Top-side devices with Cockpit: What possibilities await?

Cockpit is looking fantastic! Big ups to all those working hard to bring to market.

With a browser-based interface this has the potential to pull a bunch of cost out of top-side computing, right? I’m looking at Samsung Galaxy Tablets (some already spec’d to IP68 and with really bright daylight readable screens) and comparing costs to a ruggedised laptop. Could we see a UX based a suitably weatherised (IP65-68) Android or iOS device? Aside: I bench tested the BlueROV2 on my iPhone 15 Pro and, cripes, it worked! I just couldn’t quite see all the widgets so couldn’t test recording.

How do we see the future here? Has anyone done any testing on devices? The recording / downloading / files system piece all seems feasible…

1 Like

Hi @PeterM, definitely an interesting topic! :smiley:

This is certainly part of the idea behind BlueOS and Cockpit using a browser interface that can be hosted by the vehicle - we want to minimise the interface device restrictions and installation requirements where possible :slight_smile:

I’m personally quite interested in the progressing development of rapid refresh e-ink / e-paper displays, which can have low power usage and excellent daylight viewing characteristics. Likely still a way to go before they’re super viable, but it’s exciting seeing the upcoming possibilities :slight_smile:

I imagine there’ll likely be multiple popular options depending on the use-case - e.g.

  • a hobbyist might go fully mobile and low cost with, say, a tablet and on-screen controls, while
  • detailed repair work could be completed by a navigating pilot with a co-operator controlling a robot arm (possibly using separate screens and controllers), and
  • an advanced fleet management operation might have a multi-monitor setup showing several vehicles, with the option to drop into the interface of any of them as needed.

Probably some of the more unique options that are already quite feasible are VR headsets, and gaming handhelds which combine controllers with inbuilt screens.

The longer term idea for Cockpit is to support

  1. arbitrary input devices
    • keyboards, custom controllers (buttons/joysticks/sliders), touch screens, etc
  2. multiple simultaneous input devices
    • e.g. co-operators for different parts of a vehicle, or teacher+student controllers (with prioritisation)
  3. arbitrary display devices
    • e.g. phones, tablets, laptops, headsets, etc
  4. multiple simultaneous displays
    • with independent custom views, across application windows and/or devices
    • e.g. supervisor+operator, or for co-operators

There’s still some work to do before all of those are fully realised, but it seems a goal worth pursuing, and is well-aligned with our general approach of implementing solid base systems that others can then use and customise to suit their specific needs :slight_smile: