Tag Archives: Foundation

Bunnie’s Totally Open Source Laptop

Andrew (bunnie) Huang, who won the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 2012 Pioneer Award (for something different), is currently testing the first version of his open source laptop hardware.

It’s about 120mm by 150mm by 14mm nad it has a small battery board so it should be able to fit into an average sized laptop frame (yet to be designed). Nearly the entire motherboard is open source; only a couple things required closed source firmware and the board is bootable without them.

One of the things I love about open source is that people don’t tend to worry about anything other than the best possible solution. They don’t try to design in some sort of crippling restriction that will lock in customers. Like, for example, Apple arbitrarily redesigning their docking port and then telling developers they can’t use it in their device if it includes ports compatible with anything else. Bunnie not only used a standard SATA-style port to connect the battery and mother boards but he also make the connection for the battery itself a standard molex so you can use cheap, commonly available RC vehicle batteries.

At the moment he’s apparently running through the tedious process of validating all the board’s functions, but that highlights another thing I love about open source. Down in the lengthy comments beneath his post it was suggested that he include a physical kill switch for the microphone and camera. Bunnie hadn’t thought of that, but recognized it as a good idea, and is planning to add the feature. It would take a year to get something like that changed anywhere else and that’s assuming the developers ever heard about a good user-submitted idea.

 

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Blender’s Open Movie Project – Tears Of Steel

This isn’t exactly open source hardware. But Blender is open source…and robots are hardware…and it’s Saturday.

This is the fourth from the Blender Foundation. The movies are intended to push Blender’s open technology forwards.

For the entire creation pipeline in the studio, we will only use free/open source software. For 3D graphics, compositing and video editing we’ll obviously use Blender. The new ‘Cycles’ render engine will be used, which includes open source projects like OpenShading, OpenColor and OpenImage. For camera and motion tracking Blender uses Libmv. For imaging and drawing we expect to use GIMP, MyPaint, Krita and Inkscape a lot. Render output and footage will be using the OpenEXR format. Scripting will be done in Python. Studio database storage will most likely be in SVN. The workstations in the studio will be equipped with 64 bits Ubuntu Linux. We have our own render farm this time, running on Debian and Ubuntu.

Since we’ll work with external providers for music, sfx and mix, we can only recommend them to include free software in their pipeline, but won’t put stringent demands here.
Obviously we’re very interested to be in contact with free/open source projects of any kind, to check on what we can do together.
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US Gov Jumps on 3D Printing Bandwagon with National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Well 3D printing has officially sold out. The Pentagon is going to fund a new program called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). It will be 15 institutes which will each serve as a hub for “manufacturing excellence.” It will be managed by the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce’s NIST, the National Science Foundation, and friends.

Wanna read President Obama’s speech on the subject? Of course you don’t, so here are the important bits:

I’m laying out my plans for a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation –- and these are going to be institutes of manufacturing excellence where some of our most advanced engineering schools and our most innovative manufacturers collaborate on new ideas, new technology, new methods, new processes…To do that, we need Congress to act.  Hmm.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s true.  (Laughter.)  But that doesn’t mean we have to hold our breath.  We’re not going to wait — we’re going to go ahead on our own.  Later this year, we’re going to choose the winner of a competition for a pilot institute for manufacturing innovation — help them get started…And sparking this network of innovation across the country – it will create jobs and it will keep America in the manufacturing game.  Of course, there’s more we can do to seize this moment of opportunity to create new jobs and manufacturing here in America.

An interesting note from the Request for Information is that, “Each Institute will have a clear focus area that does not overlap with those of the other Institutes. The focus area could be an advanced material, a manufacturing process, an enabling technology, or an industry sector. The federal government does not intend to create or provide a complete list of focus areas for the NNMI. The NNMI solicitation will invite applicants to propose such areas.” The RFI offers additive manufacturing as the first example of a potential focus area.

This whole thing will be overseen by the brand new Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office which will be hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The FY13 budget (pdf) “makes available” $1 billion to help the NNMI establish an “ecosystem” of manufacturing activity.

Hopefully this endeavor will manufacture more than just acronyms.

Related Links:

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DIY Wire Bender from PENSA!

PENSA! has demonstrated a new DIY rapid prototyping machine.

Their wire bender can take 3D files, vector files, or even text files, and automatically “print” them out with aluminum wire.

The shapes it can make are truly impressive. Also, one of the first things they printed was a text bubble with the word “$#!?” in it. My kind of people.

They just released this little marvel on May 2nd. Hopefully, they’ll provide the design files so we (I) can add yet another machine to the DO WANT list.

Found on Core77 and Hack A Day.

For what it’s worth, a year ago the P2P Foundation listed a “CNC wire bender” in their hypothetical Digital Manufacturing Ecosystem. They got it 2/3 right…PENSA!’s works in 3D instead of 2D.

Related Links

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Alex Kiselev, Breakout Labs, and Open Source Science Hardware

Science is awesome, amiright? What’s awesome-er is when the (way too) expensive tools scientists need to do their science are open sourced.

Meet Alex Kiselev. He is open sourcing an electrospray ionization mass spectrometer. Normally it costs $80-250K but he expects his version to cost $10-20K.

The single quadrupole mass spectrometer and ion source used for John Fenn's Nobel Prize winning discovery of electrospray ionization. This instrument is on display at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, PA

He has a reasonably good chance of realizing his dream of founding Open Industrial and providing low-cost high-performance scientific instruments to all the people in the world who have good ideas but don’t have enough money. This is because the Thiel Foundation, through Breakout Labs, is in his corner. He still has to win, but either way he’s gotten some good mentoring and publicity.

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