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The Brief

Build a dedicated Mindings device that is foolproof to install, self-launching, stable as a rock, and costs less than an iPad.

How to view Mindings content

Mindings is an iOS iPad App, available for free on the Apple App Store. An Android App has also been developed, but supporting the innumerable Android operating systems and tablet-specific forks became very time consuming so we discontinued it in early 2014.


The iOS Mindings Viewer App happily runs on all iPads, however there is a issue with 3rd Generation iPads onwards as they consume more power than they pull in (likely to due to the retina display power consumption) so an iPad connected to the mains running the Mindings App (or any App for that matter) will run down power and shut off.


There is also a version of Mindings (nicknamed “webMindings”) that runs well on most web browsers (particularly well on Chrome, as it has a good full-screen “Presentation Mode”). Many users have had success using an old laptop to display Mindings content, with the Space Bar being used for the GotIt! functionality.


How to view Mindings content

We have put in a great deal of work to optimise the iOS Mindings App to run happily on an iPad, often for months at a time.  It is a great Minimal Viable Product, and an ideal trial testbed device, however, there are many reasons why this is not the optimum way of receiving Mindings content:

  • The iPad was not designed to run a single App 24/7. As iOS is a locked-down operating system is is not possible to optimise certain functionality that would make it more suitable.

  • We cannot create a proper “Sleep Mode” that powers down the device at night time (if desired). This is a very important feature for many older users. The current Sleep Mode simply makes the screen black, but it is still drawing full power.

  • If the iPad powers down accidentally, the users must be able to power it up, “Slide to Unlock”, then launch the Mindings App.  This procedure is difficult for many seniors, particularly those with cognitive or physical impairments.

  • There are many other features we would like to build, but the closed operating system mean that we cannot implement them – for example remote monitoring of the device and App status.

  • Scaling Mindings as a business without a dedicated device is not a realistic proposition. Whilst okay for some early-adopter consumers, asking a Local Authority to buy a hundred iPads, enter in a hundred credit cards, download a hundred Apps, etc, etc is simply not practical.

Building a Dedicated Mindings Device

We have been working with Instrument – an integrated industrial and engineering design studio focused on developing products from concepts through to series production. Together we have built a prototype device, to demonstrate that it is possible to build a dedicated device that suits our needs for less than the cost of an iPad.


The Mindings Device is an Arduino UDOO single board computer. The operating system is Linux UDOObuntu, running a customised Chromium browser and bespoke startup scripts to launch the Mindings software. The display is 15,6″ LCD touch screen display capable of reading single touch inputs and basic gestures.

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