My general idea was to use one or more mac mini’s for the ‘heart’ of the installation, the main advantage being their compact size. Although not high-powered machines, they would likely contain enough processing power for my application (i think!).
I have been doing a little research into using multiple monitors with them, which through some brief searching, isn’t as easy as hoped. I currently have an older generation (2006) mac mini loaned from University, which only has 1 DVI output. The newer generation (2009>) mac mini’s do, unfortunately for me, support 2 monitor outputs.
Seemingly the only way to connect another monitor to the older generation of devices is through the use of a VGA splitter device, as detailed here. More info here and here. The main disadvantage of this looks to be a max resolution of 1024x768 per screen, which shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as I’d prefer to use as smaller monitors as possible, to constrain the potentially large size of the structure.
Tonight I have quickly experimented with using a second monitor with a (mac OS hacked) Dell netbook, which seems to work well. This will be considered through future development as a possible combination or alternative to the mac mini.
Another advantage to using the mac mini however, was the inbuilt bluetooth. I have tested the processing app on the netbook with a bluetooth USB dongle though and it seems to work fine - I had read about issues when using dongles with the bluetoothDesktop processing library, but it seems these don’t affect my setup.