What is open source hardware? Briefly, these are projects that creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and “board” files to recreate the hardware – they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source hardware like Linux, but hardware centric.
This is one of the new and emerging trends we’ve seen really take off over the last few years. Each year we do a guide to all open source hardware and this year there are over 60 projects/kits – it’s incredible! Many are familiar with Arduino (now shipping over 60,000 units) but there are many other projects just as exciting and filled with amazing communities – we think we’ve captured nearly all of them in this list. Some of these projects and kits are available from MAKE others from the makers themselves or other hardware manufacturers – but since it’s open source hardware you can make any of these yourself, everything is available.
You can also call this guide… “The Open source hardware gift guide – The one and only, 3rd annual celebration of open source hardware!” – we think these are some of the best things to consider for the holidays and it supports an exciting development in hardware design.
So sit back and get ready to scroll through the list! Here we go!
Arduino Duemilanove – The new classic
Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer. It’s an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple microcontroller board, and a development environment for writing software for the board. “Duemilanove” means 2009 in Italian and is named after the year of its release. The Duemilanove is the latest in a series of USB Arduino boards.
- Microcontroller ATmega168
- Operating Voltage 5V
- Input Voltage (recommended) 7-12V
- Input Voltage (limits) 6-20V
- Digital I/O Pins 14 (of which 6 provide PWM output)
- Analog Input Pins 6
- DC Current per I/O Pin 40 mA
- DC Current for 3.3V Pin 50 mA
- Flash Memory 16 KB (of which 2 KB used by bootloader)
- SRAM 1 KB
- EEPROM 512 bytes
- Clock Speed 16 MHz
Keep reading for the rest of the projects and kits!
Arduino – The open source electronics prototyping platform for artists, engineers and beginners!
LilyPad pro kit – Sewable, wearable open source hardware!
The LilyPad Arduino is a microcontroller board designed for wearables and e-textiles. It can be sewn to fabric and similarly mounted power supplies, sensors and actuators with conductive thread. The LilyPad Pro Kit gives you the full flexibility and power of the LilyPad system. Program the LilyPad main board to respond to physical changes in light, sound, or motion. Create displays of light, sound, and get physical feedback using the various LilyPad periphery boards.
- LilyPad Mainboard
- LilyPad Power Supply
- LilyPad USB Link
- Mini USB Cable
Arduino Nano – So tiny you’ll want to eat it!
Arduino Nano is a surface mount breadboard embedded version with integrated USB. It is a smallest, complete, and breadboard friendly. It has everything that Diecimila has (electrically) with more analog input pins and onboard +5V AREF jumper. Physically, it is missing power jack and power select jumper. Since the Nano is automatically sense and switch to the higher potential source of power, there is no need for the power select jumper. Nano’s got the breadboard-ability of the Boarduino and the Mini+USB with smaller footprint than either, so users have more breadboard space.
- Automatic reset during program download
- Power OK blue LED on the bottom
- Green (TX), red (RX) and orange (L) LED
- +5V to AREF jumper
- Auto sensing/switching power input
- Small mini-B USB for programming and serial monitor
- ICSP header for direct program download
- Power OK blue LED on the bottom
- Standard 0.1″ spacing DIP (breadboard friendly)
- Manual reset switch
Arduino Pro – It’s blue and skinny!
The Arduino Pro is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega168 (datasheet). It has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, an 8 MHz resonator, a battery power jack, a power switch, a reset button, and holes for mounting a power jack, an ICSP header, and pin headers. The Arduino Pro is intended for semi-permanent installation in objects or exhibitions. The board comes without pre-mounted headers, allowing the use of various types of connectors or direct soldering of wires. The pin layout is compatible with Arduino shields. The board can be powered with a battery, and runs at 3.3V (Also check out the Arduino Pro Mini).
- ATmega168V running at 8MHz external resonator
- Low-voltage board needs no interfacing circuitry to popular 3.3V devices and modules (GPS, Accelerometers, sensors, etc)
- USB connection off board
- 3.3V regulator
- Reverse polarity protected
- DC input 3.3V up to 12V
- Resettable fuse prevents damage to board in case of short
- Power select switch acts as on/off switch
Bare Bones Arduino – Nice and small
Despite the Bare-Bones name, the BBB is a full featured Arduino clone that includes the vast majority of the functionality of the Arduino Diecimila. The latest revision even includes some analog noise-reduction features not found on other official Arduino boards.
Sanguino – Monster Arduino!
The Sanguino is an Arduino-compatible board that boasts 4x the memory, 4x the ram, and 12 extra pins. Its a sweet board that gives us some room to expand while still being completely through-hole for simple assembly.
