Free Hardware Pioneers

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Terry Hancock on Free Hardware Pioneers:

"One of the most exciting proofs-of-principle was the LART project, which developed an ARM-based single-board computer to be used in multimedia applications. LART was developed by a company that had a need for such a system in one of their projects, and did not want to be dependent on a vendor-supplied board to do the job. By opening the source for the LART, they were able to build a community around the LART design. This also allowed for them to collectively bargain for runs of PCBs, which are much cheaper to manufacture in larger quantity.

Another influential site is Open Cores, which develops “Open Intellectual Property (IP) Cores” for the manufacture of LSI microchips. An “IP Core” of a chip is a collection of design elements which can be combined with other elements in the production of customized integrated circuits. It can be regarded as the hardware source-code for a chip. This really makes sense as a pioneer project, since ICs are among the most ephemeralized hardware technologies we have.

Artemis Society International is a project to design a complete technology chain for establishing a permanent Human presence on the moon, based on the tourist economy. They want to create a small habitat on the moon to be sold as a hotel in a kind of “adventure tourism” package. They are making use of both government-funded development for the International Space Station (and previous projects) and equipment designed and manufactured by independent space companies, like SpaceHab, whose extensible module-system figures prominently in the Artemis design." (