We are supporting Special Edition, Inc on a car computer engineering project. The goal is to get a car computer in a 1955 Porcshe 550 Spyder replica that they build out a “piece of bare ground” Here is a quick shot of the what the dashboard will look like without the monitor.
Over the next couple of weeks expect several blog posts explaining the details of the car computer's integrated features.
I am going to kick this off with some interesting information we obtained about hacking the Andrea's super beam microphone. To maintain aesthetics we wanted to expose only the microphone portion of the superbeam and just place the mic pickups right in the dash. This would effectively leave just two black “dots” on each side of the speedometer.
Here is the information we obtained from Andrea’s acoustical engineers:
3.5" spacing = approximately 30 degree beam or cone shaped pickup.
6" spacing = approximately 20 degree beam or cone shaped pickup.
8" = approximately 10 degree beam or cone shaped pickup.
Here are some photos of the unit when we hacked it open. Microphone extension wires can just be soldered in place to the appropriate length based on your installation.
We were also cautioned by Andrea to make sure to expose in the passenger cabin the rear slots of the microphone as well as the front slots of the microphone. Unfortunately this will make the mic stick out about a ¼ inch, but at least we can hide all the other electronics.
This microphone hack has coupled with a new external USB echo canceling sound card that is amazing for Bluetooth calls which will be the subject of a future blog entry. Talk about this here on our forums blog talk section. Check out the breif work log here.
Updated 09-17-2009 at 02:56 PM by ecog
Weather is forecasted to be 85 degrees and sunny for tomorrow's Washington, DC MP3car BBQ. Post in the forums and tell us you are comming by 10am, MP3car will bring some food for you. Also let us know what your shirt size is and we will try to bring enought mp3car shirts for everyone (free). For full event details, see W3bMa5t3r's post (Forum Link)
Scott and I (Rob) are both comming. We will be bringing the recently blogged about Guru Car computer and some other interesting things.
Updated 09-17-2009 at 02:54 PM by ecog
One of our military customers who regularly installs MP3car's 7” transflective LCD product in Apache helicopters was kind enough to share some photos side by side with aircraft instruments. From what we are told this is as close as you can get to military grade sunlight readability without spending military amounts of cash. Very cool! Thanks for sharing the photos.
Updated 09-17-2009 at 02:52 PM by ecog
After starting working for Mp3Car, I have since begun work on my own car computer and am hoping to get it installed by the end of the summer. It will pretty much be an AOpen miniDuo 945-X, 512mb of ram, 80gb hard drive, a 7" non-touchscreen monitor, and a customized XP installation. I know that nearly everyone on the forums will ask "Why go with a non-touchscreen?" I have two reasons for this 1) I am cheap and the more money I invest now in a car with nearly 150,000 miles, the worse I will feel when it dies and 2) I like an extra challenge.
Coming from a purely software background, I will eventually design a lightweight front-end to do all of the things that only I think are necessary. Since I don't have the time to spend in development, and I wasn't really impressed with any of the options for free frontends, I'm going to go with the most complete application for video and mp3 playing available that I can find. I am currently looking at Moraff's Freedom Player , well described by the simple sentence "If a typical media player is a kite, Moraff's Freedom Player is a 747!"
I spend most of my free time playing video games and coding/learning new languages. I actually got involved in computer science due to my interest in video games, but after two internships in the field, saw and experienced the difficulty involved in game creation. Aside from schoolwork for my senior year as a computer science major, I am also involved in two startup companies and do a little contracting on the side to help pay for my computer purchases. My next big buy is an ATI Radeon HD 4850.
Well, that's pretty much it for me. Expect another post pretty soon from me or one of the other staff here about the next few addons that I'll be making for the site in this last stretch before college starts up again.
Updated 10-20-2009 at 05:09 PM by Heather
Hello. I am Heather, or armine on the forums. I started working at Mp3Car last fall, putting a hold on my work in international development. I used to spend my time backpacking through Latin America to find new cultures and learn Spanish, or working with Ukrainian non-profits in the Peace Corps. Now, I spend my days in cyberspace on the Mp3Car Store to support customers and on the Mp3Car Forums and my iGoogle page (Engadget, Techdirt, How Stuff Works, Future Tense) to find out who is innovating in car computing, what products are new, and how we can get involved.
Why I wanted to work at Mp3Car is really best described in this Charles Leadbeater TED Talk about the inventors of the mountain bike. They were young bikers, frustrated with the bike selection available, who hacked together parts of the standard types of bikes on the market and created a new product that would not have been created in any other way. My personal goal at Mp3Car is to try in whatever way I can, to support innovators on the forums that create stuff people really want and need, perhaps products which no corporation would have thought of, or be able to create.
My role, in general, at Mp3Car is to make sure that we are focused on the right goals, as a team. However, there is too much to do, so I have a whole bunch of daily tasks and my picture shows it. The large screen shows the orders of the day which I am processing. You cannot see the other tabs in Mozilla - but they are the forums. I have the calculator out because we are adding a new product and I am trying to see if the vendor price is fair – I do all the financial management. I’ve got business cards falling over – why can’t people just use vcards? There are some product returns on my desk, already processed, that need to go into stock. And, I have the Ethiopian coffee that we buy from a nice family-run coffee shop in DC (all fair trade), called Sidamo, to get me through the day, and the iPhone which I use at night to add new places of interest to the Nearby App- a great concept, but a little flaky and not getting too much support in Baltimore.
I may be in contact with you if you have a customer service issue as I manage most of these, if you are a new customer and I want to call to say hello, if you are a vendor and need to get paid, if you are a vendor and we would like to sell your product, if you just signed up for the forums but mistyped your email address,or if you just have an idea and I wanted to thank you for it. Or I may have seen something you said on the forums and sent you a PM.
Feel free to let me know if you have a great product to sell, a good idea for us, or think something at Mp3Car could be improved. You can always post an idea for the store in the Customer Service Forum or the forums for new product suggestions , and for ideas and changes to the forums there is the subforum, called Suggestions/Comments or you can email [email protected].
Updated 10-20-2009 at 05:08 PM by Heather