TERES I assembly workshop this Saturday!

workshop

This Saturday 21st of October we will have TERES I assembly workshop!

Customers from Bulgaria who placed orders for TERES I DIY Open Source laptop will have their laptop kits ready and are invited to come and we assembly them together!

The assembly workshop will be in OLIMEX Training Building and will start at 14.00 o’clock.

No need to have Laptop kit to participate, everyone is welcome to join us.

Hardware Hackathon June 4th at OLIMEX training building

MAP

Here is map how to get to us tomorrow. Normal path from Boulevard “6-ti Septemvri” which is being reconstructed more than year is marked with blue.

Do not take this route with car. Walking is possible but adventurous 🙂

The new path is from Boulevard “Tsarigradsko shose”, right turn at “Kemera” street, then left and right to “Prohlada” street and left turn when you cross “Pravda” street.

The Hackathon starts at 11.00 o’clock . The goal will be to Do-It-Yourself this sweet board:

TUXCON

First we will speak a bit about the different electronic components which are used and how to solder them properly. Then we will assembly 100 kits and learn how to install Arduino IDE and program them.

We will experiment with capacitive buttons implementation – the Kitty nose. Then we will try to compose different melodies and upload them.

The Hackathon will end 17.00 o’clock and we will move somewhere to drink beer.

iCE40HX1K-EVB open source hardware FPGA board designed with KiCAD and working with ICESTORM FOSS toolchain first prototypes are ready and run!

ice40-1

ice40-2

iCE40HX1K-EVB is our first iCE40 FPGA which works with ICESTORM FOSS toolchain.

It’s 5×5 cm 4 layer board with iCE40HX1K on it, 512KB 10 nS fast SRAM, UEXT as programming connector, so you can program it with OLinuXino (which can run also the tool chain on it) or with Olimexino-328 or any other boards we have with UEXT.

The original ICE40 development board from Lattice has FTDI on it, which we skip as to program it you need just SPI signals to load the bitstream to the on board Serial SPI Flash. Having the sources we easily modified the programming part and now all our Arduino and Olimexino boards can load the code generated by ICESTORM.

All free iCE40HX1K singals are available on right angle bus connector, to this bus connector we designed 4 additional boards:

  • iCE40-ADC fast 100Mhz ADC with BNC input connector so you can make Digital Storage Oscilloscope with p to 512 KB buffer
  • iCE40-DAC fast 100Mhz DAC with BNC output connector will allow you to make DDS generator with odd forms using the on board SRAM
  • iCE40-DIO fast IO with level shifter  with programmable by I2C DAC threshold in range 1.5-5.5V, so you can capture digital signals with different levels making inexpensive Logic Analizer
  • iCE40-IO with VGA and PS2 keyboard connectors board

iCE40-IO will allow you to emulate small retro computers.

All additional modules are stackable and the bus pass through them, so you can stack more than one ADCs or more than one DACs etc if you need more IO.

Next week we will test all modules, make corrections (if necessary) and run production. The price of iCE40HX1K-EVB will be EUR 22.00 and if everything goes smoothly we will have them in stock by June 1st.

These same boards will be used in the Tuxcon workshop “First steps with FPGAs” on July 10th.

Hackaday published the talks and speakers for Belgrade Hardware Conference in April

hackaday-belgrade-official-logo-featured

Hackaday just published the talks and speakers for the Hardware Conference in Belgrade April 9-10.

I will present our Do-It-Yourself Hacker Friendly Laptop there, hopefully we will have working A64 model by then 🙂

Looking froward to see you there!

 

TuxCon 2016 – Free Open Source Software and Hardware event in Plovdiv is 9-10 of July

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TuxCon 2016 will be on 9th and 10th of July 2016 in Plovdiv 🙂

This year will be the third issue of this conference dedicated to Open Source Hardware and Software.

Many people are confused and think that Olimex is the organizer of TuxCon, which probably caused the mistake in the Hackaday article.

The real credits should be for the people who stand behind TuxCon organization and they are these 10 enthusiasts: Leon Anavi, Vladimir Dzhuvinov, Rangel Ivanov, Atanas Palavrov, Dimitar Gamishev, Stefan Saraev, Stoyan Germanov, Radoslav Kolev, Nikolay Apostolov, Tsvetomir Denchev.

