About this project
Update #5: NEW $299 low cost kit reward level
Update #4: The Open Laptop PLUS New $149 Level Added
Update #1: Xbox ONE compatibility announced!!
What is Darkmatter?
Darkmatter is the world's first portable Open Source Xbox(TM) system that you can buy as a fully finished product, or in kit form. We've been inspired by Ben Heck and many other modders and hackers who have built one-off Xbox laptop creations. But we wanted to take their ideas further and build a beautiful, fun machine that is:
- Xbox 360 and XBox ONE (kit only) compatible
- Easy to build
- Equipped with an internal DVD
- Able to work with Xbox peripherals such as Kinect(r)
- Equipped with capacitive touch controls for volume, mute, sync, power etc.
The Darkmatter laptop is powered off the same power brick that comes with your Xbox. When you contribute at the $999 or greater levels, you get a fully functional, ready-to-go Darkmatter unit with the power brick included. Please note, Darkmatter is not equipped with an internal battery.
Darkmatter incorporates an Xbox 360 Slim 4GB inside, which means that it supports Wi-Fi connectivity, Xbox Live and all the other Xbox 360 features. As of Update #1, we've announced Xbox ONE compatibility for the $499 reward level (complete kit).
The Darkmatter laptop supports all the Xbox apps available through Xbox Live, including the Internet Explorer browser and many other native apps.
We've exposed all the standard Xbox 360 ports BUT we didn't stop there! We've added a D-type 3W internal stereo amplifier and two internal 3W speakers. PLUS, we've added a stereo headphone jack for crisp audio while on the go.
Darkmatter supports DVD playback, just like the Xbox 360 does. And it allows you to connect a high resolution TV or projector via the built-in HDMI port. When you connect the HDMI port to an external display, the laptop's own LCD shuts down and you can close the lid without interrupting your movies or gameplay.
Darkmatter supports wireless controllers, up to two wired (USB) controllers, the Xbox entertainment remote and connectivity with Kinect to ensure that your friends and family enjoy the experience with you.
Darkmatter is THE coolest console to take to an Xbox LAN party. It's compact, fully functional and can be carried conveniently in a bag or backpack.
We use a high quality internal graphics board and a generously sized, 15.6" 720P display with 1366x768 resolution. This widescreen, backlit panel works great with the Xbox 360 display subsystem.
We've poured our heart and soul into the design of Darkmatter. We came up with an effective cooling approach that replaces the Xbox 360's stock CPU cooler and allows us to create the thinnest Xbox laptop design thus far!
The entire casing is 3D printed and laser cut. We've used high quality 3mm black acrylic for the panels, with 3D printed interconnects and miscellaneous parts. We even have a laser cut, illuminated Darkmatter logo incorporated into the laptop's lid!
We use Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printers to print all our parts in ABS plastic.
This project wasn't simply about taking an Xbox and building a new case for it! We actually invested a lot of time in rethinking the human interface and electronics. We designed and built a custom capacitive touch interface board based on the Arduino processor and incorporated it into Darkmatter. We call this board the Xduino360. Since the Xbox 360 already comes with two touch controls (Power and Eject), we wanted to extend that human interface paradigm to all the other controls, for example volume controls, mute and sync. That's exactly what the Xduino360 board allows us to do. All the control icons are laser etched into the acrylic case; you simply touch them, and voila! It works!
We're committed to providing a high quality kit with good instructions and online support. We've already launched a Wiki and will offer the Darkmatter community online support, answers to their questions and any other assistance we can extend.
If our Kickstarter campaign reaches its funding goal, we will release the CAD design files (in Autodesk Inventor format) on Github and Thingiverse. We will also provide STL files for all the 3D printed parts, source code for the Xduino controller, DWG/CDR files for all the laser cut parts and a bill of materials as well as PCB design files for the Xduino board.
Want to plug in USB controllers? No problem! What about wired Ethernet? Sure! Kinect? Xbox Chatpad? Yes and Yes! The Darkmatter also supports HDMI displays via an exposed HDMI connector.
