I've always been partial to touch-screen interfaces. Touch-screens are intuitive, flexible and really cool looking. I've already automated my apartment, using X10 to control a few lights and an A/V switching systems from a web interface. But its a pain to have to load up a browser every time you want to turn on the lights. I've always wanted a nice screen that could sit on a coffee table and let me control these devices with a few clicks. The system should also be flexible enough to add new features and be programmed by any of my computer literate roommates (and operated by the semi-literate ones). Alas pretty much everything with a touch-screen was out of my price range and not very customizable.
ETC is a combination of inexpensive ($50) surplus touchscreen computers, some custom software and a tiny Linux distribution. Once the tools are assembled ETC becomes a touchscreen terminal, fetching images from a host webserver and presenting them to the user. Since all the work is done on the webserver, ETC can be programmed using any dynamic web scripting langauge. ETC is easy to configure, yet virtually unlimited in its uses. Best of all, ETC is Open Source and free to use, abuse and extend.