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Compact keyboard houses Embedded Linux system

Sep 13, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Ampro Computers and White Electronic Designs have teamed up to package Ampro's compact EPIC-compatible single-board computers (SBCs) inside a small industrially-oriented keyboard. Production versions of the ReadyPad, which is being showcased at ESC this week, will be available with a 2.6 kernel-based Linux OS.

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The ReadyPad will be available with a choice of twelve processor models ranging from a 300MHz Via Eden to a 1.4GHz Low Voltage Pentium M 738, according to Ampro. Features include dual Ethernet (including Gigabit Ethernet), four USB ports, four serial ports, high resolution CRT support and audio. Mass storage is provided in the form of CompactFlash cards.

The 5.5 x 8 inch enclosure includes White's 78-key elastomeric QWERTY keypad, an electroluminescent backlight, and a “mini-joystick” for cursor control. The keypad is sealed to IP54, making it highly resistant to contaminants and ideal for users who need to be able to clean and/or disinfect the keypad surface, according to White.

“In providing turnkey custom keypad solutions, White has detected increasing customer interest in a standard, off-the-shelf keypad-based industrial computer system,” said Wayne Parkinson, vice president of business development for White Electronic Designs.

Director of sales Michael Wagner added, “Because EPIC does not specify the external connector configuration, we needed to implement the initial design based on a family of boards that are consistent. The Ampro ReadyBoard is the only EPIC family that maintains the connector locations across a variety processor speeds.”

The ReadyPad will be manufactured by White Electronic Designs and sold by Ampro. The companies say they expect a “significant amount of customization of the products,” both in the keypad and in the feature requirements of the embedded EPIC SBC.

Prototypes will be available in 30 days for demonstration and evaluation, according to the companies. Pricing is not currently established.

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