- atmega644P core
- 32 total general purpose I/O pins (some are multipurpose)
- 8 analog pins
- 6 PWM pins
- 64K flash memory
- 4K RAM
- 2K EEPROM
- completely through-hole construction
- breadboard compatible
- 100% open source
- compatible with Arduino 0012 with minimal hacking
Seeeduino – Another variation on the standard board but featuring some notable changes, including –
- Duplicate digital IO to 100mil grid for prototype board compatibility.
Boarduino – Arduino clone at the lowest price!
If you’ve ever struggled to use a solderless breadboard with an Arduino, you understand how frustrating it can be! This clone acts just like an Arduino, and works with the latest Arduino software. For many projects it can even be preferable! The kit includes all parts necessary, the assembly is straightforward and well documented. Since this design doesn’t include a USB chip, you’ll want an FTDI TTL-232R USB-to-TTL serial cable. Since the cable plugs right into the Boarduino, you can use one cable for multiple Boarduinos.
- Designed to plug into a breadboard for easy prototyping
- Petite size, only 3″ x 0.8″ (75mm x 20mm)
- All ‘standard’ pins are brought out – Digital 0 thru 13, Analog 0 thru 5, ARef, 5V, Ground, Vin and Reset
- Chip comes preprogrammed with a “no-wait” Arduino bootloader (Read more here)
- 2 LEDs, green power and red “pin 13” just like the Arduino Diecimila
- Available as a low cost kit with standard parts, so its never out of stock
- All through-hole parts are easy to solder
- Reset button
- ATmega168, running at 16.00 MHz, just like the lastest Arduino, the Diecimila
- 6-pin standard ICSP header
- Standard 2.1mm DC jack (just like the original) with 5V regulator to run on 7V-17V power
- 1N4001 diode protects against using incorrect wall adapter
- 6-pin header at the end for a USB-TTL cable
- Auto-reset capability when used with a USB-TTL cable
Freeduino – Another solderable Arduino kit, the Freeduino is compatible with standard expansion shields, has onboard USB port (like the standard Arduino), and is fully compatible with add-on shields. It also looks pretty darn cool in orange/yellow!
Arduino Shields – Add new features and functionality to your projects!
Protoshield – The fastest and best way to experiment!
An open-source prototyping shield for Arduino. It has tons of cool features, to make prototyping on your Arduino easy.
- Compatible with NG or Diecimila
- Reset button up top
- ICSP header
- Lots of GND and +5V rails
- DIP prototyping area makes it easy to add more chips
- SOIC prototyping area above USB jack for up to 14-pin SOIC chip, narrow medium or wide package.
- Use ‘mini’ or ‘medium’ breadboard
- Two 3mm LEDs with matching resistors
- Extra 6mm button
Ethernet shield – Get your Arduino on the internet
Add Ethernet! Want your Arduino to check email? How about sending a twitter (which can then be easily forwarded to a phone via SMS)? Or grabbing data from a website? There are so many possibilities for projects that connect to the Internet to get data, now there’s an easy way to do it with an Arduino. This shield kit allows you to add and use an XPort or XPort direct(+) Ethernet module (not included) using any 4 pins. All of the TCP/IP stack awfulness is done for you in the module so its super easy to just connect to any server.
- Shield allows use of XPort, XPort Direct or XPort Direct+
- 3.3V 250mA power supply on-board for powering the XPort
- Arduino reset button and 6-pin ISP header brought up top for fast & easy development
Danger Shield – The only danger is to boredom!
The Danger Shield is an add-on for the Arduino micro controller board. It contains a variety of fun and useful electronic circuits that you can use to do fun and useful things. It is a fully self-contained shield. You plug it into your Arduino, and you can immediately start using it. No extra things to hook up, no external components. Just a really rad board ready to rock. Soldering required.
- 3x Linear sliders w/ integrated LEDs (independently hooked up to PWM)
- 3x Pushbuttons
- 2x Indicator LEDs (each with a PWM)
- 1x Piezo buzzer (for making noise!)
- 1x Temperature sensor
- 1x Light sensor
- 1x Knock sensor
- 1x 7 segment LED (with shift register)
- Power LED and reset button
Motor Shield – Get your project moving!
A great kit for a full-featured motor shield that will be able to power many simple to medium-complexity projects for your Arduino. Kit comes with all parts necessary, unassembled. Motors and Arduino are not included.
- 2 connections for 5V ‘hobby’ servos with high-resolution dedicated timer – no jitter!
