Open Hardware Hacking

I figured it was about time to give an update on what I’m working on. Having completed my 3 concurrent projects over the last 9 months I have finally got some free time in my schedule to work on new projects. As I mentioned in my last post 3fficient low powered computing is one of them and I will have much more time to invest in that over the next few months. But what I would like to talk about today is one of my other new projects – The Open Hardware Hackers Group (OHH) and how it has come about.

Curiously I didn’t start of in computer science like many of my colleagues, I actually studied systems engineering which was a mixture of analogue + digital electronics, control systems and programming. Thus recently when I started construction around 3fficient I realised I would probably need to start wielding my soldering iron once more. I was actually quite keen to do so as had gotten re-interested both in industrial and embedded systems.

Whilst doing the 3fficient research and getting back into hardware I discovered some great work being performed around opensource hardware, imagine my joy – OpenSource and Hardware hacking how cool is that. So it is no suprise that I have dived deep into OpenSource hardware there are some great projects out there, here are couple of the things I’m hacking around with :-

  • Arduino – This little Microcontroller board is big and getting bigger all of the time, it has spurred so many other projects its created it’s own eco system.
  • BeagleBoard – Low powered ARM Cortex 8 board, This thing is the start of something big, SI’s OMAP series are definitely going places

There are many projects out there to many too enumerate here, but check out Opencircuits for more clues. My point is that there is a great deal of energy being contributed to open hardware and hacking hardware and I can see this having the same kind of influence in physical electronics as OpenSource software has in I.T. With this in mind I thought it might be a good idea to get together with others having similar interests, and helping those who may be new to hardware hacking. That is why I have set up the Open Hardware Hackers group (OHH). Its not just a Google group we actually plan on meeting regularly (in London initially) to get together to tinker/discuss/share etc..

The Point of OHH is to help each other, to collaborate on projects, to share ideas, help others enter into hardware hacking. As such we would also invite members to contribute energy towards building a set of tools to help new entrants get into the digital-playground as well as for our own mutual benefit. That way we can give back to the community as well as take adavantage of it.

So what are the OHH members up to well Thats a question I’m about to kick off on the group, but I already have some clues, they are hacking utility meters, wheather stations, virtual/physical computing, low powered servers and controlling household appliances as well as working on gadgets and tooling, its pretty diverse. So if your interested in electronics, hardware hacking or just tinkering join the group and maybe even meetup with us. We will be getting together to setup the physical meeting agendas at the ICA Cafe on Tueseday at 2pm, your welcome to come along and contribute at an early stage if your interested. If you can’t make it, leave any suggestion on the group and well make sure to cover it.

Anyhow that just a quick update to let you know about OHH, hopefully I might even post a little more now that the work has let up a little.

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