Open source hardware

Open source hardware

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. [ [ Kofi Annan's IT challenge to Silicon Valley - CNET ] ] 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 Licenses

* TAPR Open Hardware License

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. [cite web|title=The F-CPU Project|url= 070828] [cite web|title=Welcome to the Freedom CPU website !|url= 070828]

Designs that Include a CPU

*Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple I/O board and a development environment that implements the open source Processing / [ Wiring] language.
* SquidBee - Open Mote based in Arduino for developing sensor networks. []
* OpenBook - tablet design, positioning between $100 laptop and consumer Tablet PC´s price, which wants allow tablet usage to masses by high volume production.
* produces open ARM-based development boards, aimed at OEMs and further education.
* PLAICE - The PLAICE is an open source hardware and software project developing a powerful in-circuit development tool that combines in one device the features of a FLASH Programmer, Memory Emulator, and High Speed Multi-Channel Logic Analyzer. It runs uClinux.
* OpenPCD - Open RFID reader/writer project, using AT91SAM7S128 microcontroller. []
* ASoC (ALSA System on Chip).

Graphics cards

* Open Graphics Project aims to design an open architecture and standard for graphics cards.
* Project VGA [ [ Wacco Webstack - Home of Project VGA, the Low Budget, Open Source, VGA Compatible video card ] ]

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 [ [ Mobile Devices: opensensor ] ] An open platform (software/hardware/teaching) for wireless sensor networks
* OpenPattern [ [] ] [ [ Holistic ICT for EcoLiving » Open Hardware Router ] ] [ [,289202,sid39_gci1204142,00.html Open source router challenges proprietary networking market ] ] [ [ Halfbakery: Open Source Hardware Initiative ] ]
* Sun SPOT is an open source hardware and software platform for sensor networks and battery powered, wireless, embedded development. [ [ spots-hardware: Home ] ] [ [ SunSpotWorld - Home of Project Sun SPOT ] ]

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

* The RepRap Project: An open source, self-replicating 3D printer
** [ The Clanking Replicator Project: An open source, self-replicating 3D printer] - RepRap variant
* [ Fab@Home] - An open source Desktop manufacturing system [ [ Build this open-source machine, change the world with it ] ]

Laptop case

* VIA OpenBook - a subnotebook case design released by VIA Technologies


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 []
* [ The Stribe] - A programmable open source touch controller with illuminated feedback []


* [ Astfin] - [ Free Telephony Project] open source telephony hardware
* [] - also called 'TuxPhone'
* OpenMoko - open phone framework (first use case: FIC Neo FreeRunner, Released as of mid 2008)


* Arduino - open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software.
* Chumby - 'Glancable' information device
* gEDA - full GPL'd suite of Electronic Design Automation tools.
* GP2X an open-source, Linux-based handheld video game console and media player created and sold by GamePark Holdings of South Korea.
* Neuros "Open Source Device" an open source set-top box type device designed to serve as a low cost Linux "media center" [ New York Times article]
* Pandora (console), an upcoming Open-Source video game console, media player and PDA hybrid using Linux and a OMAP SoC from Texas Instruments

Machines and tools

* The Multimachine, an open source machine tool project. [ [ Open source machine website] ] [ [ MultiMachine Group] ]


* [ The Open Prosthetics Project] - A Prosthetics designed with open source principles.
* [ OpenEEG] - creating a low cost EEG device and free software to go with it. , []

Renewable energy

* Build-It-Solar - Plans and tools and information to do renewable energy and conservation projects. [ [ BuildItSolar: Solar energy projects for Do It Yourselfers to save money and reduce pollution ] ]
* Dye-sensitized solar cell
* [ PESWiki OS Energy Technology] .
* SHPEGS - Open source Solar Heat Pump Electrical Generation System


* [ Open-Source Robotics]


* c, mm,n: c, mm, n is a Dutch project to design an environmental friendly car using open source principles. [ [ Homepage ] ]
* OScar (open source car): OScar is the first attempt to design an entire car using open source principles.
* OSCav : open source compressed air vehicle. [ [ OSCav - Compressed Air Wiki - a Wikia wiki ] ]
* [ Open Source Velomobile Development Project] : build your own velomobile.
* Open Source Green Vehicle ( [] ): The Open Source Green Vehicle project is an attempt to design an environmental friendly SUV using open source principles.
* EVProduction club ( [] ) is an organization with a wiki to design and produce open source electric vehicles and complements.

Other Projects

* Open-rTMS - creating a low cost rTMS device and free software to go with it. []
* OpenServo - creating a low cost digital servo for use with RC and robotics projects. []
* [ OpenStim: The Open Noninvasive Brain Stimulator]
* OSMC - An open source Motor Control project, meant primarily for robotics but applicable to low-power electric vehicles and other uses []
* RONJA - Open source Free Space Optic system, DIY in a garage, 10 Mbit/s full duplex/1.4 km
* [ Gray-Hoverman Antenna] The Gray-Hoverman Antenna For UHF Television Reception.
* LED Throwies - non-destructive graffiti and light displays.


*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]
* [ Open Innovation Projects] Community driven directory of open source innovation projects
* [ Thinkcycle]


[ OpenTechSummit in Taiwan] with participants from Asus, Intel, Openmoko, Openpattern, [ [ Open Hardware: Jürgen Neumann of and Marek Lindner from the Openmoko project about Open Source and Hardware ] ]

See also

*Blender (software)
*Electronic design automation
*Engineers Without Borders
*Free CAD software
*Free content
*Free software
*Lee Felsenstein, founder of the Homebrew Computer Club, based on Ivan Illich's [ "Tools for Conviviality"]
*Graphics hardware and FOSS
*Open CASCADE - software development platform freely available in open source.
*Open content
*Open design - Open-source physical design with a wider focus
*Opengear - Follows SSH/X11 protocol, otherwise proprietary.
*Open source
*Open source software


* [ Free Hardware Design - Past, Present, Future] by Graham Seaman

External links

* [ The TAPR Open Hardware License]
* [ Open hardware Wikia] .
* [ VLSItoday: Can the open source development model applied to hardware design] ?
* []
* [ Open Directory: Computers: Hardware: Open Source]
* [ Openhardware's Kernel Accelerator Device]
* [ Debian Open Hardware] at [ Open Collector]
* [ Embedded Linux/Microcontroller Project]
* [ OpenCores]
* [ Freedom CPU]
* [ Gaisler research]
* [ Sun's OpenSPARC]
* [ DebianWiki page about Open hardware] .
* [ Open-source fusor research]
* [ Open Circuits wiki]
* [ Open dildonics wiki]
* [ open source LEON2 processor]
* [ Wired:Open Source Everywhere]
* [ Homebrew and How the Apple Came to Be] by Stephen Wozniak
* [ Simply RISC S1 Core] ( [ EETimes article] )
* [ The Open Source Gift Guide: Open source hardware, software, and more for the holidays!]
* [ Richard Stallman's thoughts on free hardware] .
* [ Peer2Peer Foundations page on Design and Open Hardware]
* [ The Economist: Open Sesame! Technology Quarterly on Open Hardware]

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