- 4 H-Bridges: L293D chipset provides 0.6A per bridge (1.2A peak) with thermal shutdown protection, internal kickback protection diodes. Can run motors on 4.5VDC to 36VDC.
- Up to 4 bi-directional DC motors with individual 8-bit speed selection (so, about 0.5% resolution)
- Up to 2 stepper motors (unipolar or bipolar) with single coil, double coil or interleaved stepping.Pull down resistors keep motors disabled during power-up
- Big terminal block connectors to easily hook up wires (10-22AWG) and power
- Arduino reset button brought up top (Diecimila only)
- 2-pin terminal block and jumper to connect external power, for seperate logic/motor supplies
- Tested compatible with Diecimila (NG is next!)
- Download the easy-to-use Arduino software library, check out the examples and you’re ready to go!
WaveShield – Add sound and music to your projects!
Adding quality audio to an electronic project is surprisingly difficult. Here is a shield for Arduinos that solves this problem. It can play up to 22KHz, 12bit uncompressed audio files of any length. A great low cost easy-to-make kit.
- Can play any uncompressed 22KHz, 16bit, mono Wave (.wav) files of any size. While it isnt CD quality, it is certainly good enough to play music, have spoken word, or audio effects
- Output is mono, into L and R channels, standard 3.5mm headphone jack and a connection for a speaker that is switched on when the headphones are unplugged
- Files are read off of FAT16 formatted SD/MMC card
- Included library makes playing audio easy
Arduino AVR Scope Clock Shield – Make a clock from your scope!
Make your X-Y capable analog oscilloscope more useful!
Xbee adapter kit – Add wireless to your projects!
This adapter board is designed to make adding wireless point-to-point or mesh networking easy. Adafruit looked at all the XBee adapter boards available and decided to design something better.
- Onboard 3.3V regulator to cleanly power your XBee, up to 250mA
- Level shifting circuitry means that its trivial to connect it to 5V circuitry such as an Arduino without risk of damage
- Two LEDs, one for activity (RSSI), the other for power (Associate)
- 10-pin 2mm sockets included to protect the modem and allow easy swapping, upgrading or recycling
- All the commonly used pins are brought out along the edge, making it easy to breadboard or wire up
- Specifically created for use with an FTDI cable to connect to a computer via USB. This means that you can use or upgrade the adapter with a computer simply by plugging in a cable
- For use with any XBee/Pro pin-compatible module
GPS Shield and data logger kit
GPS shield for Arduino kit with data-logging capability. After building this easy kit, you can create your own geo-locative project.
- This shield is designed to make GPS projects straight-forward and easy. Plug in a supported GPS module and run any of the example Arduino sketches for parsing GPS data (NMEA sentences), logging to a FAT16-formatted SD flash memory card and storing analog sensor data along with precise location, date and time in CSV format.
- The shield is designed specifically for use with the EM-406a module: the small surface-mount GPS connector is pre-soldered for you. (It is a high-quality engine with quick time-to-fix and excellent reception, even in downtown New York City!) It can also be used with a Tyco A1035D, EB-85A or Lassen IQ module. GPS module, Arduino, and SD memory card are not included.
- The examples work fine on ATmega168-based Arduino (or compatible). Run-time is approximately 3 hours with a 9V battery and up to 12 hours using a MintyBoost, assuming no power-saving features are enabled.
Pocket Piano – Make an Arduino pocket synth
This is a board for making the Arduino into a portable stand alone music synthesizer. It plugs directly into the Arduino board and provides 25 multiplexed keys (2 full octaves), 4 pots, status LED, reset switch, digital to analog converter IC, and a RCA audio jack. The Arduino board with its powerful AVR processor is more than adequate for a wide range of sound synthesis techniques. We have experimented with simple additive / wave-table synthesis, frequency modulation, ring modulation, sampling, polyphony, various arpeggiators. The whole thing can be powered over the Arduino’s USB port for convenient experimenting. Arduino not included. The board is designed to mount easily to 1/8″ panel material, and 1/2″ round keys can be made out of wood or plastic.
Open heart kit – Open your heart!
The Open Heart is an LED matrix of individually addressable LEDs. It can be used to create a brooch or bag light with highly customizable animations. It can be configured so that you can temporarily attach it to fabrics with headers that you simply push through, or you can configure it to be sewn into a project using conductive fabric for a more permanent setup. You’ll need an Arduino to complete this project as well as a soldering iron and basic hand tools.
