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16 August 2012, 16:04

Hardware Hacks: OggBox, lunar rover and Pwdr 3D printer

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Zoom The OggBox
Source: Nathan Dumont

Hardware Hacks is the section on The H that collects stories about the wide range of uses of open source in the rapidly expanding area of open hardware. Find out about interesting projects, re-purposing of devices and the creation of a new generation of deeply open systems. In this edition, we take a look at an open source media player, an ambitious moon rover project and a new 3D printer.

  • OggBox – The OggBox is an open hardware music player designed by Nathan Dumont. The device is composed of an ARM Cortex M3 main processor and either a VS1053b or a VS8053 DSP and audio output stage chip coupled with a 128x64 pixel black and white LCD, eight buttons and an SD card slot. So far, the device has only been tested for playing Ogg Vorbis files, but support for the WAV and FLAC formats is planned. The software is rudimentary at the moment but is under active development. All files used in the design of the board have been released under the Creative Commons BY-SA licence.

  • Part-time moon rover – An international group of scientists and engineers, called the Part-Time Scientists, are planning to put an autonomous rover on the moon before the end of 2013. Since testing the prototype rover hardware is one of the most time-consuming parts of the process, the group has launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-source these experiments. Backers who pledge more than $15 to the project will get their own shot at remote controlling the rover in the group's 200m2 testing ground which will be located in either Berlin or Australia. For $500, backers get their own kit of the lunar rover; once assembled the rover can be remote controlled with an Android application.

  • Pwdr 3D printerThe Pwdr Model 0.1 is an open source 3D printer designed for rapid prototyping. The machine was built with off-the-shelf components for approximately €1000 (£782) and can be assembled in "a couple of hours". The system currently supports direct printing that uses powdered materials such as gypsum, ceramics, concrete and sugar, but it can also be prepared to print in an selective laser sintering (SLS) process with materials such as ABS, PP, nylon and metals. More information about the device is available from the project's GitHub page.


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