We at Olimex are just helping as we love to support such even in our city.

As always the event will be free to participate, Friday 8th of July evening there will be traditional beer welcome party for the guests and lecturers.

On 10th of July in Olimex training building there will be traditional soldering Hackathon and FPGA basics course for beginners.

If you want to make talk at TuxCon send proposal to the organizers at info@tuxcon.mobi

 

RMS says: We need Free Digital Designs!

oli

Back in 1999 Richard Stallman had interview commenting on “Free Hardware” for Linux Today, where he says “freedom to copy software is social imperative, but freedom to copy hardware is not so important as hardware is hard to copy”

SO even man with such visionary as RMS didn’t understand quite well why people would have motive to make Free Hardware Designs (also known as Open Source Hardware Designs).

Somewhere else he also have said something like: “We do not need imperatively free hardware, but well documented hardware” to may write proper software for it. Looking from Software point of view he is probably right, but he was missing something important: Free/Open Source Hardware is not done just to allow other to replicate it. It serves much deeper goals.

  • Spreading knowledge – when people have access to the design files they can learn how the original author created this hardware and study the design from inside.
  • Getting vital feed back and improving the design – the author who opens everything can get free expertise from many other people who works on same problem and thus to combine the knowledge of the community about this. In long run product which is collaboratively developed is with better specs and features than the one who is done in closed company.
  • When your hardware is with open specs this gives your customer additional value – they know everything about your hardware, they are not dependent from single source of manufacturing, they can modify and customize for their need. All else being equal OSHW design will be preffered and gives more value to the customer.
  • By opening the designs you give access to the technology to casual people who can innovate and no need to be big companies with lot of money. Just have look at what 3D printing and Arduino did.

This is why it was nice to see the evolution with RMS view on the Open Source / Free Hardware which he published in Wired yesterday named: Why we need free hardware designs?

In this article RMS says:

We need free digital hardware designs!
Free hardware designs offer practical advantages. Multiple companies can fabricate one, which reduces dependence on a single vendor.
Having circuit diagrams or HDL code makes it possible to study the design to look for errors or malicious functionalities (it is known that the NSA has procured malicious weaknesses in some computing hardware).

If you design hardware, please make your designs free.

 

Although naming “Free Hardware Design” what we know more popular as Open Source Hardware, RMS correctly spots the advantages vs closed non-free Hardware Designs.

 

Elevate Festival and Open and Fair IT production, are we ready for it?

elevate

Elevate is free event made by non-for profit organization for Political discourse, Music, Art and technology.

The motto for Elevate is “Elevate – Open Everything”. Open Source fits well Elevate focus, as there were lectures for more Openness in everything around us.

I was invited to participate in Elevate 2014 which was in October 2014 with lecture about Open Source Hardware.

More about Elevate festival you an read on Elevate site: https://elevate.at/en/home/

You can feel the atmosphere browsing the albums with pictures from the two days Saturday and Sunday.

Video from the event is online.

It worths to watch it, as you can see how NSA spying on us is revealed:

nasa spy

Or learn about attempt to manufacture computer mouse with ‘fair’ technology.

mouse

By fair technology is understood technology which do not uses child labour, bad working environment and pay fair price for the labour.

Above is picture which NagerIT made in attempt to check if they can manufacture total Fair mouse. The green blocks are companies which use Fair technology, the other colors are companies/suppliers under investigation with unknown info.

This process is quite complex, for instance: if you use CABLE in your product to check the company which make cable and it’s supplier, in this case these are companies which make the plastic cable sleeve and the copper wire, then these new companies have to be check – the company which makes the plastic sleeve have suppliers for raw materials which came from oil industry and the company which makes the copper wire have supplier who make the copper and the supplier who make the copper wire laquer, then the company which rafine the copper ore, then the company which dig the ore. You can see what chain this is just for one component.

Nevertless this is good initiative and we wish NagerIT good luck. It’s step in the right direction.

During the Elevate festival I got invitation to visit Graz Hackerspace named Realraum and speak about what we do in Olimex.

realraum

Realraum is small and very well organized Hackerspace, where people run many interesting projects. You can read more in their wiki http://realraum.at/wiki/doku.php and G+ blog posts https://plus.google.com/+RealraumAt/posts.

We met in Graz lot of friends of Open Source Hardware.

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