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Space Cube – the World's Smallest Linux PC

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-time-cube-note dept.

Portables 265

Barence writes "Meet the Space Cube — the world's smallest fully functional PC. Primarily designed for use in space, it somehow manages to cram a working PC with USB ports, card readers, audio outputs and proprietary interfaces into a tiny cube chassis measuring just two inches square. It runs a basic Linux front-end, which the blogger takes a look at, and there are some great photos of the device being loomed over by everyday objects like coffee mugs and cellphones. It has connections for controlling various electronics used by ESA, NASA and JAXA, but it will also apparently be for sale to the public soon, for use by amateur engineers and robotics clubs."

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last post!! (-1, Offtopic)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764423)

Last post!!!

Re:last post!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764873)

Not anymore.

Smallest? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764445)

In terms of volume it looks bigger than a beagle board + CF card. The Beagle board is 3" square, but it can be a lot less tall than this. It also has a much faster CPU and (to me, most importantly, since it means I can actually connect it to a modern monitor) DVI output.

incorrect summary (5, Informative)

yankpop (931224) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764641)

The second line of the article states that it is one of the smallest computers in the world, not the smallest.

yp.

Re:Smallest? (4, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764743)

Maybe 2 years ago this might have been 'Wow!' - but with the likes of the Eee etc around - the appropriate response is 'Meh.'

Just some quick back of a fag packet calculation on the Eee put it at 9cm^3. Obviously, a lot more than this with its 5cm^3, but you do get
* a keyboard
* a screen
* 3 usb ports
* wireless ethernet
* mouse pad
* power
* loads more disk space
* 3 times the processor
* etc
all for 300 quid

Which if you got rid of would reduce the size right down to a lot less than 5cm^3.

No disrespect to the folks that put this thing together - and yes I would like one please - but... it's not rockin' my world.

Re:Smallest? (5, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764913)

Of course not. And it also doesn't help that the Space Cube, unlike the eeePC, is totally useless by itself.

It's wonderful to have a tiny computer, but if you need to slap on a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to use it it's really not all that tiny, is it?

It also doesn't help that the real reason, in general (i.e., other than embedded computing environments) the reason people want small computers is portability, and this thing is hardly portable- sure, it's small and light, but given that it's totally useless on its own, that lack of size and weight is mostly irrelevant.

Even for use in space, I still think it's a waste of, well, space. Either you're going to connect it to a real computer for display and use (with that big monitor and keyboard) or you're not, and all those jacks are a waste of space.

Re:Smallest? (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765165)

Dont forget the power, the space cube requires a power source... while the eee does too long term, it can run for a length of time on it's battery.

Re:Smallest? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765301)

It might be useful if you don't need a computer while mobile, just in a few fixed locations. You could take something like this between work and home, for example, and plug it into peripherals at both ends.

Except that it's really slow. You would get better performance from a VM image running on a USB 16GB flash drive with 1GB reserved for saving state when suspending - plus you'd have 14GB more local storage space.

The only possible niche where I can see it being useful is for on-site tech support people. If they're being called out, they know that there's a computer at the far end, but it may not be working. With something like this, they can test peripherals and access online systems using the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and network at the far end. It might be useful in the future, if hotel rooms started to include monitors, keyboards and mice and you didn't trust the hotel systems enough to want to run a VM on their hardware.

Re:Smallest? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24765183)

Just some quick back of a fag packet calculation on the Eee put it at 9cm^3.

Isn't the Eee 22.5 cm x 16.5 cm x 3.5 cm? That looks like it comes out to almost 1300 cm^3. Even if my dimensions are wrong, I doubt your ability to fit a keyboard into 9cm without going to chording or something of that nature.

Re:Smallest? (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765267)

Sorry, my bad. I didn't mean 9 cm cubed, I meant 9 cm cubed.

Re:Smallest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24765367)

I am not sure what you mean by "9cm^3". The volume of the EEE is not 9 cubic centimeters, it is more like 780 cc. (This is close to 9*9*9 cc.) The volume of this little computer is ~150 cc. So, it is 5 times smaller.

Re:Smallest? (5, Funny)

quenda (644621) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765089)

. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Airport security (3, Funny)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764461)

Would they let you pass with that in an airport?

