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Headless Ghost is a display emulator (dummy plug) that fits discreetly in to a HDMI socket.
Headless Ghost is a 4K display emulator (dummy plug) that fits discreetly in to a HDMI socket.
Headless Ghost is a 4K display emulator (dummy plug) that fits discreetly in to a HDMI socket.
545 backers pledged £8,157 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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£8,157

545

It fixes a problem you probably didn't even know you had - unlocking the full potential of your graphics card hardware.

By simulating the presence of an attached display, Headless Ghost allows you to use all of the power and available resolutions locked away inside your graphics hardware, which might otherwise be disabled when there is no screen available.  

What does it do?

When attached, a Headless Ghost emulates the presences of a high resolution display, this enables the GPU hardware and unlocks a range of resolutions to work with. The Headless Ghost fits directly into an HDMI socket and will work with mini HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI outputs using readily available adaptors. NB: Some passive DisplayPort adapters do not the full range of HG resolutions. 

 Great! Why would I want that?

Many computer systems do not enable their GPU hardware when there is no display attached; a well documented issue amongst the Mac Mini and Intel HD graphics user bases. Having a dummy plug like the Headless Ghost attached fully enables the GPU which allows for:

  • Hardware accelerated remote desktop access at high resolutions

  • Running software which requires the presence of a graphics card without a display

  • Fully utilizing GPU hardware for GPGPU tasks such as crypto currency mining, rendering and simulations

  • Ensuring the correct display mode on a media centre PC when used with a AV receiver or switch that doesn't pass EDID correctly

  • Taking screenshots at resolutions not support by your real monitor (e.g. Retina or 4K)

Specification

  • Supports resolutions from 800x600 all the way up to 4096x2160 (4K!)

  • Operating system and software agnostic - works with Windows, OSX, Linux and just about anything else

  • Requires no drivers, configuration or power supply - just set it and forget it

  • Manufactured on black PCBs, with a gold corrosion resistant finish, in the UK

  • Appears as a headless ghost display in the OS graphics properties window for easy identification amongst other displays

  • Programming port - exposed programming pins on the board allow for new EDID data to be easily downloaded into the Ghost's memory

  • Open source - design files for the Headless Ghost will be available after the Kickstarter has ended

Banana for scale
Banana for scale

Who are you, anyway?

My name is Dev and I’m a creative technologist living and working in London. I have a background in product design engineering and a penchant for problem solving.  Day to day, I develop and build technologies at random.international, a studio exploring art, technology and science - as such I have years of experience designing and managing the production of electronics.

Why did you develop the Headless Ghost?

I spend a lot of time working with computers that have no monitor attached to them and became frustrated at being forced to work in a VNC window the size of a postage stamp. After some searching, I found that lots of other people were running in to the same sort of issues - be it for plain old remote desktop, running specialist software on embedded computers which requires the presence of an OpenGL or Direct3D device, trying to get a Mac Mini or Intel NUC to behave itself as a media centre PC, or enabling lots of powerful GPUs for LiteCoin mining or Folding@Home. I found there wasn't a straightforward way to get around the issue - thus - the Headless Ghost was born.

Headless Ghost isn't an exercise in getting bought by anyone, making lots of money or revolutionising the way we use computers. It solves a specific problem for a few people, and for once it was a solution that I felt like I could deliver. 

Reward Tiers

  • £1 - Thank you! Every pledge counts and your name will go on the supporters list on the website

  • £8 - Early bird special! 1x Headless Ghost, free shipping worldwide at a reduced cost for the first 20 backers!

  • £10 - 1x Headless Ghost, free shipping worldwide

  • £15 - 1x Headless Ghost with custom display identifier, free shipping worldwide (limited 50)

  • £17 - 1x Headless Ghost with limited edition Kickstarter case, free shipping worldwide (limited 20)

  • £19 - 2x Headless Ghosts, free shipping worldwide

  • £48 - GPGPU pack - 5x Headless Ghosts. Great for rigs with multiple GPUs being used for high performance computing, free shipping worldwide

  • £97 - Server farm pack - 10x Headless Ghosts. Great for taking care of lots of machines e.g. a rack of Mac Mini Servers, free shipping worldwide
 
Kickstarter Benefits

Worldwide shipping costs have been folded in to the Kickstarter Reward tiers - however as with all Kickstarter projects, this does not include customs fees, duties and other taxes that you might incur for importing goods into your state or country. After this initial run of the Headless Ghost, they will sell for £12/unit plus shipping.

Campaign backers will also have access to two special editions of the Headless Ghost.

50 Headless Ghosts will be made with custom display identifiers, so, they will show up as whatever you like in the operating system (up to 13 characters):

 20 Headless Ghosts will be made with a limited edition Kickstarter case:
Case prototypes are printed in grey resin; final cases will be laser sintered from white nylon
Case prototypes are printed in grey resin; final cases will be laser sintered from white nylon
 
Cases are narrow enough to not obstruct other ports
Cases are narrow enough to not obstruct other ports

Delivery Timelines

Prototyping and testing - DONE

Prototype 1A
Prototype 1A
Programming jig 1A
Programming jig 1A
Prototype 1B moved from stripboard to PCB
Prototype 1B moved from stripboard to PCB
Prototype 1B under test
Prototype 1B under test
1C --> 2C - smaller, faster to assemble, better value
1C --> 2C - smaller, faster to assemble, better value
Hand assembled batch of prototype 2C
Hand assembled batch of prototype 2C
Prototypes 1A, 1B, 1C & 2C
Prototypes 1A, 1B, 1C & 2C
Case prototypes fresh from the 3D printer
Case prototypes fresh from the 3D printer

Design for manufacture review - DONE

Checking for manufacturing defects
Checking for manufacturing defects
Program and verify EDID data
Program and verify EDID data

 Tooling and manufacturing quoted - DONE

Production panel files
Production panel files

Kickstarter Campaign preparations - DONE

Video shoot day
Video shoot day

After you take my money, what happens next?

