Look ma, no soldering iron: building your own networked media player

Aaron Fuleki, Denison University, USA, Megan Hancock, Denison Museum, USA

There are plenty of hardware options for media players, interactive kiosks, and digital signage on the market today. Although powerful, these gizmos are often expensive and complicated. This hands-on workshop will guide participants start-to-finish in building their own simple, low cost, open source media player, using the hacker and human-friendly Raspberry Pi mini computer.

Topics will include hardware assembly, installing and configuring the software, loading media, and controlling playback from a mobile device. All exercises will utilize existing, open source software, so no programming skills are needed (pocket protectors optional), but those who like getting their hands dirty are welcome to hack away. Bonus challenges throughout the workshop will award participants with extras and bling for their Raspberry Pis. Just because it's hidden behind a giant flatscreen doesn't mean it can't be sassy.

A Q&A session at the end will allow time to discuss topics related to using multimedia in the gallery, as well as solicit feedback/feature requests for the open source software used in the workshop, some of which the presenters have developed for use at their museum. We hope to recruit more contributors!

Participants are encouraged to bring laptops, iPads, or other devices for experimenting and testing, but they are not required to complete the workshop. The $125 materials fee covers the Raspberry Pi and all its connecting bits. Everyone will take home a working media player, and the knowledge to use it effectively.