Re:Airport security (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764533)

Yes. Just paint it to look like this [thinkgeek.com] .

Re:Airport security (3, Insightful)

FlatWhatson (802600) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764979)

It's the data-centers and network rooms that should watch out, not the airports.

These things are perfect for use in MITM attacks.

Re:Airport security (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765149)

I can see two possible scenarios if TSA were to receive an example unit:
  • TSA thinks it's a bomb, confiscates it.
  • A TSA agent pinches the computer, but then discards it when he can't install Smiley Central.

Yes but... (5, Funny)

Underfoot (1344699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764483)

does it run... oh... it does? Awsome.

Re:Yes but... (2, Funny)

berwiki (989827) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765041)

if only they had this on the international space station. :) [slashdot.org]

How does a cube... (4, Funny)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764491)

...measure two inches square?

Re:How does a cube... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764559)

Along every face?

Re:How does a cube... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764577)

It does it six times.

Re:How does a cube... (5, Insightful)

acdc_rules (519822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764645)

certainly 2x2x2 which is 8 cubic inches. looking at the photo you get the idea the author of the article is innumerate.

Re:How does a cube... (1)

Bibz (849958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764649)

From TFA : "and occupies a space that's roughly 2in square"

The summary got it wrong, the base is base of the cube is 2 sq inches.

Re:How does a cube... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764901)

From the pictures, it looks like that's a mistake too and it's a cube with two inch sides. I don't recall apples in the UK even being less than two inches in diameter, let alone less than root-two inches. (Is there some convention for making a square root sign in ASCII?)

Re:How does a cube... (2, Informative)

Perf (14203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765211)

(Is there some convention for making a square root sign in ASCII?)

Could do x^(1/2) or x^0.5

Re:How does a cube... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764727)

How does a cube measure two inches square?

Veeeery carefully...

Re:How does a cube... (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764769)

Per side perhaps?

Slashdot editors are idiots, we already know that. Nitpicking is a hollow sport.

Re:How does a cube... (5, Informative)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764843)

From TFA:

Quite simply, it's one of the smallest PCs in the world, with each side measuring around 2 square inches.

*Emphasis mine

Re:How does a cube... (3, Funny)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765143)

each side

As if "each side" of a cube needs to be specified. Journalism trumps geometry.

Re:How does a cube... (2, Informative)

Meriahven (1154311) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765163)

The product site lists the size as 52mm x 52mm x 52mm.

Re:How does a cube... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765161)

The summary skipped over the most remarkable feature- it's only 2-D!

Re:How does a cube... (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765307)

...measure two inches square?

Each face of the cube measures two inches square

I am Homer of Borg, prepare to be assim... mmmmm, donut!

I am a real cyborg [slashdot.org] . So is VP Dick Cheney. You will be assimilated. resistance is not only futile, when your time comes you will beg to join us.

too bad it's not available (3, Interesting)

utnapistim (931738) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764493)

Too bad it's not available to the general public at the moment :(

Re:too bad it's not available (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764985)

Actually this stuff IS available to the general public.

It's called the PC-104 formfactor and it's been around for decades. Hell I got a 386 with A2D inputs and digital in and outs as well as VGA, CF interface and audio interface in the basement that is slightly larger than that that I used for wearable Computing in the early 90's.

It's not new or special. It's standard industrial PC gear repackaged and sold with a "Ooooooh space technology" marketing twist.

Dimensions, anybody? (0, Redundant)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764501)

a tiny cube chassis measuring just two inches square

A cube is measured in square units. Brillant.

So how large is it really? Two inches on a side, for eight cubic inches? Or each face is two square inches, for 2*sqrt(2) cubic inches? Or the cube as a whole has two cubic inches in volume?

Re:Dimensions, anybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764615)

If it's a cube and they give you the dimensions of one face, what do you think the dimensions of the other faces are?

Re:Dimensions, anybody? (1)

Bibz (849958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764617)

From TFA : "and occupies a space that's roughly 2in square"

So I guess the base of the cube is 2sq inches, but now word on the height, I'd guess it's the same since it's a cube...

