Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Definitive Guide to Open Source Hardware - 2008

Again this year MAKE Magazine blog has publishes the annual Open Source Hardware Guide listing no less than 60 open source hardware projects, ranging from simple microcontroller boards to a fully functional cell phone. Open source hardware are projects where the designers have decided to publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and "board" files necessary to recreate the hardware. The open source licensing allows any use, including commercial.

In many cases you really wouldn't care about the schematics for your cell phone; however, when designing and building complex systems it is a priceless advantage to have the design and the schematics of the individual components at your disposal. You can avoid many surprises during integration since you have a chance to find out exactly what you are buying instead of just getting a black box which may or may not live up to your expectations (lets face it, there always a huge gap between what a sales department advertises and what the technical department delivers). Moreover, you have the freedom to use the hardware you bought the way you want to and not the way the manufacturer wants you to. And you don't risk being sued just because you opened up the box to look at what's under the hood.

Hopefully, it will not take many years before we will see complete space systems on the list :-)

Daisy MP3 player
Daisy MP3 player - An open source MP3 player

Neo FreeRunner
The Neo FreeRunner open source cell phone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jaluro's First Test Drive

Tobi promised that Jaluro will drive before Christmas '08 and so here it is.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Season's Greetings from Team FREDNET

After one year of hard work it was now time to have some fun :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jaluro v0.1 ready to rock and roll

If you happen to live in Vienna, Austria, you better watch out on the streets because Jaluro v0.1 is ready to rock and roll. Here are some fresh photos and stay tuned for a video of Jaluro v0.1 in action!

Jaluro prototype chassis and wheel support.

Tobi and son cutting out the wheels for Jaluro.
When we say anybody can help us we really mean it :-)

Jaluro v0.1 ready to rock and roll!

Side view of the mock-up.

Jaluro v0.1 in action.

Drive by wire :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Article about Team FREDNET and Elphel Inc

A very nice article about the open source and open minded partnership between Team FREDNET and Elphel Inc has just appeared on The article was written by Anders Feder who is a very active member of Team FREDNET and also maintains his own blog called Open Space Exploration Journal.

As the article points out, it is an interesting coincidence (?) that Elphel cameras were also used for the virtual Google Books library and the Google Street View service - and now also in the Google Lunar X PRIZE :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WRV1 Wheel Prototype Assembled

Sitting in my apartment in Denmark on a cold winter evening, I can only wish I was in sunny California for the Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit. Fortunately, I can listen to the discussions via Fred's VOIP and talk to him via Google chat despite the fact that I am more than 7000 km away.

At the same time, exciting news keep coming in reporting progress on the rover side: Jörg from Switzerland has now assembled the first wheel prototype for his WRV1 rover. The current weight of the wheel is 96 grams but the wheel support will have to be cut out so it will come down to about 60 grams (for the prototype).

From WRV1: Wheeled Rover Vehicle 1

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lunar Landing Concepts

An overview of some lunar landing concepts that are being worked on in Team FREDNET has been posted on our forum recently.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Sky on the Moon

We had some discussions on our public forum recently about using the stars and the planets for guidance and navigation on the lunar surface. Of course, it raises the question of how the sky looks like on the Moon? To find out, I took a virtual trip to the Apollo 11, 15 and Surveyor 7 landing sites using the free open source Stellarium software. Stellarium is a complete planetarium software for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. It even allows you to look at the sky from surface of other planets and moons.

Other free software used in producing this video was the Gimp for image manipulations and Kdenlive for non-linear video editing. Thus, the video was created using only free open source software including the OS, which was Ubuntu linux.

You can also watch the video in higher resolution on the YouTube page.

PS: I have hidden a small error in the first 20 seconds of the video, and I am not thinking about the lunar landscape. The first person to identify this error will receive a free Team FREDNET mission patch :-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

WRV1 Progress

Jörg from Switzerland has made some exciting progress with his WRV1 rover prototype. The CAD design for the wheel and gearbox was posted earlier and here are the first pictures of the manufactured parts for the wheel.

First Jörg had to create some tools for being able the produce the cut metal sheet parts (thickness 0.8mm), so on this picture you see some tools and the parts in the order of the production. In front the cutout sheet metal (AL), the outside bended, the fixture bended and finally the holes reinforced:

A closer look to the tool allowing to reinforce the holes by beading the borders:

And here is the result of about 15 hours of preparation and 4 hours of production (some steps are to be optimized!!). The whole wheel weighs about 23 grams (with brass pins instead of Teflon pins):

WRV1 References:
  - WRV1 idea and concept
  - WRV1 Wiki portal