While we’re all accustomed to computers control our cars systems, this home-made mobile computer is unusual enough to warrant a mention. using a system based on based on the Via's EPIA MII 12000, Luca Barzelogna, president of the Italian Vespaonline Association, has converted his vintage Vespa scooter into the VESPA-PUTER.
It is being used to provide navigation and wireless communications for Barzelogna’s Vespa as he takes part in the ‘Raid of the Desert’ taking place between October 2-17. During this time 24 members of Vespaonline are making a 3,500 mile trip across America, through California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, entirely on their Vespa scooters.
The EPIA based computer features a low power Via Nehamiah processer running at 1.2GHz. As you can see from the picture, instead of a regular hard disk a 800MB flash based hard drive has been used so there’s no waiting around to boot the system. Because of the limited space, Windows 98 has been used instead of a more modern operating system.
Slim enough to fit on the stepboard, the system is equipped with dual hard drives and an eight inch touch screen monitor mounted on the handlebar for mouse-less operation while driving.
The VESPA-PUTER may not be the most elegant mix of vehicle and computer, but the platform was chosen as it's considered rugged enough to withstand the arduous journey. Luca commented, “I specifically chose the VIA EPIA MII 12000 for the VESPA-PUTER because of its wide range of connectivity options as well as its high levels of performance and stability essential on a journal such as this.”
The computer system serves as a GPS navigational system, but in case you're thinking he could have made do with a Tom Tom Go, the machine also provides full Internet access as well, either though a wireless network in built-up areas, or via satellite phone in the remote areas. The VESPA-PUTER is also equipped with a USB web camera allowing Luca to upload real-time images of his journey to the Vespaonline website.