The Illusion PC

The Illusion PC design allows for complete personalization of ones personal computer, it also incorporates a fully customizable magic trick that effectively hides all of the internal hardware.

My design submission aims to enhance the personalization aspect of the personal computer by allowing the user to easily theme their PC to fit their individual likes or interests and thereby make each computer more closely match its' owner.

The design also aims to make the computer look less like a computer, to the point that when it's turned off you wouldn't even think it was a computer at all.
Users’ Culture & Lifestyle
The typical audience for this design would be anyone wanting a small powerful computer that could perform as well in an Home Theater PC environment as on top of a desk and also be themed to the users individual topical likes. The entire computer is disguised by an illusion to make it look nothing like a computer and also features the ability to be completely customized in a variety of different ways, however best suits the user. A website would be created to allow the user to either choose from a variety of pre-rendered themes or to design their own theme and create a custom one of a kind unique boutique computer.

Market Viability
Everyone everywhere would the viable market... generally, people like owning items relative to their interests whether the interest is a movie theme, sports team, musical group, automotive based or whatever they might like. Looks matter and this PC design can be easily adapted, modified, customized or upgraded to suit the individual users needs, likes or color preferences.

The complete computer measures 8.25" cubed and uses a Mini-ITX mainboard, 200W mini-PSU, a laptop slot load DVD burner and up to two standard size desktop hard drives. Optional features include a 6" TFT LCD monitor, Matrix Orbital MX222 2x16 character VFD display and a TV tuner card. The PC is controlled by a small wireless keyboard and air mouse that are connected internally to the mainboard USB pin-out.

Overview of Design
This PC design is innovative because it doesn't look like a computer, it is small and more resembles an art piece than anything tech. The inclusion of an optical illusion that appears to be a 3-D object floating in mid air serves to effectively hide all of the computer components. The design is also fully customizable both in hardware and in the ways it can be themed toward likes and interests of the user.

User & Context
The look of the PC can be customized to suit the consumers interests... for example, if the user were a Star Wars fan their computer could have almost any spaceship or character from the series seemingly suspended in mid air inside a scene from the series, and also feature cut vinyl decal logos from the movie on the case.
The design features two built in screens on one side, a Matrix Orbital 2x16 character display to display movie title information, system info and more. Below it a built in 6" TFT color LCD that runs at 640x480 natively is used as a secondary monitor to watch movies on, display visualizations or show anything else relevant to the user.
The addition of a TV tuner card turns the whole thing into a massive Personal Video Recorder that can also display the TV show on the 6" LCD while recording it, there is only a single fan inside the case and it runs nearly silent, perfect for living room or desk top use.

Scenarios of Use
With PC components becoming smaller and smaller in size it becomes easier and less costly to create totally customized boutique computers targeted toward the likes and interests of each individual consumer. This computer design consists of three separate parts; the internal housing, external casing and the illusion section. The personalization aspect of both the illusion section and panels of the outer casing can also be easily and affordably changed out as the users likes and interests change.

User Interface
The PC is controlled by a wireless keyboard and air-mouse, which reduces cable clutter and makes living room use easier and more enjoyable. Two separate optional displays (2x16 VFD and 6" TFT LCD) are built right into the side panel to display information relevant to the user, thereby freeing up valuable desktop space for other tasks. The computer itself opens up and comes apart without the need for tools, the simple three part construction allows for easy access to all components when cleaning or upgrading.

Each computer would have the ability to be easily upgraded with different components, illusions and personalized themes to make it match both the current and future needs and likes of the user. I have already built a fully functioning prototype computer based on the Illusion PC design, I chose to use the horror movie "HellRaiser" as my theme for the prototype because I am a fan of good horror. The "HellRaiser" theme I chose is shown merely for example and to illustrate the idea of a more personalized computer.

Technical Aspects
The computer itself can be custom built to suit the individual user... the illusion section is the focal point of the design and serves to effectively hide all the PC components, almost any symmetrical 3-D object will work as the illusion. With the recent introduction of affordable 3-D object printers, laser cutters and vinyl decal cutters the idea of owning a completely personalized affordable "one off" custom computer based on this design is entirely possible.

The computer is by design low power and fairly green, the entire PC (sans external monitor and speakers) draws less than 200W and though the actual internal computer components would have to be recycled through normal channels the enclosure itself is built completely of recyclable acrylic, plastic and aluminum.

I have already built a working prototype as proof of concept that would help serve to make manufacturing easier. The hardware inside is attached directly to the internal housing which is built entirely of aluminum and acts as a wick for heat, the bottom of the enclosure is completely ventilated and the top has ventilation holes that allow for effective convection based cooling, the airflow from a single fan over the processor allows the system to run both cool and nearly silently.

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