- Heart PCB
- 27 Red LEDs
- 6 Resistors
- Right angle headers
- Crimp housings with metal crimps
6 wire cable
Sanguino Breakout Shield
This is a kit of the Sanguino Breakout Shield board. It is primarily intended as a shield for existing Sanguino boards, but we’ve also included the footprint for a full Sanguino on the PCB as well. Its up to you as the builder to decide what shape the board should take: You can build it as a single board with an integrated Sanguino, or you can add headers that allow you to plug an existing Sanguino into the board. its your choice!
Arduino based UAVs – Open source “unmanned aerial vehicles”
ArduiPilot – Navigation for UAVs
ArduPilot is an inexpensive navigation-only autopilot based on the open-source Arduino platform. It is currently in beta. In fall 2008, it will be available as an easy-to-assemble kit (PCB with SMD parts already soldered, plus a few through-hold parts to solder yourself as required).
BlimpDuino – Open source blimp UAV
BlimpDuino is a very low cost open source autonomous blimp. It consists of an Arduino-based blimp controller board with on-board infrared and ultrasonic sensors and an interface for an optional RC mode, a simple gondola with two vectoring (tilting) differential thrusters, and ground-based infrared beacon. It will be available as a commercial kit, complete with a mylar envelope.
- 17 grams, with ultrasonic and IR sensors.
- Controls two motors and one vectoring servo.
- Built-in RC compatibility (can read two RC channels–throttle and steering)
- Designed for a 7.4v LiPo battery; has an automatic power cut-off at low voltage to protect the battery
Price: Approx: $100
Paparazzi – Open autopilot system
Paparazzi is a free and open-source hardware and software project intended to create an exceptionally powerful and versatile autopilot system by allowing and encouraging input from the community. The project includes not only the airborne hardware and software, from voltage regulators and GPS receivers to Kalman filtering code, but also a powerful and ever-expanding array of ground hardware and software including modems, antennas, and a highly evolved user-friendly ground control software interface. All hardware and software is open-source and freely available to anyone under the GNU licencing agreement.
Price: $ various – also check out PPZUAV.
Lifestyle & fun – Open net connected alarm clocks to LED bicycle wheels
Chumby – The open source Wi-Fi beanbag alarm clock
Chumby takes your favorite parts of the Internet and delivers them to you in a friendly, always-on, always-fresh format. It’s a window into your Internet life that lives outside your desktop, so content like weather, news, celebrity gossip, podcasts, music, and more has a place to play away from your world of documents and spreadsheets. Just plug in your chumby, connect to your wireless network, and use your computer to create a lineup of favorites from 1,000 widgets in 30 different categories, with new ones arriving all the time. Then let your chumby do its thing–streaming everything you like, from sports scores to stock tips, from video clips to interactive games, from photos to trivia. Bunnie (the engineer) open source hardware’d the whole thing, it’s an amazing cheap linux computer if you’re that type of hacker.
SpokePOV – Make light / LED art with your bicycle wheels
Spoke POV is an easy-to-make electronic kit toy that turns your bicycle wheel into a customized display! The project includes a free schematic design, open software for uploading and editing stored bitmap images, and a high-quality kit with all the parts necessary to build your own.
- Can be used with road, mountain or BMX wheels!
- 30 LEDs on each side (22 for BMX) x 256 radial pixels
- Runs on 2-3 AA batteries for 10 hours or more, assuming 3000mAh alkalines and 50% image coverage.
- Can run on rechargable NiMH AA’s
- Comes with high-brightness red, yellow, green or blue LEDs
- Automatically shuts off after 3 minutes
- Software runs on any Mac, Windows or Linux computer with Serial, Parallal or USB port
- Design is all through-hole parts, perfect for a first time kit builder.
- With one spoke, total persistence at 15mph. Two spokes, 10mph. Three spokes, 7mph. (Assuming a mountain bike wheel). Looks cool even if not completely persistant.
- Great for safe riding at night, provides excellent side visibility.
miniPOV – Spell words in the air!
The 3rd generation MiniPOV is perfect for beginners who are looking to learn how to solder, how to program microcontrollers, or make LED blinky toys. Because the programmer is built into the kit, you don’t need a special “microcontroller programmer”. This version can be used with PCs (Linux/Unix or Windows) and Macs (running MacOS X and with a USB/serial converter).
Brain Machine – Hack your brain!
Hack your Brain! Get comfortable, put on the glasses and headphones, close your eyes (the LEDs are bright!), and flick the power switch. Enjoy the hallucinations as you drift into deep meditation, ponder your inner world, and then come out after the 14-minute program feeling fabulous. Sound and Light Machines (SLMs) produce sound and light pulses at brain wave frequencies, which help people sleep, wake up, meditate, or experience whatever state of consciousness the machine is programmed for. With this kit you will build an SLM for much cheaper than you can buy one. You’ll do it the easy way, by hacking a microcontroller project that already exists: Adafruit’s Mini-POV kit (included) which you can transform into an SLM simply by changing the firmware and some minor hardware.
