About this project
We want to provide a simple and effective way for families to take back control of the online experience.
Traditional software or hardware solutions simply block kids from going to certain websites. This is inherently limiting and it also does not address what we believe is a key challenge with kids and the Internet: its addictiveness.
Social networks, apps, video sites and games... kids now have more chances than ever to skip their homework and play online. Parents have previously been relatively powerless to do anything about this - until now.
What is MiiPC?
MiiPC(tm) is a compact personal computing device that runs on the Android® operating system. Connect MiiPC to a computer monitor (or TV) and instantly turn it into a learning, media and entertainment station. It is designed for large screen connectivity and optimized to provide a true keyboard and mouse experience.
Running the latest version of Android's Jelly Bean 4.2 OS, the MiiPC user can surf the web, play games, watch videos, edit documents, and run Android apps. You can even let MiiPC be your host for a family movie night. Just hook up your big screen TV using our built-in HDMI output and use Netflix or other popular apps to watch your favorite flicks. Simply set up different user accounts for each person in your family and each user will have their own private MiiPC desktop.
Companion Mobile App (iOS and Android)
A companion mobile app provides parental control for MiiPC. You can set guidelines for kids' online activities and get real-time monitoring. Help keep your children safe and eliminate everyday hassles by defining who gets to use the device at what time and specifying the apps & websites that your kid can access.
Making sure your kids do their homework (and have time to play games too!)
Kids - and parents - often do not realize how much time they
spend on each website or app. Even more concerning a parent may not even
know what their kids have been doing online. There is an amazing wealth
of good and valuable information. But there are also a lot of places
you would never want your kids to visit.
MiiPC provides the necessary tools to help parents meet these challenges and create a safe and relaxed environment for your family computing.
MiiPC adapts to different ages of children really well. The built-in time management feature allows older children, such as those in high school, to become more productive by providing feedback on their usage. And for the younger kids mobile controls give parents the ability to structure a nurturing and safe environment with real-time monitoring.
Why we as parents needed to create MiiPC
We have created MiiPC as parents first. We want our children to enjoy the fruits of the internet, knowledge, apps at their finger tips and for them to relax playing suitable games. But we also don't want them watching disturbing videos or play violent games that could cause nightmares. You would think twice about letting young kids even see the darker Harry Potter movies, so why shouldn't you take the same approach online?
"Our mission is to create a simple and effective way for families to take back control of online experiences, letting MiiPC create a safe and relaxed environment for your family computing"
The Technical Bit
Desktop Computing Experience:
- Powerful and optimized for fast internet surfing, an accurate web experience (instead of mobile sites with big fonts) flash content support, customize your own desktop, drag & drop ... and more
- Large screen monitor that gives true desktop PC resolution (up to 1920x1080)
- Multiuser log-in for family members (or you can use this as a public kiosk for visitors)
- Super smooth movie and video playback using the latest Android Jelly Bean 4.2 OS
- Miracast Receiver - remote wireless display video feeds from Miracase enabled devices (tablets, phones) through MiiPC to the big screen (Monitor or TV)
- Free bundled productivity software such as KingSoft Office suite, Splashtop2 to connect to other PC or Mac, eReader, Multimedia players... and more
- Processor: Marvell® New Armada® Dual Core 1.2GHz SoC
- System Memory: 1GB/2GB* RAM DDR3 SDRAM (*if double memory option chosen)
- Storage: 4GB/8GB* Internal Flash (expandable via SD Slot and USB port)
#Update (5/1): We now offer the 2x Memory Upgrade* (2GB RAM, 8GB Flash) option to all backers for $15.
