user's avatar
Embedded Solution: The Inventory Box
Embedded Solution: The Inventory Box

Keeping track of journalism lab equipment the old fashioned way had become messy. (So much paper, so little space!) So I wanted to replace my sign-out clipboard with a nice, clean way to determine at a glance which cameras were in use, who was using them, and what events were being covered. This seemed like a great opportunity to experiment with embedded design, so I set out to build an “Inventory-Tracker-in-a-Box.” What I eventually created was a web application built primarily in PHP (with a little bit of JavaScript) and powered under the hood by a SQL database. Served via an Apache server that I set up on a credit-card-sized computer (the Raspberry Pi), the program is accessible via full-screen kiosk or any web browser in the lab. The user interface is still a work in progress, but it served its purpose, with students accessing the device multiple times every single day.


Tech Specs

Built from scratch using server-side PHP scripting.

Compatible with MySQL or SQLite databases.

User interface powered by standard HTML and some light CSS styling.

Occasional interface optimizations provided via JavaScript (however, the application will still work with scripting disabled).

On-board interface powered by Midori web browser running in a relatively stripped-down Linux desktop environment (e.g. an X session + the Matchbox window manager). Device boots to kiosk as soon as it is plugged in.

Shortcut key combinations available for rebooting or powering down device via on-board interface.

Shutdown/Reboot also available via remote admin interface.

Kiosk run via “guest” account (refreshed on each boot for some added integrity/security).


Key Features

Works with any spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse (or as a “headless” server).

Connects to local network via Ethernet or WiFi (with some configuration).

Allows checkouts to be tracked by item or user.

Provides checkout and transaction log views (filterable by item or user).

Records time stamp for each transaction and flags overdue items and their users.

Provides at-a-glance checkout stats for individual items and users.

Allows for filtering by arbitrary date range (e.g. a particular school year).

Can be administered from kiosk or via another computer in the lab.

Items and users can be added/edited via administration pages.
Embedded Solution: The Inventory Box
0
39
0
Published:

Embedded Solution: The Inventory Box

0
39
0
Published: