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Linux-powered programmable cube gets touchy-feely

Mar 5, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,719 views

On Kickstarter, a “Cuberox” project is seeking funding for its Linux-based WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled cubic PC, with six 256-pixel, touch enabled sides.

We’re trying to restrain ourselves from covering crowdfunding projects that have yet to win their funding, but we couldn’t resist the Cuberox, a Kickstarter staff pick available through Mar. 29. Like the Firefox OS-based Runcible device we covered last week, the Cuberox is an oddball that doesn’t easily fit into standard categories.

Cuberox in the kitchen, and entertaining the baby
(click images to enlarge)

This 100 x 100 x 100mm, Arch Linux-based cube computer features six 16 x 16-pixel displays featuring oversized pixels. Developers can write applications with a NodeJS JavaScript API, and assign different applications to each side of the cube, or have the same application extend across all six.

The waterproof computer integrates WiFi, Bluetooth, and a “multi-color smart back light.” Each side is a touchscreen of sorts, although the larger pixels use accelerometer input rather than standard touchscreen technology. You can interact with programs by clicking, shaking, and “snapping,” says the developers. Rotating the cube causes further inputs to the program, for example, switching the weather report from one city to the next.

Example Cuberox apps: Tetris and alarm clock
(click images to enlarge)

Apps include time, weather, stock tickers, recipes, timers, artistic animations, education, and games. You can even play multiplayer games and use the device to send messages. The device can act as a stationary notification device for your smartphone, updating you on the arrival of emails, social networking posts, or phone calls. There’s a smartphone interface for iOS and Android, and a “Cuberia” app store is planned where you can download hundreds of apps.

Cuberox smartphone app
(click image to enlarge)

The Cuberox runs Arch Linux on an ARM9-based Freescale iMX233 SoC, backed up with 64MB RAM. There’s an SD slot with a 4GB data card capable of holding 8,000 of the device’s minimalist apps. A separate Qi wireless charging station includes surround sound speakers.

Specifications listed for the Cuberox include:

  • Processor — Freescale iMX233 (1x ARM926J @ 454MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB RAM, SD slot with 4GB data card
  • Display — 6x 256-pixel sides with accelerometer-based touch input and backlighting
  • Wireless — WiFi; Bluetooth
  • Sensors — Accelerometers; gyroscope; vibration feedback
  • Other features — dustproof, waterproof, polycarbonate construction
  • Battery — 7800mAh with wireless charging
  • Charging station:
    • Qi wireless charging
    • Micro-USB port for power (DC 5V 2A)
    • Speakers with surround sound
    • Bottom backlight
  • Dimensions — 100 x 100 x 100mm (3.94 x 3.94 x 3.94 in.) .
  • Operating system — Arch Linux ARM (3.16 kernel); Node.js with Cuberox API


Cuberox Kickstarter video


Further information

Kickstarter packages for the Cuberox start at $229, and the project is open through Mar. 29. Shipments are expected in November. More information may be found at the Cuberox Kickstarter page and the Cuberox website.

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0 responses to “Linux-powered programmable cube gets touchy-feely”

  1. Roy says:

    I don’t think this gadget should be taken as a programming challenge or as a state of the art technology but more as a toy for developers who want to test their imagination to the fullest

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