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hacksugar: Make your own iPad car kit

If you're going on a car trip and want to bring your new iPad along for the kids as you ride, you might want to consider putting together a super simple presentation system that fits easily onto any existing seat back or can be slung between the two front seats.

Behold the iBag, which TUAW discussed briefly back in a March post about cheap accessories. A few enhancements will transform your iBag into the perfect iPad presentation system; it's a veritable iPad car kit!

Here are a few points to keep in mind when creating and using your iBag car kit:
  • Duct tape will ensure the integrity of the holes that you punch into the zip bag. You can add those holes with a simple, paper-style hole puncher, by the way.
  • Next to duct tape, Velcro is man's best friend. Use Velcro cable wraps (complete with hooks and eyes) to connect your bag to the headrest or to a between-the-seats hanger.
  • Make sure the close tab is up when the bag is closed. This lets you unzip just enough to connect your car sound system to your iPad's audio jack without losing the extra side support from the bag. (I personally use a jack-to-cassette player adapter.)
  • Yes, you can touch the iPad screen through the bag. It's the magic of capacitive interfaces in action! (And yes, it's not as great as touching the screen directly.)
  • Make sure you rent your movies before you leave home because, as a rule, hotel and motel Wi-Fi service kind of stinks. It took us nearly three hours to rent Pokemon 2000. (That's not an endorsement of the movie ... seriously.)
With this simple car kit, you'll be able to amuse your school age children for as long as a full-length movie. The cost to put it together? Under a buck. Setting the audio system to only play in the back seats as they watch? Priceless!

Materials


To put this project together you'll need a freezer-worthy 1-gallon plastic zip-bag bag with at least one clear side (mine says "Hefty - 1 Gallon" on the reverse), duct tape (any color), a hole puncher, and a couple of Velcro-style cable wraps. I picked up my cable wraps at the dollar store but you can buy them online from any number of online retailers.

Steps

  1. Place the bag (also called "iBag") with the zipper closed and the zip-handle up on the right hand side. Make sure any writing is on the downward side of the bag. This ensures that the iPad can be placed in the bag with the home button to the left and the audio jack easily accessible at the top-right.
  2. Cut a length of duct tape to match the top of the bag and add it there, folded in half, so that both sides of the bag are reinforced.
  3. Punch two holes, one on each end of the duct tape.
  4. Thread a Velcro cable wrap through each hole.
  5. Install the modified iBag behind your car's front seats by wrapping the velcro around the headrest supports.
If you need to use dock-connector power with your iPad, you can cut a hole for it (you may want to reinforce it with duct tape) on the non-zipper side of the iBag.

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