Digg button – Digg it! For real! Kevin Rose in your pocket!
Make your very own social bookmarking tool without the hassles of running a webserver. This kit contains the PCB and all the electronic parts for a Digg Button, including 2 batteries. Tools are not included. This project is designed for beginners, some soldering tools are necessary but even if you’ve never soldered before it will be very easy. $1 from each kit sale goes straight to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization that supports online rights.
Peggy – The biggest and best LED light board, MEGA-LITE-BRITE
You can make an LED sign for your window, a geeky valentine for your sweetie, one bad-ass birthday card, or freak the holy bejesus out of Boston. Your call. It’s a versatile, high-brightness display. How you configure it and what you do with it is up to you.
Botanicals – Have your plant Twitter to you when it needs water, yes really!
Botanicalls Kits let plants reach out for human help! They offer a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates to your mobile phone. When your plant needs water, it will post to let you know, and send its thanks when you show it love. The Botanicalls Kit includes all the hardware you need to create a networked communication system for your plant. A moisture sensor placed into the soil will send information to simple electronic detection circuitry you solder together yourself. Twitter updates are then sent out via an onboard Ethernet connection to the Internet, where they can be viewed online or routed to your mobile phone. Previous soldering experience is not required, and complete instructions are available online with detailed photos showing each assembly step. In your Botanialls Kit you’ll find a leaf-shaped printed circuit board, Arduino-based microcontroller, an array of electronic components, Ethernet adapter, power supply and a short Ethernet cable for testing. You’ll provide a wired Internet connection, and of course a fabulous plant!
Open GPS tracker – Open tracking!
The Open GPS Tracker is a small device which plugs into a $20 prepaid mobile phone to make a GPS tracker. The Tracker responds to text message commands, detects motion, and sends you its exact position, ready for Google Maps or your mapping software. The Tracker firmware is open source and user-customizable.
LED Micro-readerboard kit – Learn microcontrollers & makes a great holiday tree decoration!
This fun little open source soldering kit provides an introduction to the capabilities of microcontrollers.The readerboard spells out preprogrammed messages such as “MAKE” one letter at a time on its alphanumeric LED display.
Liberlab – Open source lab
The Open Source project Liberlab aims to help democratize educational scientific experimentation through the creation and use of a DIY digital lab at a very low price ($20). Liberlab can also be used to learn about robotics, automation, human-machine interface or interactive arts.
YBox – A DIY set top box that fits in an Altoids tin
The YBox2 is a DIY networked set-top box. Connect it to your TV and you can design customized content to be delivered direct from the Internet. This project is great for people who want a new platform to experiment with. The video and Internet cores are ready to go and easy to work with. We have some example widgets that demonstrate the YBox2’s capability, and the whole project is open source so you can start hacking your own. If you’ve ever been curious about the Parallax Propeller chip, the YBox2 is a perky little platform with tons of accessories. The kit comes with PCB and all necessary electronic parts, unassembled. Assembly is not difficult, but considering the number of components, it will take a couple hours to complete.
USB 7 – 6 Digit LED Display Kit
The USB7 expands most computers with a USB connected 6-digit, seven-segment display. Supporting letters, numbers, and a range of punctuation, the USB7 benefits any project requiring highly visible information. Using common a USB cable for both communication and power, the USB7 requires no special or bulky cables and with a simple virtual-serial port protocol, sending regular ASCII characters is all that’s required to control the USB7s full output capacity. Based on the AVR-CDC project, the USB7 is supported by Windows XP, Windows 2000, OS X, and many Linux variants.
Twitchie – The open source robot kit!
Twitchie is an open source multi-purpose robot kit. It has the capacity to frighten and scare, but also the power to love and care! It’s a pathos-o-matic! Grown men scream. Maternal instincts long dormant, suddenly activate. It’s a robot unlike any other, and you can make one.
Trippy RGB Waves kit – color the world with motion
Imagine a bunch of little lights on a table, each about the size of a chess piece. Each is independent of the other. You arrange them around on the table any way you want. Each one continually slowly changes colors on its own. When you wave your hand over them, it creates waves of colors that follow your hand. That’s the premise behind this awesome and affordable kit from the creator of the TV-B-Gone and Brain Machine, Mitch Altman.
