Take advantage of open-source hardware

It does not always pay to design everything from ground up. Basing your product on a reference design or demo board can speed time to market. And on hobby projects using ready designs can help you so that you can concentrate using your time on the most interesting parts instead spending most of the time on the design yourself for all those part you consider not so interesting. Take advantage of open-source hardware article tells that open-source hardware offers an advanced start on your design. Open-source software complements open-source hardware. You may even want to share your improvements by making them open-source additions, as well. Article is available in both HTML and PDF version.


  1. fencing rules how often to put a post says:

    Please tell me it worked right? I dont want to sumit it again if i do not have to! Either the blog glitced out or i am an idiot, the second option doesnt surprise me lol. thanks for a great blog!

  2. Kenneth Signaigo says:

    I enjoy looking through an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Your Weekend Plans: Hardware Freedom Day

    Saturday, March 15th 2014. This is the third year for the event, which seeks to raise awareness about what Open Hardware is, and to encourage hackers and makers to share their own work with the world.

    If you want to see what’s going on near you there are events on every continent

    Hardware Freedom Day

    Hardware Freedom Day is a yearly celebration of Open Hardware! Every year since 2004 hundreds of teams have been celebrating Software Freedom Day, often showcasing Open Hardware in the process.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open Design. It is The Way.

    Open Design is Important

    When you talk about hardware there is almost always some software that goes into making a finished product work. Making the information about how a product works and how it is manufactured available to everyone is called Open Design; it encompasses both Open Hardware and Open Source Software. Open Design matters!

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Air Quality Egg shows power of open development

    An openly developed air monitoring device in an egg-shaped package raises a question. Can science work at public demand, or do scientists determine what people need?

    In the case of the Air Quality Egg, the public won the tug-of war.

    From start to finish, the project has been completely open: Anyone could participate, anyone could draft ideas and anyone could fund the project.

    A community effort composed of people across the world built the sensor using preexisting, open source technology. Most worked in their spare time, contributing whatever expertise or elbow grease they had.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Atmel Shows American Pride at White House Maker Faire
    Posted Aug 28, 2014 at 7:27 am

    “Today’s DIY is tomorrow’s ‘Made in America,’” President Obama proclaimed in his opening remarks at the White House Maker Faire in June of 2014. With the rise of open-source hardware like the Arduino Uno, the limits of innovation, manufacturing, and technology have become boundless. To commemorate the rise in DIY innovation, the White House sponsored its first-ever Maker Faire in Washington DC and invited makers of all ages from around the country to show off their innovations. Projects ranged from robotic giraffes to a mobile 3D printing fab lab—all of them demonstrated for President Barack Obama himself.

    These makers, as well as makers across the globe, have embraced the easy-to-use hardware and software of the Arduino platform, based on Atmel 8 bit (AVR) or a 32 bit (ARM based) microcontrollers (MCU). Cited for their ease-of-use, low-power, and high-performance capabilities, the AVR MCUs have enabled designers, inventors, and even school children to learn and innovate at a previously unheard of level. Atmel’s connection with the Arduino boards earned them an invitation to this year’s Maker Faire to see the variety of projects their MCUs have powered. EEWeb spoke with Sander Arts, vice president of marketing at Atmel, about his experience at the White House and how being involved in the maker community will enable the next generation of entrepreneurs.

    With the rise of Kickstarter campaigns and other crowd-funded tech projects, Atmel embraced the ever-growing DIY community as the new frontier for tech innovation.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Meet Matchstick, Mozilla’s $25 Chromecast alternative

    Is the world big enough for another streaming Internet dongle? Mozilla and Matchstick sure hope so, as they announce the first Firefox OS device that’s not a smartphone.

    Matchstick has made its hardware schematic available to all developers for free, part of its open platform promise.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open Source Hardware Explained – EEVblog #195

    Open your mind to Open Source Hardware.
    Dave gives you the low-down on what Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is, how it works, and some benefits of using it for your own projects.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Internet of Things: Engineering for Everyone

    The emergence of open-source development platforms, developed and maintained by dedicated volunteers, has effectively raised the level of abstraction to a point where nonexperts can now use these platforms.

    Not too long ago, the idea of open source was synonymous with “free,” because, of course, there is no upfront cost involved. That perception was successfully realigned, through education, towards “liberty,” the freedom to use the resource without cost.

    The distinction is important because, in order for open source to continue to grow, it requires those benefiting from it to contribute back to the project in some way — an action that clearly involves a level of effort and therefore contains an element of cost.

    The availability of open-source software and, more recently, hardware targeting embedded applications means that access to high-quality engineering resources has never been greater.

    The emergence of open-source development platforms based on popular microprocessors, developed and maintained by dedicated volunteers, has effectively raised the level of abstraction to a point where nonexperts can now use these platforms to turn their own abstract concepts into real products.

    Amazing opportunities
    With the potential to launch a successful commercial venture off the back of tinkering with some low-cost hardware in your spare time, it’s no wonder that open-source hardware is fuelling an entirely new movement.

    But more than that, it’s fundamentally changing the way new products are brought to market.