- Connectivity: WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), 10/100Mb Ethernet, and Bluetooth® wireless technology (4.0)
- I/O: 2 USB 2.0 Ports, Speaker & Microphone Jack, HDMI (1080p/720p) output , Built-in Mic (#Updated on 4/15)
MiiPC includes Main Unit, Power Adapter, and Quick Guide. (Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor and HDMI cable sold separately)
Here is what the press is saying about MiiPC
Our production schedule is as follows:
Our core management team collectively have more than 75 years as professionals in the computer industry. We have experience as founders of several successful startups. Our expertise spans hardware and software systems and consulting for large scale projects including some Fortune 100 companies. We designed these hardware and software (backend and apps) by ourselves and products shall be made in Korea. We know what it takes to bring a project home. And we all have families and kids - some are all grown-up and some are just starting out. So we certainly have firsthand experience in dealing with these problems.
Trademark Disclaimer: MiiPC(TM) and its logo are trademarks of ZeroDesktop, Inc. The Bluetooth® word mark is registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. Google and Android are registered trademarks of Google Inc. Marvell and Armada are registered trademarks of Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Other trademarks are those of their respective owners.
Risks and challenges
Making affordable computing has always been our vision. Our founder - Young Song has successfully co-founded eMachines, the low-cost computer brand that pioneered affordable PC ownership and Internet adoption for consumers, and NComputing that leverages PC power and cloud computing to create a shared computing resource that connects multiple users at a low cost. Designing projects and working with manufacturers to bring out products to the masses is in our blood. We founded ZeroDesktop Inc. 3 years ago to bring cloud computing and unified workspace to individual and families by building up our sophisticated back-end infrastructure which becomes the foundation of MiiPC infrastruture.
Today we have a fully functioning MiiPC device prototype completed with working server and client architecture. We're refining the MiiPC front end user interface. The app itself is nearly finished and we have already overcome the most difficult technical challenges.
Below are a couple of remaining challenges that we will tackle:
- Regulatory certification (e.g. CE, FCC)
We expect MiiPC will be shipped worldwide through the Kickstarter project. We will be required to go through necessary regulatory certifications such as CE and FCC for the regional market. Though we are familiar with the regulatory certification process, there could be risks that the certification may take longer than expect, which could potentially cause project delay.
- Procurement delay in certain electronic components
We have finalized our hardware bill-of-material for the MiiPC platform. Depends on the initial shipping volume, different electronic components may have different lead-time for different volume purchase. There could be risks that certain components may experience longer lead time than expected and potentially cause project delay.
We are passionate about this project. We are committed to providing the next generation family PC into your hands from July15th. So please go back to the top of the page and pledge now.
Thank you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Per the Kickstarter guidelines, your card will not be charged until May 9th, 2013 and then only if the project is fully funded. If the project does not reach its funding goal, your card is never charged. All funding details can be found on the Kickstarter link below:
It is pronounced ‘Mee-PC’. It is a play on the phrase “My PC” as we have implemented features to allow users to personalize their experience.
MiiPC is a real computer. You can hook up a keyboard and mouse and plug it into an external monitor or TV and begin using it. For Internet connectivity MiiPC comes with a built-in WiFi connection or you can plug in a standard network cable. MiiPC supports multi-user account access. Just login to your account, and you will see your MiiPC desktop. As the parent, you have admin privileges to register any number of kids or users in your family. You can monitor and control MiiPC activities real-time from anywhere through the MiiPC companion mobile app.
When the Parents register the MiiPC device for the first time, the device needs to be connected to the Internet in order to create the necessary user profile information in the MiiPC Guardian Cloud. After registration MiiPC can run without an active Internet connection. You can login, see your MiiPC desktop and run local Android apps. You just won’t have access to websites and any changes to user profile information will not be reflected until the next time MiiPC can connect to the Internet.
No. MiiPC uses the Android 4.2 Jelly Beans operating system. We have optimized the MiiPC user interface to use a keyboard and mouse and also to large monitors and TVs. MiiPC is designed to leverage the massive and growing Android ecosystem - huge amounts of available web apps and Android apps and online resources all providing a unique multi-user PC for the family.
Supported voltage is 110V to 240V. MiiPC will come with a standard US plug. So if you are outside the US you will need an adapter.
MiiPC keeps a record of your kids’ activities including what websites they visit and which Android apps they run. However, we certainly respect your privacy and absolutely will not share your detailed information with anyone. Only you, as the parent, can view your kids’ activity.