Re:Dimensions, anybody? (5, Funny)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764647)

Dumbass, its a "Space Cube". It should be measured in the fourth dimension as 2 square inches/sec.

Re:Dimensions, anybody? (5, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764817)

Plus I hear it can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs!

Re:Dimensions, anybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24765153)

Brian: But parsecs are a unit of distance, not sp...
Peter: Neh-neh-neh.

Not Space Cube (3, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765303)

Dumbass, its a "Space Cube". It should be measured in the fourth dimension as 2 square inches/sec.

No, that would make it a "Time Cube" [timecube.com] , and that would be a Bad Thing.

Re:Dimensions, anybody? (1)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764687)

From the article:

with each side measuring around 2 square inches

That give the following dimensions: sqrt(2)" x sqrt(2)" x sqrt(2)" (~2.828 cubic inches) However, I think that the author meant that each side was a 2" by 2" square. In which case I would expect 8 cubic inches.

Re:Dimensions, anybody? (0, Redundant)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764699)

Clicking through from TFA, things get worse: Remarkably, it's an entire PC inside a chassis that's 2 x 2 x 2in square. [pcpro.co.uk]

That's ambiguous in so many ways. Taken pedantically and literally, that's a 2D plane surface of 8 square inches, since the first two 2's are dimensionless. Assuming from that they represent inches, then that's a 4D hypercube of 16 inches^4 because the last 2 is square.

Looking at the picture, I think what they actually mean is that each edge is 2 inches long, for a footprint of 4 square inches and a volume of 8 cubic inches. But seriously, can we get at least some care in how we handle units? This is primary-school stuff. And why is a British writeup of a Japanese device measuring in inches in the first place? Wouldn't be surprised to learn that it's actually 5cm on a side...

Oops (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765097)

Taken pedantically and literally, that's a 2D plane surface of 8 square inches, since the first two 2's are dimensionless. Assuming from that they represent inches, then that's a 4D hypercube of 16 inches^4 because the last 2 is square.

On the internet, any post with such supercilious pedantry must of necessity contain an error itself; normally it manifests in spelling flames, but it seems to hold for geometry too. I got far too taken with the lovely powers-of-two progression. The four-dimensional interpretation gives eight hypercubic inches, because the last 2 is square inches, but it's still a 2 and not a 4...

Another? (3, Insightful)

amdpox (1308283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764507)

What's the dealeo with all these ridiculously tiny "fully functional" Linux boxes coming out? Does anyone have a use for them, other than attempting to cram a distributed computing network into a backpack? A machine that needs an external keyboard, screen and power adaptor has no need to be any smaller than a midget-ITX.

Re:Another? (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764539)

'Primarily designed for use in space'.

It is enormously expensive to launch things into orbit. Making a smaller and lighter computer saves on launch costs, and the weight allowance can be used for other things. Then again, presumably you still have to launch a mouse and keyboard and VDU for this thing, so it's not quite as great a saving as it sounds...

Re:Another? (5, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764657)

Then again, presumably you still have to launch a mouse and keyboard and VDU for this thing, so it's not quite as great a saving as it sounds...

Depends on its job. It could be a headless device for logging/collating/forwarding sensor data, controlling a robot, whatever.

Re:Another? (5, Informative)

utnapistim (931738) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764729)

Not necessarily. You could (for example) have them control all kinds of things with no peripherals attached for most of the time (that is, except in the case when a problem needs to be diagnosed).

In case of a problem if there's need for diagnostics, you can then plug some small screen+keyboard and you're set to go.

They're running linux so they should be ideal for monitoring sensors and reporting, transmitting ping/heartbeat signals for any kinds of devices, for controlling hardware, basically for anything that can run autonomously.

Re:Another? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764567)

Like the story says, robotics. Small, light brain == good, at least until we get the power problem solved (The futurama solution of having robots use alcohol internal combustion engines is polluting and nasty and requires maintenance - I favour wireless resonant power transfer)

Re:Another? (5, Interesting)

martinve (1233522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764683)

Exactly the same question. My puny phone has 64MB RAM, 369 MHz CPU, screen, battery, built-in speakers, mini-USB port and minimalistic keyboard and internal volume of 66cc (roughly 4 cubic inches). I really do not see the point of that gadget except being really cheap and expendable - and that product is not.

