Searching for a palmtop for data acquisition - Palmtop

This is a discussion on Searching for a palmtop for data acquisition - Palmtop ; Dear all, I am searching for a palmtop (or any small device) with special characteristics and I was wondering if someone could point me to some device and/or brand. If you have any first-hand experience (especially with sw development), I ...

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  1. Searching for a palmtop for data acquisition

    Dear all,
    I am searching for a palmtop (or any small device) with special
    characteristics and I was wondering if someone could point me to some
    device and/or brand. If you have any first-hand experience
    (especially with sw development), I would be glad to hear it.

    I goggled [Calving: "verbing weirds the language" :-] a little bit
    around, but I was not able to find anything which satisfies all my
    constraints.

    My problem (simplified):
    I have a small sensor with USB interface and I want to do some
    measures while this sensor is attached to a person who walks around.
    The sensor has no on board memory, but the protocol is well-
    documented, so I was thinking to attach to the sensor a small computer
    (e.g. a PDA) whose duty would be to store the data read from the
    sensor. I have good programming experience, so I have no problem in
    writing my own controlling/data acquisition software.

    What I am searching for is a PDA or something similar which is

    0. still produced (obvious)

    1. Low cost (our budget is anything but huge. Say that few hundreds
    euros is the maximum we can afford for the PDA)

    2. with Linux (in case I need to go quite low-level, I would prefer
    working with something open)

    3. with an USB port which is

    3a. _usable_without_any_docking_station_ (remember that the device
    must be weared)

    3b. able to work _both_as_host_and_as_device_ (I need to control
    the sensor with it, but also I believe that any software would be
    uploaded via the USB port)

    Wireless interface and GPS could prove useful, but they are not
    necessary. Others "bells and whistles" (such as a video camera) are a
    little unwelcomed since they increase the cost while being useless
    (for my problem, of course).

    Requirement #3 seems to be the most difficult to satisfy since it
    seems to me that in most of cases USB port is available on PDAs only
    through the docking station. I found that Acer n30 is a nice match
    for points 1-3, but, unfortunately, it seems that req #0 is not
    satisfied...

    Thank you in advance for your help.


  2. Re: Searching for a palmtop for data acquisition

    On 2008-02-25, mockturtle wrote:


    > What I am searching for is a PDA or something similar which is


    The Nokia N series seems to do what you want. The N810 is the latest and
    obviously available from Nokia, but the N800 and N770 are still available either
    in new old stock, or on eBay.

    Here you are, a new old stock N770 for $99;

    http://tinyurl.com/224pgm

    > 0. still produced (obvious)


    Check.

    > 1. Low cost (our budget is anything but huge. Say that few hundreds
    > euros is the maximum we can afford for the PDA)


    Check.

    >
    > 2. with Linux (in case I need to go quite low-level, I would prefer
    > working with something open)


    The Nokia N-series runs a version of Debian with Busybox.

    > 3. with an USB port which is
    >
    > 3a. _usable_without_any_docking_station_ (remember that the device
    > must be weared)


    Check.

    (It's "worn", BTW - not a criticism!)

    > 3b. able to work _both_as_host_and_as_device_ (I need to control
    > the sensor with it, but also I believe that any software would be
    > uploaded via the USB port)


    There's a web site I saw recently
    on using the N770 in "host" mode. Ah, here you are;

    http://www.hcilab.org/projects/nokia770/nokia770.htm

    In slave mode, it appears on the host as a mass storage device. Or you can
    install an SSH server on it(!) and SSH/SCP files too and from it.

    > Wireless interface and GPS could prove useful, but they are not
    > necessary.


    The N770 has Wifi & Bluetooth, but no GPS. I use a Bluetooth keyboard on mine.

    I have no connection with Nokia, other than being an absolutely delighted owner
    of an N770;

    http://www.axalotl.demon.co.uk/picci...a/DSC_0002.JPG

    --
    "Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain
    and presumptuous desire for a second one."
    [email me at huge {at} huge (dot) org uk]

  3. Re: Searching for a palmtop for data acquisition

    On Mon, 25 Feb 2008 04:23:46 -0800 (PST), mockturtle
    wrote:

    >Dear all,
    >I am searching for a palmtop (or any small device) with special
    >characteristics and I was wondering if someone could point me to some
    >device and/or brand. If you have any first-hand experience
    >(especially with sw development), I would be glad to hear it.
    >
    >I goggled [Calving: "verbing weirds the language" :-] a little bit
    >around, but I was not able to find anything which satisfies all my
    >constraints.
    >
    >My problem (simplified):
    >I have a small sensor with USB interface and I want to do some
    >measures while this sensor is attached to a person who walks around.
    >The sensor has no on board memory, but the protocol is well-
    >documented, so I was thinking to attach to the sensor a small computer
    >(e.g. a PDA) whose duty would be to store the data read from the
    >sensor. I have good programming experience, so I have no problem in
    >writing my own controlling/data acquisition software.
    >
    >What I am searching for is a PDA or something similar which is
    >
    > 0. still produced (obvious)
    >
    > 1. Low cost (our budget is anything but huge. Say that few hundreds
    >euros is the maximum we can afford for the PDA)
    >
    > 2. with Linux (in case I need to go quite low-level, I would prefer
    >working with something open)
    >
    > 3. with an USB port which is
    >
    > 3a. _usable_without_any_docking_station_ (remember that the device
    >must be weared)
    >
    > 3b. able to work _both_as_host_and_as_device_ (I need to control
    >the sensor with it, but also I believe that any software would be
    >uploaded via the USB port)
    >
    >Wireless interface and GPS could prove useful, but they are not
    >necessary. Others "bells and whistles" (such as a video camera) are a
    >little unwelcomed since they increase the cost while being useless
    >(for my problem, of course).
    >
    >Requirement #3 seems to be the most difficult to satisfy since it
    >seems to me that in most of cases USB port is available on PDAs only
    >through the docking station. I found that Acer n30 is a nice match
    >for points 1-3, but, unfortunately, it seems that req #0 is not
    >satisfied...


