Project Journal

13 June 2011

The Marco Box: A Desktop Location Display

Hello Marco

Creating with 2 Developers in working with a Raspberry Pi and Google Latitude, Marco is an open source desktop device that displays a message based on its owners physical location.

Marco allows the ability for users to create virtual fences around geographical locations or place, and then tie them to outputs displayed on the screen. - e.g. “Out of the Office”, “In the Downtown Campus”, “Gone Fishing” or even “Elvis has left the building”. To create a frictionless experience we leveraged Google Latitude to get your physical location on a map without the need for user intervention to change and update the display.

Marco HomepageMarco Setting UI

I saw the opportunity for being able to tell co-workers a little more than an empty desk when they walked by. I work out of two different campuses and additionally can work remotely. Often I would receive emails about where I was working out of that day. This created an opportunity to create a smart device that ran during office hours that would display what campus I was at.

Design Consideration:

Roughly ~90% of the empty desks around me had an orphaned monitor. Most every empty desk had a blank monitor and I was struggling with a problem on what kind of LCD display to use… enter Raspberry Pi. Now the idea is to take over that monitor when the users are away. Most external monitors that use had offered multiple inputs, so a simple tap on the input button and Marco can display anything we’d like from our base of geo trap triggered messages, foursquare check-ins to even displaying a message that we text to it – “Elvis has left the building”

tags: project