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Open Source Hardware Projects, 2009 77

ptorrone writes "MAKE's yearly open source hardware guide is now online with over 125 projects in 19 categories. The creators of all of these projects have decided to publish completely all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings, and 'board' files to recreate the hardware. They also allow any use, including commercial. In other words, you can make a business making and selling any of these objects. This is similar to open source software like Linux, but hardware-centric."
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Open Source Hardware Projects, 2009

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  • by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @06:44PM (#30417996)

    Look under the "religious" projects. Finally a Christmas card that looks more geeky than the "iphone with cardboard" posted earlier on /.

    • Look under the "religious" projects. Finally a Christmas card that looks more geeky than the "iphone with cardboard" posted earlier on /.

      Don't make one for anyone who's not local - either the TSA or the Post Office will arrest you for being a terrorist if that gets anywhere near either of them.

  • About 2 years ago I built a 68000 full hardware and software board in my second year of college. I wrote the firmware in ASM and had to then reprogram the ASM to Srecord and yes that's reprogram not just use a converter. The board was wire wrapped which took more time then I want to remember. Over all a fun project it took a total of about 6 weeks and we had to reprogram the ROM about 100 times because the rom burner was broken but no one knew till I suggested.
  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @07:23PM (#30418262)

    A home-brewed cell phone jammer, long distance TV turner-off'er, and an Area Effect Sickness Generator. MAKE is clearly pandering to the Got-Stuffed-In-Their-Lockers-A-Lot-In-High-School crowd...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > Area Effect Sickness Generator

      4chan isn't a hardware device.

    • Long distance TV turner-offer is the opposite of sociopathy. RF jamming has a lot of interesting and enlightening uses; it's also apparently a super-advanced project. The Area Effect Sickness thing is sociopathic, unsurprisingly considering it's modeled after a device engineered for crowd control by the government.

  • Make magazine (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Ah Make magazine. Sadly this journal is so difficult to find here in Australia, and when you do, the cost is so astronomically expensive per issue that anyone who can afford it can just go and buy off-the-shelf stuff and probably has no need to make their own on the cheap anyway. Well that is the feeling that always springs to mind :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You might want to look at their subscriptions, for Australia its about 49 USD for 4 issues the last I checked. Or even the digital version for 5 USD for 4 issues.

      PS: I not way endorsing them, I have no comment on whether I like or hate them.
    • Re:Make magazine (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @07:40PM (#30418352)

      Make is not about making stuff cheaper than off-the-shelf, so if the price of mag puts you off, you're not going to make anything with it anyway. The idea behind Make is a form of self-empowerment, to understand hardware and to enable individual constructions. One-of prices are always going to be much higher than the price of mass-produced merchandise.

      • by sznupi ( 719324 )

        I can't fully agree - many of the projects in this story simply aren't mass produced. Few of them that can be bought off-the-shelf (robotic arm? UAV?) are quite expensive there, targetting niche markets, and not consumers.

  • Buzz-Word Bingo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @08:03PM (#30418470)

    The creators of all of these projects have decided to publish completely all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings, and 'board' files to recreate the hardware.

    Why must everything be labeled "open source?"
    Plans and projects for the technically-minded hobbyist are at least as old as Popular Mechanics, first published in 1902.

    • by moonbender ( 547943 ) <> on Saturday December 12, 2009 @08:16PM (#30418544)

      Because unlike a Popular Mechanics article, you're allowed to re-publish identical or modified versions of these guides and the attached sources?

    • Negating accidental 'Redundant' moderation. Sigh.

    • by yuhong ( 1378501 )
      It came from software. Software sharing was common until people decided that they want to make money from software by stopping it, effectively creating artificial scarcity. One of the first attempts was the Open Letter to Hobbyists, published back in 1975 by Bill Gates. By 1983 it got to the point where Stallman had to start the "free software" movement to get the freedom lost by this back. It was later that the term "open source" was invented.
      • All the minicomputer and mainframe companies in the 60's and 70's had huge users groups and distributed user contributed software.
        Digital's Decus was IMHO the greatest organization and distributed megs of software. Languages, editors, communications, games.
        All were available for free. Hardware manufactures saw this as a plus as it would only run on their hardware.
        Then, Microcomputers and microprocessors, supplied by manufactures that had no tied-in (other then an a chip ) to the customer base appeared.
        At t

        • by yuhong ( 1378501 )
          Yep, it was reported that some of the Altair BASIC code by MS that the Open Letter to Hobbyists were about was copied from one of these user groups, creating exactly the situration that the GPL was supposed to prevent.
  • ...we can add "swag optimization" to "search optimization". Except, Microsoft has nothing i want!