Yes! Google Play, providing access to over 700,000 Android apps, will be pre-installed on MiiPC. You can also add other Android Markets such as Amazon AppStore to MiiPC. And, for the more techie folks, you can manually install an APK from an SD card. And of course, the ability to install APKs is managed by parental controls.
Yes, MiiPC is designed for multi-user environment. As a device admin, you can define what local Android applications your users (e.g. your children) will have access to. If the admin does not want other users on this MiiPC device to access this particular logged-in application, the admin can simply disable this app access privilege for other users.
The MiiPC companion mobile app will initially be available for iPhones and Android Phones. We are looking into supporting other mobile platforms and also a web-based interface.
MiiPC is based on the same hardware engine as Google TV, you can stream multimedia content seamlessly on MiiPC through many popular video streaming apps and websites. It supports common music & video formats.
ABSOLUTELY!!! The companion mobile app comes with built-in time management feature allows older children, such as high-schoolers, to become more productive by providing feedback on their usage. The older children can monitor their online behaviors, set self-goal to cut down time spending on addictive web sites (e.g. Facebook) and stay productive online. And for the younger kids the parental controls give parents the ability to structure a closely guarded environment and also real-time monitoring.
Our primary focus has been directed towards our Kickstarter campaign. As you are our early adopters we want to be sure to give our Kickstarter fans the best price point!
When the Kickstarter campaign has concluded and we have fulfilled all of your orders we will then turn our attention to other distribution channels. After Kickstarter, MiiPC can also be pre-ordered directly from http://www.miipc.com at its regular retail price:
- MiiPC with 1GB (RAM)/4GB (Flash) memory combination will retail at $129
- MiiPC with memory double down upgrade 2GB (RAM)/8GB (Flash) will retail at $149
Yes, you can connect an external USB HDD to MiiPC for read/write access. Each MiiPC USB port supports up to 500mA of current and as long as the connected USB device doesn't exceed the max current it will be fine. Based on our initial testing on several external USB flash drives and USB HDD, they seem to work quite well.
FAT32, FAT, Ex3 and Ex4 file systems are natively supported by the Android kernel. On the Jelly Beans (4.2) platform, which MiiPC is running on, we have initially tested an external USB HDD that was formatted based on NTFS (Windows proprietary file system) and it is working correctly. We need to do more testing on different file systems to find out its compatibility with Jelly Bean, and will update our findings later.
In the meantime, we found an Android app Paragon exFAT, NTFS, HFS+ in the Google Play Market that can mount just about any file system type. This company has no affiliation with MiiPC.
Yes. Our chipset manufacturer has confirmed that they will be supporting Flash. We have been conducting tests on the current chipset and Flash works well.
We have tested many solutions in the market before we arrived at the MiiPC solution. Many Internet routers have built-in features to set time limits or block certain sites. However we see several challenges with this approach:
1) These types of Internet routers are often hard to setup. Typically it requires registering the MAC address for all of the different devices in the house. This means all the PCs, tablets, phones and laptops that you have must be defined in the router setup. This can be quite a challenge especially for non-techie busy parents.
2) An Internet router can be very easy to get around. Kids are very smart nowadays. They can easily skip the router by using your neighbor’s WiFi to get online. Or, they can temporarily replace the router with another inexpensive router thereby bypassing all the controls that have been established.
3) Lack of application monitoring & control. Typically a router can be configured to block data streams from specific website addresses (e.g. whitelist or blacklist). However, there is no way to control or limit time usage when apps are running offline. Some online games use non-standard ports which may be difficult for non-technical parents to determine and so will not be controlled. Many of these apps tend to be very addictive and without governance from the router.
MiiPC addresses these challenges with easy parental setup using our MiiPC Guardian Cloud for online & offline monitoring & control. Since the MiiPC parental controls are device specific then using different Internet connection options will not bypass the restrictions and monitoring features.
We will send a survey to all of our backers very soon after the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign. The survey will allow you to select your color and provide us with your shipping details.
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