Re:Another? (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764737)

What's the dealeo with all these ridiculously tiny "fully functional" Linux boxes coming out? Does anyone have a use for them, other than attempting to cram a distributed computing network into a backpack?

Yes. [slashdot.org] "Computer Virus Aboard the ISS"

Re:Another? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24765011)

Yeah, substance, schmubstance.

Look at the 3rd photo on TFA, and you'll see that against Steve Jobs' latest offering, it loses out completely on style.

(Wonder if it's dual core?)

Re:Another? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24765223)

In the 5th photo, we can see it's smaller than a Palm too.

awesome (1)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764525)

Wow, this is great! Where can I get this? Looks like it's entirely passive as well. SSD/Flash... FTW! This could replace any non gamer's computer. ;-)

Re:awesome (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764597)

And, hey, it's only fifteen hundred pounds, so it still costs more than most gamer's computers.

Re:awesome (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764621)

Nah. If you're going to drop $3,000 you're probably going to want the gaming rig.

An Eee, Beagle Board, Gumstix, or a Pandora will set you back a lot less.

Re:awesome (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764629)

At 200MHz, it might struggle a bit. And with only analogue VGA it would be hard to connect to a modern monitor. More interesting is the Beagle Board [beagleboard.org] with a 600MHz Cortex A8, a PowerVR GPU and a nice DSP. It takes SD cards, which are now cheap in 16GB sizes, and in terms of volume it's smaller than the Space Cube. Oh, and they're actually shipping to consumers now.

"Fully functional"? I doubt it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764563)

Not fully functional [startrek.com] .

What's the big deal with PC compatibility ? (4, Insightful)

Brane2 (608748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764569)

This thing is obviously aimed at special applications.

For these kind of things there are much better solutions than x86 chips. They are smaller, faster, cheaper and more economic than classic HW.

Take a look at TI's daVinci program, for example, or maybe some small Coldfire from Freescale or maybe some cool Arm from NXP etcetc.

Re:What's the big deal with PC compatibility ? (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765237)

"Most intriguing, though, is the Space Wire port. It may sound like a mere science fiction fantasy, but this incredibly thin socket is a crucial part of the Space Cubeâ(TM)s armoury. Thatâ(TM)s because itâ(TM)s a type of proprietary interface use by the ESA, NASA and JAXA when the Cube actually goes into space. Itâ(TM)s useful for connecting various sensors and processing units to the Space Cube, as well as the complicated-sounding Downlink Telementary Sub-Systems, which sounds like something more akin to Battlestar Galactica or Star Wars than anything used in real life. It turns out that Space Wire is also used as a common interface for linking together modules and electronics that are often designed in different institutions."

Is it just me, or does this sound an awful lot like Phillips I2C bus?

Re:What's the big deal with PC compatibility ? (4, Insightful)

IDtheTarget (1055608) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765255)

I would think that the primary "big deal" would be programming talent.

Way back when, the government used proprietary, government-programmed operating systems and software for stuff, and it rarely worked and it was difficult to find programmers to maintain or update the software. This way, by using a processor that can run a well-known, well-liked, popular OS that has literally millions of enthusiastic programmers available, it shouldn't be difficult to get critical software written or maintained.

You also won't need to re-invent the wheel for common modules, and your programmers can therefore concentrate on the stuff that is unique to your application of the hardware.

Re:What's the big deal with PC compatibility ? (1)

tikram (1262046) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765277)

Development.

You can take any linux-compatible desktop machine, you go and develop the application that controls the spaceship or something, and you don't need an emulator because you can test it right on your development machine.

Then when it's ready, you just move the application over to the 'cube' and it's off you go.

It's much simpler than developing for and emulator or similar, you don't need to jump that many hoops before deployment.

Re:What's the big deal with PC compatibility ? (2, Informative)

GauteL (29207) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765343)

Apart from the inappropriate use of the 'PC' term, the article doesn't actually state what type of architecture the processor is.

This [dundee.ac.uk] far more interesting paper on it, states that it has a MIPS processor.

