A bit in the realm of niche ideas but...
I'm currently in a role where we frequently end up in a situation where the "hands" we have onsite aren't IT minded. If we could ship them a TinyPilot with a builtin 4G connection and some sort of remote connection possibility this would be a great help in resolving issues faster and more efficiently.
All the onsite hands would have to do is plug in video, power and USB.
- 3 replies
Thanks for the suggestion, @rvdwegen! Sorry for the delay.
I haven't tested that scenario, but this should be possible today if you plug a third-party USB 4G modem in to the TinyPilot.
Alternatively, if you can get the remote hands folks to plug an Ethernet cable into the TinyPilot, you can pre-configure it for cloud access, which would let you access the TinyPilot anywhere as long as the device has Internet connectivity through the Ethernet cable.
- CIn reply torvdwegen⬆:Chris Stratton @cstratton
Using Ethernet rather than wifi is a great idea - alas the places I've run into parallel problems with other hardware, the hardware I was trying to get someone to remotely connect didn't have Ethernet.
The idea of a "just plug it in" solution using a mobile data network is one I've often wished for, too. Data plans cost something, but little compared to people's professional downtime, so there probably is a role for that. That said, experience with a project spanning several recent years is that operating data modems can be painful with lots of quirks (for example, I've learned to build provisions for software control over the module power; some of their documents literally tell you to power cycle rather than reset them). So for a really urgent example of this kind of case I have to wonder about the path of just shipping someone a verizon mifi and the tinypilot pre-configured to it.
It's too bad that cheap Android phone models are such a moving target and don't really support typical Linux userland mechanisms, otherwise it would be tempting to try to use one stacked on some sort of custom hub gadget as the core platform for something like this.
I wonder about something like adding a cheap I2C Oled for status, and also to maybe enable joining a wifi network by plugging in a keyboard, scrolling through a list of networks, typing credentials on a real keyboard, etc. Or something could probably be done with BLE and a companion app, either for on site manual wifi configuration or even as a temporary tunnel for remote manual configuration, but the world is full of rabbit holes.
Thanks for the feedback!
We're starting the design process for the Voyager 3, so it's helpful to hear what features customers are interested in. Status LED is definitely one of the features we'd like to offer, and we're exploring different options for wireless access. The keyboard + OLED is interesting.
We haven't looked too much into 4G/5G modems yet because we only have heard from a handful of customers who want them, but I definitely agree about how handy it would be to just ship a pre-configured device that can operate without configuration anywhere there's a power connection and 4G coverage.