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Open source hardware


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Open source hardware refers to computer and electronic hardware that is designed in the same fashion as free and open-source software. Open source hardware is part of the open source culture that takes the open source ideas to fields other than software. An example of this is the Simputer project.

Some of the impetus for the development of open source hardware was initiated in 2002 through the Challenge to Silicon Valley issued by Kofi Annan. Because the nature of hardware is different than software, and because the concept of open source hardware is relatively new, no exact definition of open source hardware has emerged.

Because hardware has direct variable costs associated with it, no open source software definition can directly be applied without modification. Instead, the term open source hardware has primarily been used to reflect the use of free/open source software with the hardware and the free release of information regarding the hardware, often including the release of schematics, design, sizes and other information about the hardware. The freely released information includes the hardware design and element distribution on the motherboard (i.e. a notebook where one can replace elements.)

With the rise of reconfigurable logic devices, the sharing of logic designs is also a form of open source hardware. Instead of sharing the schematics, HDL code is shared. This is different from free/open source software. HDL descriptions are commonly used to set up SoC systems either in FPGAs or directly in ASIC designs. HDL modules, when distributed, are called semiconductor intellectual property cores, or IP cores.

Notable projects and collections

Computers and Computer Components

Designing the CPU itself

There are several "open source hardware" CPUs, typically implemented as a soft microprocessor.

  • OpenSPARC is a project with an already created UltraSPARC T1 multicore chip by Sun Microsystems. As of August 2007 a T2 chip is also in the pipeline Sun's OpenSPARC
  • OpenRISC is a group of developers working to produce a very high performance open source RISC CPU.
  • LEON is an open source 32-bit SPARC-like CPU created by the ESA. It's the standard CPU for the European Space Industry.
  • coreboot
  • F-CPU, Freedom CPU project initiated in mid-1998.

Designs that Include a CPU

Graphics cards

Open computers

  • Bug Labs - Produces BUG, an open DIY consumer electronics device platform comprising of BUGbase mini-Linux computer and various BUGmodules, functional components such as camera, accelerometer, motion detector, touchscreen LCD, and GPS
  • ECB AT91 - Single-board computer based on the Atmel AT91RM9200 ARM9 processor (180 MHz).
  • ECB ATmega32/644 - Single-board computer based on the Atmel ATmega32/644 (20 MHz) with webserver-capability and less than 100mA power consumption
  • Open OEM - Project to build the first open source computer
  • Simputer - handheld computer aimed at developing countries

Open wireless hardware

  • opensensor An open platform (software/hardware/teaching) for wireless sensor networks
  • OpenPattern
  • Sun SPOT is an open source hardware and software platform for sensor networks and battery powered, wireless, embedded development.

Network reconfigurable cameras

  • Elphel, Inc. - Imaging Solutions with Free Software and Open Hardware. All PCB layouts, socket diagrams and FPGA Verilog sources are available under GNU/GPL license. Elphel's wiki.

3D Printers

Laptop case

Electronics

Audio Electronics

  • Aurora - a dual channel USB-powered mixer with two linear faders, one crossfader, eight backlit buttons and 24 potentiometers, all built around a PIC 18LF4525 microcontroller.
  • x0xb0x - a Roland TB-303 clone
  • Monome 40h - A reconfigurable grid of sixty-four backlit buttons, used via USB. A limited batch of 500 monome 40h has been produced. All the design process, design specifications, firmware and PCB schematics are available online
  • OpenStomp, the world's first open source guitar effects processor
  • Daisy - An open source MP3 player

Telephony

Other

Machines and tools

  • The Multimachine, an open source machine tool project.
  • Build-It-Solar - Plans and tools and information to do renewable energy and conservation projects.

Medical

Organisations

  • Open Hardware (OH) is a project in which hardware designers share their work by disclosing the schematics and software (drivers) used in their designs. Open hardware designers meet, discuss what they ar and ask each other for assistance in finding parts, or seek ideas to solve design problems. OH is also an opportunity to exhibit designs, so some may learn from what others have done.
  • OpenCores is a foundation that attempts to form a community of designers to support open-source cores (logic designs) for CPUs, peripherals and other devices. OpenCores maintains an open-source on-chip interconnection bus specification called Wishbone.

Renewable energy

Vehicles

Other Projects

Organisations

  • Open Hardware (OH) is a project in which hardware designers share their work by disclosing the schematics and software (drivers) used in their designs. Open hardware designers meet, discuss what they ar and ask each other for assistance in finding parts, or seek ideas to solve design problems. OH is also an opportunity to exhibit designs, so some may learn from what others have done.
  • OpenCores is a foundation that attempts to form a community of designers to support open-source cores (logic designs) for CPUs, peripherals and other devices. OpenCores maintains an open-source on-chip interconnection bus specification called Wishbone.
  • Open Hardware Foundation
  • Thinkcycle

Events

OpenTechSummit in Taiwan with participants from Asus, Intel, Openmoko, Openpattern, Freifunk.net

 




Information from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License








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