Transformer in the cube? (1)

Underfoot (1344699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764571)

Looking at the pictures (which are amazing) my big question is: is the PSU transformer in the cube? or is the power modification done in the cord? I can't imagine a CPU and a transformer in that tight of a space, without frying the other components.

Wild.

Re:Transformer in the cube? (1)

unts (754160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764691)

It's got a "5V in" socket... so it definitely needs an external power pack. Of course there'll still be a bunch of regulators inside.

Coincidence ?! (2, Funny)

Bibz (849958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764585)

It's interesting how this articles follows the one about the NASA space virus (http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/27/1231224)

But does it run (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764591)

But does it run Windows ?

If not, how the astronauts are supposed to run their Virus ?

Radiation hardened? (2, Interesting)

unts (754160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764605)

I appreciate that it's not meant for handling critical systems, but nevertheless, I wonder if its components are radiation hardened. In particular, what CPU has that thing got? Some sort of ARM?

And the RAM... is it SECDED?

Re:Radiation hardened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24765157)

One would imagine that is the responsibility of the consumer if that is expected to be an issue in it's application.

wait what? (2, Informative)

otravi (1289804) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764607)

So.. it's a blast from the past [ubergizmo.com] ?

GBP 1500 ? WTF? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764627)

Nice but GBP 1500 is ridiculously expensive for such ridiculous specs (64 MB RAM/16 GB disk), too bad I wanted one...

Re:GBP 1500 ? WTF? (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764753)

indeed especially when they got theirs for ~£150.

PC Pro is clueless. (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764639)

Behold Picotux! [picotux.com]

Or, less dramatically, gumstix [slashdot.org] .

The spacecube is cute, I admit, I'd be amused to have one; but the notion of it being the smallest is silly.

Ah, future, when will you be? (1)

Djatha (848102) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764671)

Seamless integration of computers with other devices, wall sockets, furniture, etc. becomes more and more a reality. I would like to have some small but complete linux computers integrated in my house controlling heat, lights, windows, providing storage, processing power, internet access, and more without the burden of large awful computing equipment.

Imagine your house being the ultimate networked information station serving all your needs from basic tasks like heating to entertainment and communication. Every house gets an ip-address and is basically a local area wifi network. Connect with your phone, a screen, a printer, and other devices wherever you want. Ah, future, when will you be?

But can it run (3, Funny)

joeflies (529536) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764681)

the Gammima.AG worm? I hear that's popular in space nowadays

NOT a Linux PC. It's a little MIPS based system (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764709)

This is Not a PC.

From the Manufacturer's web site, it runs a fairly standard MIPS SoC from NEC... a Vr5701. There is not x86 compatible CPU in there. Since it's MIPS, don't expect to just use RPM and install anything, and clearly it doesn't use RedHat. The OS might be derived from RedHat, but I suspect it's just bad journalism (everything Linux is RedHat, right?).

I'm not saying it's not cool, but it isn't a PC. And I think if you want a Space capable device, you'll have to deal with the radiation hardness yourself. www.gaisler.com has some perhaps more suitable chips that are rad hard (SPARC based).

Hmmmm (1)

MasterMynd (168213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764731)

I always figured that a Space Cube would at least be bigger than the Enterprise.

Cubes from Space? (4, Funny)

miserere nobis (1332335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764761)

Ahh, so Locutus has a mini-me and this is his home. How cute!

akihabara (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764781)

these have been for sale in akihabara, tokyo, japan, for over a year. saw it in one obscure robotics shop in May last year. if i recall correctly it only cost about $1000, so it should definately be way cheaper now.

Imagine... (4, Funny)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764853)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these puppies! You might actually be able to run a GUI.

Re:Imagine... (5, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765049)

Wow! You could make several of them in different colors, and your beowulf cluster would look like a gigantic Rubik's Cube [photobucket.com] ! Cool!

Re:Imagine... (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765107)

Ok, that was funnier than mine by a longshot. Proven objectively by the diet Mt Dew that shot through my nose when I read it.

$300 - $1500 price jump?! (3, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764915)

The biggest problem is that they're selling it for US$300+ in Japan, but the University wants to sell it for $1500+

Another good idea dying on the vine caused by greed.