    Many Windows Mobile devices have a USB port, but very few support host
    mode. I suspect the USB ports on docking stations are also device
    only. I'm pretty sure at least one (maybe only the Acer you already
    found) supports USB host mode. So I just used Google
    (http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search) to look up
    usb host
    in microsoft.public.pocketpc and got 751 hits. I took a quick look at
    the first few and was discouraged. Also lazy, so I didn't look
    further. But I still think you should wade through the list.

    Some industrial Windows CE devices may support USB host. But they are
    usually more than $1000 U.S. For a somewhat out of date list, see my
    21 April 2005 contribution to a thread called "Looking for special
    material" in microsoft.public.pocketpc.

    Many PDAs support Bluetooth. Maybe you can find a way to connect your
    device to Bluetooth.

    You might also want to check this:
    http://www.buglabs.net/about


    >
    >Thank you in advance for your help.


    -----------------------------------------
    To reply to me, remove the underscores (_) from my email address (and please indicate which newsgroup and message).

    Robert E. Zaret, eMVP
    PenFact, Inc.
    20 Park Plaza, Suite 400
    Boston, MA 02116
    www.penfact.com
    Useful reading (be sure to read its disclaimer first):
    http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

  4. Re: Searching for a palmtop for data acquisition

    There are Windows Mobile PDA's with USB host, but since only a few
    exist, you will need to seive through some googling. Easy enough.

    Another option is to get a PDA with a CF+ slot, and then add this:

    http://www.twin-paradox.com/SEPDA.html

    I personally never used it, but it seems like it might fit your
    purpose. A cheap PDA + CF+ usb host card = done deal.

    Hope this helps.


    Sebastian Dwornik
    Applied PDA Software
    www.appliedpda.com

  5. Re: Searching for a palmtop for data acquisition

    Check "Werner \"Menneisyys\" Ruotsalainen's 26 Feb 08 contribution to
    a thread called "wired keyboard for Windows Mobile 5 devices? using a
    handheld PC as ext. kbd and/or display?" in
    microsoft.public.smartphone.developer

    On Mon, 25 Feb 2008 04:23:46 -0800 (PST), mockturtle
    wrote:

    >Dear all,
    >I am searching for a palmtop (or any small device) with special
    >characteristics and I was wondering if someone could point me to some
    >device and/or brand. If you have any first-hand experience
    >(especially with sw development), I would be glad to hear it.
    >
    >I goggled [Calving: "verbing weirds the language" :-] a little bit
    >around, but I was not able to find anything which satisfies all my
    >constraints.
    >
    >My problem (simplified):
    >I have a small sensor with USB interface and I want to do some
    >measures while this sensor is attached to a person who walks around.
    >The sensor has no on board memory, but the protocol is well-
    >documented, so I was thinking to attach to the sensor a small computer
    >(e.g. a PDA) whose duty would be to store the data read from the
    >sensor. I have good programming experience, so I have no problem in
    >writing my own controlling/data acquisition software.
    >
    >What I am searching for is a PDA or something similar which is
    >
    > 0. still produced (obvious)
    >
    > 1. Low cost (our budget is anything but huge. Say that few hundreds
    >euros is the maximum we can afford for the PDA)
    >
    > 2. with Linux (in case I need to go quite low-level, I would prefer
    >working with something open)
    >
    > 3. with an USB port which is
    >
    > 3a. _usable_without_any_docking_station_ (remember that the device
    >must be weared)
    >
    > 3b. able to work _both_as_host_and_as_device_ (I need to control
    >the sensor with it, but also I believe that any software would be
    >uploaded via the USB port)
    >
    >Wireless interface and GPS could prove useful, but they are not
    >necessary. Others "bells and whistles" (such as a video camera) are a
    >little unwelcomed since they increase the cost while being useless
    >(for my problem, of course).
    >
    >Requirement #3 seems to be the most difficult to satisfy since it
    >seems to me that in most of cases USB port is available on PDAs only
    >through the docking station. I found that Acer n30 is a nice match
    >for points 1-3, but, unfortunately, it seems that req #0 is not
    >satisfied...
    >
    >Thank you in advance for your help.


    -----------------------------------------
    To reply to me, remove the underscores (_) from my email address (and please indicate which newsgroup and message).

    Robert E. Zaret, eMVP
    PenFact, Inc.
    20 Park Plaza, Suite 400
    Boston, MA 02116
    www.penfact.com
    Useful reading (be sure to read its disclaimer first):
    http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

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