Tag Archives: open source core

Open Source DIY Laptop Kit By Olimex

Olimex Ltd is a Bulgarian leading provider for development tools and programmers for embedded market. The company has 25+ years’ experience in designing, prototyping and manufacturing printed circuit boards, sub-assemblies, and complete electronic products.

The latest amazing product by Olimex is an open source laptop DIY kit called: TERES I.
TERES I is open source hardware and software Do It Yourself laptop running Linux on 64- bit ARM processor. It’s very light less 1 kg and convenient to carry with when travel. The core of this laptop is built around an Allwinner ARM Cortex-A53, 1GB of DDR3L RAM, 4GB of eMMC Flash, WiFi, Bluetooth, a camera, and an 11.6″ 1366×768 display.

Back to history, Teres I was the first king of the Odrysian state of Thrace where Plovdiv – the city where TERES I laptop was designed. The Odrysian state was the first Thracian kingdom that acquired power in the region, by the unification of more than 40 Thracian tribes under a single ruler!

The stylish and elegant shape laptop is open source hardware and software, so people can learn and study how it’s done. The CAD files and source code is on GitHub and everybody can download and modify and use for their own need.

“If you want to implement new features nothing stops you. If you need another processor, more power, more memory, better LCD, you are free to do this and tailor this laptop to your needs! If you do not like the Linux distribution you have access to the sources and can generate any Linux distribution to your taste!”

The laptop is modular which means that there is number of possibilities to expand it for example by adding a FPGA expansion module in order to give the laptop some extra capabilities like Digital Storage Oscilloscope, Logic Analyzer and much more features. This expansion module and others are under construction now and will be launched soon.

You can also order any spare part of the laptop since all it’s components available for purchase, which makes maintenance easier and cheaper.

TERES I DIY kit is available for €225 in two colors white and black, and it contains the following parts:

 

  1. PCB1 A64
  2. PCB2 IO
  3. PCB3 TOUCH
  4. PCB4 BTN
  5. PCB5 KEYBOARD
  6. LiPo 7000mAh
  7. Bottom
  8. Keyboard
  9. LCD Frame
  10. LCD Back
  11. Power Button
  12. Touch Buttons
  13. Speaker Left
  14. Speaker Right
  15. LED pipe
  16. Screws Set
  17. Hinge Set
  18. Mats Set
  19. Magnet
  20. Camera
  21. Camera Lens
  22. Dust Protectors
  23. Touch Cover
  24. Touch
  25. WiFi Antenna
  26. LCD cable
  27. FPC IO Main
  28. FPC Power Main
  29. FPC Touch Button
  30. FPC Kbd Button
  31. Power Adapter
  32. Microphone

 

This laptop could be the next educational gadget for your kids or students. You can use it to explain for them in action how computers work and what do they consist of. It will give them the chance to think deeper in the fields of electronics and programming while assembling the laptop for the  first time and if any trouble occurred  and they have to help in solving it. This educational benefits of TERES I could not be available unless the laptop is completely open source.

It is true that the specifications of this laptop may not be perfect, but no one can deny that the price tag is cool making this laptop a consumable choice for some usages. This DIY kit is out of stock now as mentioned on the website, but you can register your email on the product page to be notified once it is available.

TERES I is completely designed with KiCAD FOSS, also hardware and software source files are available on Github. Also check this file to know more details about the laptop and the building instructions.

A few months ago, Tsvetan Usunov the brain behind Olimex had conducted a talk at Hackaday Belgrade conference about his upcoming DIY laptop kit. Check it out!

Open Source Meets Hardware: Open Processor Core

SiFive, the first fabless provider of customized, open-source-enabled semiconductors, had recently announced the availability of its Freedom Everywhere 310 (FE310) system on a chip (SoC), the industry’s first commercially available SoC based on the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture.

The Freedom E310 (FE310) is the first member of the Freedom Everywhere family of customizable SoCs. Designed for microcontroller, embedded, IoT, and wearable applications, the FE310 features SiFive’s E31 CPU Coreplex, a high-performance, 32-bit RV32IMAC core. Running at 320+ MHz, the FE310 is among the fastest microcontrollers in the market. Additional features include a 16KB L1 Instruction Cache, a 16KB Data SRAM scratchpad, hardware multiply/divide, a debug module, flexible clock generation with on-chip oscillators and PLLs, and a wide variety of peripherals including UARTs, QSPI, PWMs, and timers. Multiple power domains and a low-power standby mode ensure a wide variety of applications can benefit from the FE310.

Furthermore, SiFive launched an open source low-cost HiFive1 software development board based on FE310. As part of this availability, SiFive also has contributed the register-transfer level (RTL) code for FE310 to the open-source community.

The Arduino compatible HiFive1 was live on a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdsupply  and the board reached around $57,000 funding. Check this video to know more about HiFive1:

SiFive is now fulfilling a dream of a lot of developers: a custom silicon designed just for you! With the RTL code open, chip designers are now able to customize  their own SoC on top of the base FE310 by accessing the open source files provided on Github. But don’t worry, even if you don’t have the expertise needed to develop your own core, SiFive is offering a new service called “ chips-as-a-service” that can customize the FE310 to meet your unique needs. All you need is to register here dev.sifive.com, try out your ideas and finally contact the company to finalize the design of your new chip.

This service has completely a new business model for silicon chips businesses, and SiFive is willing to establish a “chip design factory” that can handle 1000 new chip designs a year. It is said that SiFive can start manufacturing the cusomized MCUs in less than 6 months after making sure that each use case is compatible with the Freedom E310 core.

“We started with this revolutionary concept — that instruction sets should be free and open – and were amazed by the incredible rippling effect this has had on the semiconductor industry because it provided a viable alternative to what was previously closed and proprietary,” said Krste Asanovic, co-founder and chief architect, SiFive. “In the few short months since we’ve announced the Freedom Platforms, we’ve seen a tremendous response to our vision of customizable SoCs. The FE310 is a major step forward in the movement toward open-source and mass customization, and SiFive is excited to bring the opportunity for innovation back into the hands of system architects.”

Opening the source of processors’ core has its pros and cons for SiFive. A new business model is assigned to SiFive due to the “chips-as-a-service” feature but in the same time it will open up some new ventures for smaller companies and hardware manufacturers to compete with the market dominating companies. Open source MCUs will bring a lot of updates to the hardware development scene and will pave the way for a whole new business of customized chip design provided by talented hardware system developers and architects.

To know more about the custom design feature visit the developers section of SiFive dev.sifive.com. Documentation of the SiFive new chip is available here and also source codes and files of the RTL code are provided at Github.