Funds from backers will pay for tooling, set up costs and components to get the units built - by making a larger batch of Headless Ghost modules, the price can come down to £10/unit all in.

Thanks!

Website - garethweaver.com



Terms and Conditions

YOUR PLEDGE CONSTITUTES YOUR AGREEMENT TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, THEREFORE PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY.

1.The terms and conditions (the “Terms and Conditions”) detailed herein (the “Agreement”) apply to you, the donor (“you,” or the“Backer”), and your donation (the “Pledge”) made during the HeadlessGhost Kickstarter fundraiser campaign (the “Campaign”) for the HeadlessGhost HDMI display emulator module (the “Product”).

2.This Agreement shall apply unless the Backer and Go2Dev (D Joshi) (the “Designer”) have entered into a separate signed agreement applicable to the Pledge.

For the sales of the Product during the Campaign, the Backer will receive the following quantities of the product at the stated Pledge levels. Products that Backers receive as a reward for their pledge towards the campaign include shipping costs worldwide.


£10 - 1 unit
£15 - 1 unit with custom display identifier (up to 13 characters)
£17 - 1 unit with limited edition case
£19 - 2 units
£48 - 5 units
£97 - 10 units

After the campaign has ended, the product will the available through retail channels at the cost of £12/unit plus shipping. Distribution channels and pricing are subject to change without notice.

Limitation of Liability

3.The Designer is not responsible for anyloss, damage, loss of profits, claim, or injury, whether direct or indirect, of any kind, which has a connection with the use of, or interruptions in the use of, the product.

4.Clause [3]applies regardless of whether the grounds for such claim arecontractual, non-contractual liability, strict liability, or any other form of legal responsibility. Furthermore, this limitation applies regardless of whether the cause of damages lies within the control of the Designer or not, or whether the Designer by any act or omission is deemed negligent or to have acted or omitted to act with full insight of the risk for loss or damage.

5.Nothing in this Agreement removes or limits the Designer’s liability for death or personal injury.

Warranty

6.The warranty covers any defects in materials and workmanship ofthe Designer and/or the product, and islimited to the replacement of the Product. In the Designer’s solediscretion, it may (a) replace the Product with a new item of the same model, or (b) replace the Product with a new product of the similar specification, in circumstances where the Product is no longer available.

7.The warranty does not cover any of the following: damage caused by the user; spillages or moisture; neglect, abuse or misuse, including but not limited to the failure to use the Product for its normal purpose in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions for usage, failure to properly maintain the Product in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, and/or the failure to use the Product in 
accordance with the manufacturer's specifications; normal wear and tear; use of the product with incompatible or faulty equipment; unauthorised modifications; repairs conducted by unauthorised persons or service centres; accidents; or acts of God or any cause beyond the control of the Designer. Cosmetic defects, such as surface finish, and general wear and tear are not covered under warranty.

Third Party Rights

8.This Agreement shall not confer any benefit on a third party under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

Law and Jurisdiction

9.The Contract shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law and shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.


Risks and challenges

The Headless Ghost has been prototyped and proved to work but some additional testing and development is required to ensure that it can be manufactured and delivered efficiently on a larger scale. The module also needs to be tested with a wide range of different video hardware to weed out any bugs. Bug squashing takes time and while this has been accounted for, there can always be unforeseen issues which disrupt the delivery timeline.

For niche products like the Headless Ghost, there is always a risk that the market isn’t large enough to warrant a production run - crowdfunding the production of the Headless Ghost mitigates the risks associated with fixed cost tooling investments.

Production on any scale is fraught with challenges - component availability and lead times are in a state of constant flux and may impact the delivery timeline for the Headless Ghost modules - however - with this in mind, measure are in place to keep operations from straying too far from the schedule.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.61

    Thank you! Every pledge counts and your name will go on the supporters list on the website.

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    Pledge £8 or more About $13

    Early bird special! First 20 backers get £2 off the regular pledge tier
    1x Headless Ghost, free shipping worldwide

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    Pledge £10 or more About $16

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    Pledge £15 or more About $24

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    Pledge £17 or more About $27

    1x Headless Ghost with limited edition Kickstarter case, free shipping worldwide

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £19 or more About $31

    Twin Pack - 2x Headless Ghosts, free shipping worldwide

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £48 or more About $77

    GPGPU Pack - 5x Headless Ghosts. Great for rigs with lots of graphics cards that need enabling, free shipping worldwide

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    17 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £97 or more About $156

    Server Farm Pack - 10x Headless Ghosts. Great for taking care of lots of headless machines, free shipping worldwide

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Funding period

- (30 days)