Open source hardware for “Spy Tech” and trouble makers
WaveBubble – Open source cell phone, Wi-Fi jammer
A self-tuning, wide-bandwidth portable RF jammer. The device is lightweight and small for easy camouflaging: it is the size of a pack of cigarettes. An internal lithium-ion battery provides up to 2 hours of jamming (two bands, such as cell) or 4 hours (single band, such as cordless phone, GPS, WiFi, bluetooth, etc). The battery is rechargeable via a mini-USB connector or 4mm DC jack (a common size). Alternately, 3 AAA batteries may also be used. Output power is .1W (high bands) and .3W (low bands). Effective range is approximately 20′ radius with well-tuned antennas. Less so with the internal antennas or poorly matched antennas. Self-tuning is provided via dual PLL, therefore, no spectrum analyzer is necessary to build this jammer and a single Wave Bubble can jam many different frequency bands – unlike any other design currently available! To reconfigure the RF bands, simply plug it into the USB port of your PC and type in the new frequencies when prompted. Multiple frequency ranges can be programmed in, each time the device is power cycled it will advance to the next program in memory.
Price: Not for sale directly, parts / everything… about $200
SIM Card reader kit – Hack your cell phone’s SIM card, really delete messages!
This is a SIM card reader/writer for experimentation and investigation of SIM & Smart cards. Once the kit is built, accompanying software can be used to read and write from the card. Together they can be used to backup stored SIM card data, recover deleted SMS’s and phone contacts, examine the last 10 phone numbers dialed, etc. (Despite being called a SIM reader, it can also write to SIM cards) The kit includes PCB and components. Basic hand tools, 9V battery, SIM card and serial cable are not included. This project is fairly easy and can be built within an hour, even if you’ve never soldered before!
TV-B-Gone – Turn any TV off!
Tired of all those LCD TVs everywhere? Want a break from advertisements while you’re trying to eat? Want to zap screens from across the street? The TV-B-Gone kit is what you need! Hack it! This ultra-high-power, open source kit version of the popular TV-B-Gone is fun to make and even more fun to use. A very simple kit and great for people who have never soldered anything before.
Music – Tunes made with open source hardware sound better! OPEN YOUR EARS
Daisy MP3 player – The only open source MP3 player, it outsells the ZUNE! (maybe)
Can’t find an open source MP3 player? Neither could we. Here’s an idea: Build your own. Daisy is an easy-to-build, pocket-sized open source MP3 player.
Producing sound as good as an iPod, the Daisy can access 65,000 tracks, play 48khz WAV files as well as MP3’s, and unlike an iPod, has batteries that you can actually change. But the big thing about Daisy is the ease with which it interfaces with so many devices, including the Arduino. It is the perfect MP3 kit for Makers, for it is easily integrated into kiosks, displays, art installations, or just about anything else you can dream up.
Cellular Automata Video Synthesizer Kit – Open automate on your TV
This easy to construct kit is a fun way to play with cellular automata and video synthesis. When complete you will be able to uncover endless visual and sound patterns on any TV with a composite NTSC video input. From Critter & Guitari, All of the components are thru-hole mounted, including board mounted potentiometers, and a pre-programmed microcontroller. No programming is necessary, all that is needed to complete the kit is a soldering iron.
AVR- SYNTH – Open music hacking with MIDI
The AVR SYNTH is a monophonic “virtual analog” synth based, originally, on the Atmel AT90S8535 microcontroller and was designed by Jarek Ziembicki. His aim was to check to see if a simple micro could be used for sound synthesis purposes. And the result? The AT90S8535 managed to do all the tasks: front panel switches and pots services, receiving and processing MIDI messages, and sound generation!
Price: See site.
x0xb0x – Open source Roland 303 clone
The x0xb0x is not just another MIDI-controlled TB-303 clone. x0xb0x is a full reproduction of the original Roland synthesizer, with fully functional sequencer. The sequencer can be programmed just like the original 303 (ok its actually a little easier, we think) and can be used to control other synthesizers via any of its various output formats. 128 banks of track memory and 64 banks of pattern memory are stored in onboard EEPROM, no battery-backup is needed!
Aurora 224 – Open source DJ mixer, mix audio video & color
aurora is a usb powered multichannel mixer in a typical dj form factor. the device features two linear channel faders, a single a/b crossfader and eight backlit buttons. twenty four backlit knobs allow you to control effects. aurora, unlike most midi controllers, enhances performances with controllable ambient lighting. aurora easily integrates with your favorite midi compatible software.
Price: Group orders, see forum
FireFly – Tiny open source hardware guitar amp!
The Firefly is a tube-based guitar amplifier popularized on ax84.com (a tube amp community and forum). The Firefly PCB was created so even the beginner to tube amps can succeed. The PCB is “open hardware” meaning that the PCB file is free to download and modify as well. Otherwise the PCBs are sold for $19 each. There’s a detailed assembly guide as well for download at the site.