Re:$300 - $1500 price jump?! (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765037)

The biggest problem is that they're selling it for US$300+ in Japan, but the University wants to sell it for $1500+

It's worse than you think. That second price wasn't in dollars. It was pounds. You're looking at $3000 for one of these from the University of Dundee. Better to get on a plane to Tokyo and ask around Akihabara , even with the round trip ticket you'll come out ahead and you'll be able to stop off in a maid cafe while you're there.

1500 POUNDS (1)

ascendant (1116807) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765233)

not $1500, 1500 pounds.
that's 2800 USD, and google [google.com] can help you convert the rest.

Re:$300 - $1500 price jump?! (0)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765263)

Another good idea dying on the vine caused by greed.

Greed doesn't seem to be hurting Apple or Dell or any other computer manufacturer for that matter.

Finally, portable Googly Eyes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24764921)

entering âxeyeâ(TM) brings up a pair of comedy googly eyes that follow your cursor around the screen.

Sweet Lord and savior Jesus Christ that's amazing! This little cube is going to redefine all of humanity. Barack, McCain, are you listening? One cube in the palm of very American. It's time to stop dreaming. Linux is here, NOW!

N810 (1, Interesting)

oever (233119) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764923)

How is this special? The Nokia N810 [wikipedia.org] has a faster processor and comes with GPS, wifi, keyboard and 640 x 480 screen. Storage space can be added to exceed that of the Space Cube.

Re:N810 (1)

malaprohibita (924587) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765051)

The Nokias are nice. It's just too bad they don't have wired ethernet or video out.

Re:N810 (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765325)

It's just too bad they don't have wired ethernet or video out.

Neither does the MacBook Air. Not designed to for that matter.

Re:N810 (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765081)

when did they downgrade the screen size on the Nokias?

My 770 has a 800X480 screen. that sucks if they reduced screen resolution on the newer ones.

Re:N810 (2, Funny)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765103)

Too bad GPS is useless in SPACE. And on the other hand a mobile phone is probably not the most reliable solution to grab sensor outputs and have them relayed to earth. The price of text messages alone would be outrageous ...

How About *Cheapest*? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24764941)

That device is $325. How about a $50 Linux PC that might not be the smallest, but is still smaller than a notebook, runs at least as fast as a P3/500MHz, has at least one each USB and PCI (but maybe no onboard VGA), and runs fanless?

Imagine . . . (2, Interesting)

dcw (87098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765005)

Buy a bunch of them, pack them into a suitcase with some laptop batteries, Portable Cluster.

It makes sense! (3, Funny)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765027)

Who'd a thunk that the Borg would have such humble beginnings?

I have to say, it does explain their relative ease of Assimilation...

Product details (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765129)

Further details on the Space Cube see the translated product page [yahoo.com] (original page [shimafuji.co.jp] ). To save you clicking on the link:

Flash Memory: VR 5,701,200 MHz/250MHz/300MHz
Flash Memory: 16M byte
DRAM I/F: DDR SDRAM 64M byte
Input/output: IEEE1355 (SpaceWire), RTC and CF (True IDE), XGA (1024×768), USB1.1 and LAN (100BASE), Audio (Stereo) input/output RS232C and JTAG I/F (for debugging)
Power source: +5V
External size: 52mmx52mmx55mm (the spine is excluded)

Radhard? (2, Insightful)

Conspicuous Coward (938979) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765141)

If this thing is meant to be going into space doesn't it need to be using radiation hardened components?
TFA states the cost is likely to be around GBP1500, that along with the size and specs of it makes me wonder if they're using commercial grade components in there. Aren't radiation hardened componentes generally around 10 years behind standard PC's? In other words is this thing actually going to be of any use in space or is is just some wierd marketing gimmick?

Wow (2)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765181)

I have a new record minium time required for going from "not knowing something is available" to "wanting something badly."

Not the smallest? (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24765213)

Gumstix [gumstix.com] are tiny 386-compatible boards - although they're modular, they occupy less volume than a space cube.

Downroad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24765225)

Website: http://www.shimafuji.co.jp

Try mouse-over the third menu.

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