  • Can Open Source Hardware Work? Banzi seems to think so via []
  • The Arduno cult is about branding, not technology. The CPU is an ATMega 128, a good little microcontroller. Boards for that CPU have been available for years. I was using this one [] years before the cult. It's Atmel that made this all possible, by building a microcontroller that requires very few external components to program and debug.

    The Arduno people have their own language and terminology, talking about "shields" (daughterboards) and such. Too cult-like.

    • by Sephollyon ( 831138 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @09:19PM (#30418826)

      The "Arduino" is innovative in the way it's packaged and used. I'm not much of a hardware guy, but I looked into microcontrollers like six or seven years ago and was pretty much scared away. The Arduino has made entry into the world of microcontrollers very easy and lets people get really creative without a steep learning curve. Rather than just getting a microcontroller to work, you can think about what you can hook up to it and the software, which is great for software nerds like me who have little experience in hardware. Before this the most I had done was build a kit distortion pedal in high school. If you know how to write simple programs, that same level of hardware knowledge can now be used to do far more interesting and useful things.

      • by nf0 ( 214122 )

        I agree with you. I looked into micro controllers six or seven years ago and thought the same thing. Now with some much going on with Arduino and some many cool projects out there, I'm finally going to jump in and start doing instead of just reading.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Animats ( 122034 )

        I looked into microcontrollers like six or seven years ago and was pretty much scared away.

        The Arduno's ecosystem has helped in that area. There was a previous generation of microcontrollers with hobbyist support, the PIC and the Basic Stamp. Those devices were getting rather dated; the Basic Stamp is descended from a 1970s National Semiconductor part. Moving to Atmel's ATmega128 was a step up, with 32-bit registers and a hardware multiplier. The industrial world made that step up a decade ago, but th

        • Re:The "Arduno" cult (Score:4, Informative)

          by compumike ( 454538 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:55PM (#30419688) Homepage

          (Actually, not 32-bit -- it's all still 8-bit, except for the AVR32 line which is another set of chips altogether.)

          You're right, there was a lot lacking and people could be "scared away" from getting started with microcontrollers, but what we're trying to do with NerdKits [] is make it less scary without hiding the complexity or the conceptual learning. Our hypothesis is that people are actually smart enough to handle real tools, if you show them how, and will be far better off with that experience. Guide newbies through looking at the datasheet, setting registers, etc. Add some unique content [] that really makes you use your brain, and we've got a lot of very happy customers!

      • I don't know if it's popular in the US but it is in the UK and Australia. It's a series of super-easy PIC controllers that are very cheap and programed in a version of BASIC though a serial port, no special programmer circuitry required. They have A to D inputs and servo control outputs. They are great for school projects and Silicon Chip magazine always has lots of project articles for them. See []
    • Choosing an odd word to name an interface specification doesn't qualify its users as belonging to a 'cult'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bhtooefr ( 649901 )

      The Arduino is all about the "cult," however.

      That "cult" has created an ecosystem around the ATMega8/168/328 - in fact, what makes the Arduino so interesting isn't the hardware, or even the shields (although they are nice - a de-facto standard for expansion,) it's the software. The software reduces the barrier of entry to microcontroller programming drastically.

      You can make an Arduino that doesn't use their hardware at all, only their software, and get quite a lot of the benefits. In fact, there are officia

  • I consider my model airplane design open source because I made the plans available. People have built them all over the world and have added revisions to the plans. Is that what makes it open source? Here is the URL: []
    • yes, it is.
    • What makes it "Open Source" is giving away the plans, because "Open" means "interoperable" and "Open Source" means you can get the source, period, the end. Bruce Perens and the OSI would like you to believe it means something else, but it had an established meaning before Mr. Perens even claims to have coined the term.

      Your airplane design is "Free" if you permit redistribution of [un]modified plans for any purpose. But even those plans in popular mechanics were Open Source — and you can still get acce

  • I couldnt help but notice that there are no 3g based projects. I know that many (not all) of the 3g chipsets that you need to build any product are covered under extremely restrictive NDA.

    However, I had really hoped that there would be atleast one

    Note: OpenMoko does not disclose its 3g firmware ( Upgrading the modem's firmware is technically possible but no proper software is currently legally available to users outside Openmoko staff
    • And the FCC wouldn't certify a baseband that you can hack easily, because it can be hacked easily.

      I believe those NDAs are pretty much required by law, even if there weren't trade secrets they were trying to protect.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So, the FCC has no problem with hacking GSM, but not 3G?
  • Something like open design ? Or anything else ? Coining in the word "source" for things that aren't really related (i.e.: blueprints) only causes confusion. When I think of "open source hardware", I might think about VHDL or Verilog, but not really blueprints.

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