We want to explore having a touch screen info kiosk where members/visitors could find out more about the church, see who staff and directors are, etc. I’m looking into a simple touch screen computer and using a basic website for content, but I’m wondering if anyone here has done a DIY kiosk.
Bay Presbyterian Church
Bay Village, Ohio
Hi Terry - Not quite. But we have been setting up CCB self-checkin stations for a while. At our newest location I am using Microsoft Surface tablets.
Still working on the locking them down aspect - had installed Reboot Restore Rx but was having some conflicts with it, so need to work those out with vendor or maybe move to DeepFreeze.
Windows 10 has a kiosk mode. Not sure how well it works but something to look in to.
We’ve done a few iterations of various kiosk use-cases. iPads with Guided Access, we’ve found, is a simple solution for staff to setup/teardown without needing IT involvement every time.
Even if you don’t need setup/teardown, they make a good kiosk. If you need a bigger screen I’d probably recommend something Linux running Chromium in app mode.
We did exactly what Jared recommends. We have three RasPi’s that boot into Chromium directly in kiosk mode. Two go straight to our DVR’s internal web link and have credentials saved so they auto sign-in. The third goes straight to our website, and has a touch screen that can be used to navigate the page. The two that go to our DVR are at our security desk and the church office entry room, which both have door buzzers to let people in off hours.
Here’s a sanitized Google Doc that I created outlining the process: Getting Started with RPi Kiosk - Google Docs
I tried to also generalize it a bit, but there may be some weird stuff that just wouldn’t apply to your use case. You can safely ignore it, or ask, and I’ll edit the master doc to reflect a more general model.
I used a similar technique for a digital signage solution a while back, but never really documented it. Great job!
Thanks! Ultimately, it’s a super cheap and flexible option that’s generally easy to maintain. We use a lot of Raspberry Pi’s for various tasks around our building. Documenting is my fall-back, because I’m the only one at my church that knows how these are configured, or how to do it again if I ever die randomly. I try hard not to leave my fellow trustees up a creek, so to speak.
We just built these kiosks. We considered using a Raspberry Pi, which we use for a lot of other kiosks, but we decided to use Windows 10 machines for 2 reasons.
- We wanted to use a touch keyboard for input, and the Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a great solution for that
- We wanted the extra horsepower of a W10 box so the webapp we use for a kiosk can use slick web animations
So we ended up using this hardware:
- Displays2Go stand
- Minix Neo
- 27" Planar helium touchscreen
Brother QL-820NWB (For printing guest name tags)
And we use RiseVision for software, so we can configure the webpage from the cloud.
The only complaint I have so far is that the Planar touchscreens are a little dim in natural light. I wish they were 350-400 nits. We also built one without the stand or label printer and using the Planar 24-inch variant, which was significantly cheaper.
We use Porteus Kiosk for our timeclock system, which is a lightweight linux based software that is super easy to setup. You can load it free using either Chrome or Firefox and even lock it down to only access specific sites. You can pay the added cost to keep it updated, but really it only takes a few minutes to run a reload with a config file if needed.
We just recently put in a set of 4 iPads in Bouncepad kiosk stands into our lobby. All are charging and are networked over Cat6. They look really good and get used for many different purposes. They replaced 2 large Windows touchscreen computers that were bought for the same purpose, but never fulfilled it. The iPad screens feel very nice and have taken the high traffic well.
This is a bit old now, I realize, I must have notifications turned off. For non-interactive or single-webpage (and that’s it) kiosks, I’ve used Linux, generally Ubuntu set to auto-login and auto-launch Chrome in kiosk mode, something like ‘/opt/bin/google-chrome --kiosk=“https://example.com/url”’. This is how we do a couple of our timeclock machines, both on touchscreen machines. Since I wanted software keyboard disabled due to the timeclock webpage layout, I just plugged in a USB number pad, but no keyboard or mouse. Works great.
For interactive kiosks, like our check-in machines, we have Windows 10 with a ton of GPO on them, plus I made an AutoHotkey script to intercept pretty much all non-necessary key presses. The Explorer.exe shell is replaced with a .cmd file that launches Chrome in kiosk mode, and while there’s a full keyboard + touchscreen so people can type on either, and a printer, etc., the only way out is ctrl + alt + delete and switch user. Ctrl+Q, alt+f4, etc. have all been disabled. As has locking the screen. The really nice thing about this setup is that IF they need to be momentarily used for something else, as most of the lockdown settings (like the AutoHotkey script and shell replacement via GPO) are user-specific. The other user setup on the machines is a local admin and has no real restrictions. Want to go back to kiosk? Just reboot.
Where are the printers in relation to the kiosks? Do you print to the classrooms?
The printer is that little white one there on the table next to it. It’s all network printing though; we don’t use USB. So theoretically we could put them anywhere. But we found it most intuitive for them to carry their security badges and nametags with them everywhere.
Our setup looks like this.
[Self promotion / Advertisement]
Hi. You may want to check out [www.kiosk24x7.com]. It is an Android application that is great for creating up to 3 forms as part of a DIY digital kiosk. Forms can be used for all sorts of things like prayer requests, congregation sign in, email registration for Church newsletter, etc. It works well on a 10" Android tablet, with the ability to lock the tablet down in “Kiosk Mode”.
The core application (branded as Journal 24x7) is free to download and test (great for testing form edit feature) from the Google Playstore. The kiosk features are $10/month with a free 7 day evaluation period. To license the kiosk trial - after installation select options (stacked 3 dots in upper right) and select either of the kiosk features at the bottom of the menu (should have a lock icon next to it). You need to make sure you select trial of “Kiosk” option and not “Professional” version.
There’s a few helpful things provided by this kiosk app that makes it a good fit for Churches to use as a kiosk:
- It allows you to brand the kiosk with professional looking greeting & thank you screen. The company that provides the software can help on this if you need help
- It allows you to setup up to 3 kiosk forms from a single kiosk
- It can work disconnected from the internet, and will not fail if WIFI goes away
- It can provide the data for excel spreadsheets or other 3rd party applications (e.g., member database)
To get started - you can view a bunch of tutorial videos here. The vendor just updated the software to make kiosk setup more intuitive - so there may be a disconnect between what you see in the videos versus the user interface.
To make this a professional kiosk - you will need to acquire a decent tablet stand (that fits your tablet selection). As easy as this sounds - it can be a little tricky because the stands don’t always have the best real estate when it comes to cabling the kiosk. We have a short list of products we have found work well:
Table top stand: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AX5U80S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Floor stand: https://www.amazon.com/Pyle-PSPADLK38-Anti-Theft-Display-Generations/dp/B00LP3E8TA/ref=pd_sim_229_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00LP3E8TA&pd_rd_r=f91c121d-ec2d-11e8-8842-7d002f82d6fa&pd_rd_w=F1QXd&pd_rd_wg=Mscvw&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=18bb0b78-4200-49b9-ac91-f141d61a1780&pf_rd_r=RGFRTTD1C938VXBAVMTM&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=RGFRTTD1C938VXBAVMTM
These options get you a nice stand & tablet for under $250 with the software costing around $100/year. We have found that a small physical modification (one drilled hole at the top of the stand) makes it easy to wire the above recommended tablet in the above recommended stand(s).
If you have any questions along the way - don’t hesitate reaching out to the software developer (firstname.lastname@example.org).