Hey, let's invent this immediately!!! Answered
OK folks, how hard can this possibly be?
Yeah, yeah, I know. Probably REALLY hard. But if we all team up and combine our gray matter, can't we overcome any technological obstacle with our collective geekiness?
I want to see an affordable, open-source doodad that can turn an LCD from a dead laptop into a working external flatscreen monitor. It should accept digital & analog signals and allow us all to hack up beautiful screens ready to embed in our brilliant projects, while keeping LCD's out of the landfill.
punish3r valiantly went down this road: https://www.instructables.com/id/Laptop-Converted-to-2nd-Monitor/
but then ended up "cheating" (his words, not mine) by using software that does most of the work (plus he started with a functional laptop!). Discussions I've read usually end with "you'd have to buy a controller for that specific LCD, which would cost almost as much as a regular flatscreen so what's the point?"
I reject this (resting on my laurels of ignorance)! If a controller truly exists for every LCD on earth, don't they share lots of common features? And if so, can't we come up with a generic one that could be programmed or dip-switched or soldered or otherwise persuaded to play nice with any LCD on the playground? Even the weird one by the monkey bars who smells like cheese? (Sorry; stretched my metaphor too far and it broke)
I envision a circuit board with PC or even TV "in," an amazingly versatile multi-pin adaptor or cable that would replace or connect to that flimsy little ribbon cable sprouting from the LCD. The board would have a USB plug for programming, and a chip smart enough to remember what you tell it. Some smart person will write a nifty app that talks to the board, and vast legions of techies across the globe (or rogue employees of the LCD manufacturers, perhaps?) will upload specs for all of their LCD panels that will be used by other smart people to create a profile for any given panel that can be dropped onto the board.
It would have to be really low-cost to make sense, but I envision a cottage industry: package it up as a kit, or we could build goofy-looking monitors out of e-waste and sell them!
Somebody else could probably strengthen the argument in favor of this invention by providing a list of terrible LCD ingredients that would be re-purposed out of our trash heaps and water supplies and cat food... I'll leave that up to the experts.
What do you think, folks? Is this a pipe dream, or a viable idea? Either way, let's do it!
(and if anybody manages to make one, I get dibs on a prototype!)
Thanks for reading!