Here's another feature the Xbox 360 doesn't come with: headphones! But Darkmatter solves that problem. Our built-in 3W amp, stereo speakers and headphone jack ensure that you have multiple audio options while gaming on the Darkmatter laptop.
DWG, STL, CAD, Source Code, PCB designs... we're sharing it all on Github and Thingiverse!
We understand that you might not have time to build the kit. That's why we're providing the entire laptop, assembled and ready to go. If you have access to a 3D printer and laser cutting apparatus or are planning on using an online service to build the case yourself, then you can get the Xduino board, the LCD driver board, LCD and miscellaneous electronics parts from us. Or if you want to build it all yourself, but would like us to ship you a kit with ALL the parts other than the Xbox 360 itself, we'll do that too!
We've come with up with a large array of reward options, including custom printed Techjango T-shirts, Skill badges and an E-book titled, "How to design and build an Xbox laptop".
What we've done!
We've built multiple fully functional Darkmatter laptops. We've worked out a lot of kinks and believe the kit and the fully-built units are ready to go. We even demonstrated the laptop to hundreds of people at the Austin Mini Maker Faire in May, 2013. With your contribution, we will be able to:
- Bulk manufacture the laser cut parts
- Finalize the product packaging
- Invest more time in developing an extensive "how to" guide to build the laptop
This is our first Kickstarter project. We would REALLY appreciate your support. If you have questions, want to give us your feedback or have ideas on how we can improve Darkmatter, we are all ears and would love to hear from you!
Thanks a lot for taking a look at our project. We're very excited about it and hope you are too :-)
Risks and challenges
Depending on how many orders we receive, supply chain challenges may emerge. We feel we've made adequate arrangements but there is always the potential of some delays in shipping depending on how the campaign goes. We will do our best to track campaign progress and provide estimates to our vendors at the earliest so that our backers are not inconvenienced in any way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes! Darkmatter contains the guts of an Xbox 360, so it can play all the games an Xbox 360 can play.
Yes, Darkmatter works with both Chatpad and Kinect. All the ports available on an Xbox 360 are exposed at the back and are accessible.
Yes, Darkmatter uses a lot of 3D printed parts. The panels are laser cut and numerous end pieces, hinge parts and connector pieces are all 3D printed.
No. As we've explained up front in the project description, Darkmatter does not contain batteries.
No, the Darkmatter is much more than that. It contains an LCD, an LCD driver board, a custom Arduino based board we've designed (Xduino360) which provides capacitive touch controls for Eject, Sync, Volume, Mute etc. and also has a built-in amp, stereo speakers and a headphone jack. Custom fans provide cooling and internal lighting (Darkmatter lit logo in the lid and ambience lighting in the base) has been added too. There is a lot more than just an Xbox 360 slim motherboard inside.
Sure. Darkmatter uses the Xbox 360 firmware so it supports the Internet Explorer web browser and Xbox live apps too.
Yes the kit were offering at the $499 level will be Xbox ONE compatible. We're going to ask all our backers at that level (complete kit) if they want the system with Xbox ONE compatibility, or the original Xbox 360 laptop kit. If you select the Xbox ONE option it will likely take us a bit more time to deliver your reward, based on Microsoft's general availability and ship dates on the Xbox ONE.
We use a STANDARD, UNMODIFIED Xbox 360 Slim. There is ABSOLUTELY no modification to the firmware/software of the Xbox. There is ABSOLUTELY no modification - hardware or software - to allow illegal or copied games to run. We WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES mod any Xbox boards. We are simply providing an Xbox->Laptop conversion kit, which is the same thing that well known modders have been doing for 5 years and are doing even now. We are not modifying the Xbox firmware, software, any games, any peripherals, controllers - NOTHING. When the Xbox 360S is opened by you or by us to place it in the Darkmatter chassis, the Microsoft warranty is voided as per their guidelines.
Support this project
- (30 days)