Games – Want to play a nice game?
Game of Life – Create colonies in LED
In 1970, John Conway came up with a 1-player game called Game of Life. The Game of Life is a mathematical game that simulates ‘colonies’ that grow or die based on how crowded or lonely they are and is known for the way it creates a beautiful organic display out of randomness. Here is a design for a simple electronic project that plays Conway’s Game of Life. Make one kit and keep it on your desk, or attach multiple kit modules together to create a large display. Originally created by Dropout Design, this revision adds a few extra features. The kit is very easy to make and an excellent first electronics project. It is perfect for workshops since at the end everyone can connect their completed module together.
- Each kit displays a 4×4 grid (16 LEDs) on a 3″x3″ board
- Connect as many kits as youd like, in any configuration, to create a larger game board
- Runs off of 2 AA batteries (not included), but can be easily modified to run off of USB or wall-wart power
- On/Off button to save power, also for resetting the display
- Automatically resets if the colony has died or stagnated (regeneration)
- Backwards compatible with older versions
Meggy Jr – RGB
Meggy Jr RGB is a handheld platform for developing your own pixel-scale video games. Featuring a fully addressable 8×8 RGB LED matrix display, big fat comfy button switches, customizable handles, a lo-fi audio transducer, and even 8 extra LEDs for lives, score, ammo, or level, Meggy Jr RGB is a little kit you won’t want to miss. Meggy Jr is fast, programmable, open source and hackable. And fun. The 8×8 RGB matrix display provides a whole lot of pixels (192 LED elements), and the 8 auxiliary LEDs bring the grand total up to 200. The six tough buttons have excellent click-feel, and multiple programming interfaces let you take control of exactly what you’re playing with.
Build Your Own Electronic Game Kit – It’s like Simon, but open’er
Originally designed for the Maker Faire by Grand Idea Studio, the “Build Your Own Electronic Game Kit” is a custom-created kit intended to introduce you to the world of electronics and soldering.
- When successfully assembled, this kit becomes a version of the popular memory game, Simon, with a few optional twists including no LEDs, no sound, reverse order, and fast play.
- The kit includes all the necessary components, including a pre-programmed microprocessor, custom circuit board, and battery. The only other materials you will need are a soldering iron, solder, and wire snips.
- Assembly instructions, parts list, and game instructions are all printed on the back of the circuit board.
- Special news, this was just open source’d for this guide! Thanks Joe!
Mignonette Game Kit – 70 bits of gaming goodness!
Mignonette is a do-it-yourself electronic game console to learn about soldering, microcontrollers, and game programming. Inspired by the Mignon Game Kit that was done in Germany several years ago. Mignonette extend upon their wonderfully simple design to include a bicolor display, as well as a completely new software library for making games. Suitable for kids too (age 10 and up).
- ATmega88 microcontroller
- 5×7 pixel bicolor LED display
- 4 input buttons
- Sound output via small speaker or earphone jack (think “parent-friendly”)
- comes preprogrammed with Munch game.
- fully programmable via standard 6-pin AVR connector
- battery powered (3 x AA)
Drawdio – The open source musical pencil!
Drawdio is an electronic pencil that lets you make music while you draw! It’s great project for beginners: An easy kit with instant gratification! Essentially, its a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a fun toy that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper.
- Runs on a single AAA battery for many hours (even ‘nearly dead’ batteries will work)
- Use any pencil – mechanical or plain. The kit comes with a 2B pencil, the softer the lead the better
- Ridiculously fun for all ages
fUSEBOX – The awesomely retro open source hardware game console!
The Fuzebox is a fully open-source, DIY 8-bit game console. It is designed specifically for people who know a little bit of programming to expand into designing and creating their own video games and demos. A full-featured core runs in the background and does all the video and audio processing so that your code stays clean and easy to understand. This kit includes the PCB, pre-programmed chip, and all components including a pre-soldered video chip. All but one of the components are through-hole, so you can build it yourself without difficulty. However, it is a 1-2 hr project and its best to have used your soldering iron before this project.
Platforms – Build things to build things with!
BugLabs – Make open LEGO-like computer projects!
BUG is a collection of easy-to-use electronic modules that snap together to build any gadget you can imagine. Each BUGmodule represents a specific gadget function (ex: a camera, a keyboard, a video output, etc.). You decide which functions to include and BUG takes care of the rest, letting you try out different combinations quickly and easily. With BUG and the integrated programming environment/online community (BUGnet), anyone can build, program and share innovative devices and applications.
