 2002

       [st3f] a "clothing label transponder"???   

       I fail to see the advantage of this over having a URL printed/embossed on the device... :-/
crystalsinger, Jan 25 2007


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