TechxArtisan's Openterface Mini-KVM Promises an Open Source Approach to Handling Headless Systems

Low-latency pocket-sized gadget delivers keyboard, HDMI video, and mouse control over a single USB cable to a host machine.

Gareth Halfacree
28 days agoHW101

Guangzhou-based TechxArtisan is looking to launch a compact keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) over USB gadget, providing full control over headless devices from a laptop or desktop over a single USB cable — and promises to make the hardware and software involved available under an open source license.

"Openterface Mini-KVM allows you to control a headless target device, such as a mini PC, kiosk, or server, directly from your laptop or desktop without needing an extra keyboard, mouse, or monitor," the company explains of its creation. "It's a plug-and-play tool that connects via HDMI for display and USB for emulated keyboard/mouse (HID) signals. It requires minimal setup: install our host application on your host computer, and you’re ready to have on-the-go headless control."

The idea is simple: slipping the Openterface in your pocket, along with HDMI and USB cables, lets you connect your laptop to any other computing device and view its video output while simultaneously sending video and mouse control signals — without having to carry a portable monitor and peripherals. Unlike software-based control systems, it works at any stage including in the BIOS or other setup system before the target's operating system loads.

What makes the Openterface really interesting, though, is that TechxArtisan pledges to make both the hardware and the control software available under an as-yet unspecified open source license — allowing others to iterate on the project and build their own. That, however, will follow a planned crowdfunding campaign which will help to fund hardware production and the development of the host software to include Windows and Linux compatibility alongside its current macOS release.

Some source code, but no hardware designs, has already been published to the TechxArtisan GitHub repository; interested parties can learn more on the company's website, and sign up to be notified when the crowdfunding campaign launches on Crowd Supply.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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