Price: Starting at $349.00
Beagle boards – Community made, produced by Digi-Key!
Beagle Board is an ultra-low cost, high performance, low power OMAP3 based platform designed by BeagleBoard.org community members and sold by Digi-Key (more here). All Beagle Board peripherals and side products are welcome, as are “competing” projects that make use of the design. Woo!
Gainer – Open hardware for artists!
Gainer is an environment for user interfaces and media installations. By using the Gainer environment, the user can handle sensors and/or actuators with a PC on various programming environments such as Flash, Max/MSP, Processing and so on.
Price: See site.
MAKE Controller kit – Make Robotics, art and more!
A next-generation family of modular, programmable controller boards. The MAKE Controller Kit is an absolute delight to program, and connecting real devices to it is very simple. Self contained unit–ready to connect to sensors, motors, etc. straight out of the box. No additional hardware needed. Comes with simple/common functions pre-programmed on chip for immediate experimentation. Download free software from MakingThings to begin programming/interfacing. Atmel SAM7X processor, ARM7, 32-bit, 256K Flash, 64K SRAM, up to 55MHz and 48 MIPS. Ethernet, 256K EEPROM it’s a monster!
Special news, this was just open source’d for this guide! Thanks makingthings & MAKE.
Bio/Medical – Open up and help someone
OpenEEG an EEG design that is OS & available as a kit or assembled
Many people are interested in what is called neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback training, a generic mental training method which makes the trainee consciously aware of the general activity in the brain. This method shows great potential for improving many mental capabilities and exploring consciousness. Other people want to do experiments with brain-computer interfaces or just want to have a look at their brain at work. Unfortunately, commercial EEG devices are generally too expensive to become a hobbyist tool or toy.
Price: Various, check site.
Open Prosthetics CAD designs for prosthetics
The Open Prosthetics Project is producing useful innovations in the field of prosthetics and freely sharing the designs. This project is an open source collaboration between users, designers and funders with the goal of making our creations available for anyone to use and build upon. Our hope is to use this and our complementary sites to create a core group of lead users and to speed up and amplify the impact of their innovations in the industry.
Phones – Open phone home!
P04 Four Port IP-PBX – Open source asterisk box!
The goal of this project is to provide free hardware designs for telephone systems. Both the hardware and software are open. You are free to copy, modify and re-use the hardware designs. The hardware for a complete embedded Asterisk IP PBX (including multiple analog ports or a T1/E1) can be built for a few hundred dollars. No PC required!
Openmoko – Open source cell phone!
Openmoko is a project dedicated to delivering mobile phones with an open source software stack. Openmoko is currently selling the Neo FreeRunner phone to advanced users and will start selling it to the general public as soon as the software is more developed. Beyond freeing the software on their devices they have also released their CAD files. And at LinuxWorld 2008, they announced the release of the schematics for their products.
Price: See site.
3D Printing – Replicate with replicators!
RepRap – Print anything, in 3D
RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is the practical self-copying 3D printer shown on the right – a self-replicating machine. This 3D printer builds the parts up in layers of plastic. This technology already exists, but the cheapest commercial machine would cost you about â‚¬30,000. And it isn’t even designed so that it can make itself. So what the RepRap team are doing is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about â‚¬500). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world.
Price: Various (see site for kits & more!)…
[email protected] – Make objects and more in 3D, the open way!
[email protected] is a project dedicated to making and using fabbers – machines that can make almost anything, right on your desktop. This website provides everything you need to know in order to build or buy your own simple fabber, and to use it to print three dimensional objects. The hardware designs and software on this website are free and open-source. Once you have your own fabber, you can also download and print various items, try out new materials, or upload and share your own projects. Advanced users can modify and improve the fabber itself.
Price: $2,750.00 and up.
Others / pending… MiniMig – Minimig (short for Mini Amiga) is an open source re-implementation of an Amiga 500 using a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). OpenCores is a foundation that attempts to form a community of designers to support open-source cores (logic designs) for CPUs, peripherals and other devices. OpenCores maintains an open-source on-chip interconnection bus specification called Wishbone. Elphel camera – open source camera project. Megasquirt – open fuel injection project.
- Open source hardware at MAKE.
- What is open source hardware? A start…
- Open source hardware presentation – Limor Fried & Phillip Torrone.
- “Open hardware” gift guide 2006.
- Open source hardware gift guide 2007.
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Due to the high volume of mail that the postal service deals with around the holidays, order by Dec. 10th, however, many packages are lost or delayed in transit and we do not replace or refund any orders lost using this ship method, we strongly encourage you to not use this method in December.