The iPad is great as a consumer device, but it’s at least as great for museums and other places that need to display information to the public. Traditionally, touch screen kiosks have been specialized equipment that cost a lot of money and are often powered by individual computers which both up the cost and requires a lot of space. The iPad on the other hand is a touchscreen and computer combined in a very flat enclosure that doesn’t cost much, relatively speaking. A company called nClosures has seen the potential in this and has created a kiosk enclosure for the iPad, which both keeps it locked in place and prevents access to the home-button. All you need then is something to display – be it a dedicated app or something as simple as a web page or photos in the photo app.
This makes it very easy to set up a professional looking information kiosk, and it brings the cost down to a level that a lot of smaller museums and similar places will be more comfortable with. It’s not just such places either – this could be used to display bus routes in bus stops, special deals in shops, menus in restaurants etc. Imagine running after the ice cream van and seeing a touch screen ice cream menu on the side of the truck, or browsing hair styles on the wall in a hair salon while waiting for your turn. At $169 per enclosure and a $499 iPad on top it will still be cheaper to just use paper, but $670 for a complete programmable information kiosk isn’t bad at all.[nClosures via TUAW]