    Hacker was originally a term used to describe people who wanted to get under the hood of a product, and that invariably involved decompiling code to see how it worked or how it could be modified.

    Manufacturers reacted by making it more difficult to deconstruct a product, but there’s a new generation of manufacturer that is embracing the open-source ethos and actually allowing customers to modify the product post-sale.

    The benefits of this approach are that, if implemented well, a community rapidly builds up around the product, which shares hacks and modifications.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open-source hardware in the creative world

    The concept of open-source hardware is hardly new, but it has surely picked up steam in the last year, with everyone from individual makers and start-ups, to professional engineers and established electronics industry companies taking notice.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Future of Open Source Hardware

    Entrepreneurship and technological advances tend to choose the path of least resistance to reach a goal. In electronics, Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is a path of least resistance. Open source hardware will seep into commercial use and be supported by it, just as open source software has with the commercial support of Linux in embedded applications, Apache web servers, and the Android operating system.

    Commercial use of open source software (OSS) was adopted as a foundation in embedded design.

    OSS has widespread commercial benefits. Android, an operating system, negates the need to re-invent the wheel for mobile hardware manufacturers like Samsung and HTC. It also has a similar look-and-feel across all platforms, so users do not have to relearn the OS on a new device.

    A Different Kind of Integration

    High levels of integration in semiconductor chips accomplish a similar goal of providing ready-made solutions, especially when tested software stacks are provided. However, accessibility tends to be limited by lack of documentation or easily accessible support to masses of regular people. There simply isn’t enough manpower for any corporation to personally assist those approaching a steep learning curve. OSHW mitigates barriers not only by providing documentation at a lay-person’s level, but also with support forums. OSHW leverages the social aspects of the Internet in these forums, and includes sharing experiences, information, and advice. Commercial business models are struggling to harness the social benefits of the Internet, with most efforts only focused on marketing. Those who have gotten a board up and have completed a project or two, have a wealth of knowledge that enables them to direct others, informally improve documentation, identify bugs, and suggest fixes. And hours spent working on a problem seem more valuable when the solution is shared.

    However, with restrictions around patented and proprietary processors, the future of OSHW will be driven by the opportunistic semiconductor companies. The level of openness matters. OSHW will also be driven by the intensely creative and nascent Maker community, by the foresighted in academia, and by the altruism found in human nature.

    OSHW is also shifted by the market trends that drive processors, and by low cost. Low-cost translates to accessibility, since hardware cannot be shared as freely as code. But OSHW goes where the usual business models do not go, enabling what we have not seen before, which includes areas ripe for altruism, such as in Medical and Education.

    OSHW, as an open source model, is a framework on which to share ideas, and therefore a crucible to mix ideas from many diverse streams of information coming from businesses, individuals, artists, and both users and contributors from multiple professions and experiences…..all applied to electronics hardware. OSH W provides an approachability-factor that enables the confidence of non-engineers (and not just students) to dabble and create. This is new; a kind of electronics democracy. Successful OSH W projects retain the culture of academia where much was fostered, for the express purpose of inviting accessibility for learning embedded hardware.

    So what is the future for open source hardware? It may seem obvious, but the future brings more open source projects that further enable current technology.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Comparison of Open Source Hardware

    This article presents a comparison of open source hardwares, which is the Intel Galileo and Raspberry Pi development boards. It describes the different applications of the boards, the cost, performance, as well as its major differences such as processors and on-board features, peripherals and utilities, and its general-purpose I/O’s.

    The Intel Galileo and the Raspberry Pi (RPi) are both do-it-yourself (DIY) electronics hardware development boards featuring embedded processors. RPi is loosely labelled as open source in this article, but it does not qualify as open source hardware per the strictest standards, since some of the chips on the board are notoriously difficult to get support for, rendering deep control impossible and cobbling creativity in the process. Realistically speaking, the highest levels of openness for hardware would include an open core, and yet many products claim to be open source hardware that go up to, but do not include, total control of the processor. Additionally, although RPi is a wonderful educational and media processing tool, RPi cannot be reproduced freely, as there is a copyright on the RPi schematics. Manufacture of the board is limited to a couple of licensees.

    It’s not really fair to compare RPi to Galileo, since the choice should be based upon the goal of the project. Here we detail similarities and differences so that decisions can be made indirectly prior to purchase.

    Galileo has a new, memory-rich and powerful processor (Quark) and is compatible with existing Arduino open source hardware (OSHW)

    OSHW began in academia. OSHW was developed as a hopeful effort to provide a simple means for education in embedded hardware, where none (at least not low cost, nor as well-documented) had existed before, post-Heath Kit. OSHW has become better known, more widely dispersed, and is rapidly growing since it became more modular (much like chunks of code in Open Source Software) via singular manufacturing entities such as Arduino. Not only are sources openly accessible, but hardware is ready-made and pieces can be simply bolted together. Detailed expertise in technology is not required for implementation.

    The Galileo board sports a 400MHz Pentium-class System-on-a-Chip (SoC) called “Quark,” that was made by Intel cooperatively with Arduino. (Galileo is compatible with existing Arduino shields that fit the Arduino Uno R3.) RPi is normally clocked at 700MHz, but is easily overclocked


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