Tag Archives: C4CC

Boards (Beautifully Functional Circuits, Little Printer)


At the twenty-seventh meeting there will be a talk on designing printed circuit boards that are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, and a talk on the design and manufacture of the Little Printer, and the upcoming BERG Cloud dev board.

Beautifully Functional Circuits

Circuit design is typically thought of as block-based and purely functional; it doesn't necessarily have to be. Our inherent creativity as engineers has been dampened by unimaginative and limiting design tools, that have forced us to "forget" that functional circuits can, and should, be beautiful too. This talk will explore these limitations and how we could do better.

Saar Drimer is an experienced hardware engineer. In the past few years he's been developing tools for effective and efficient hardware design.

Little Printer

In 2012 the design and product company BERG launched Little Printer, their internet-connected thermal printer that prints its own face. It was the first consumer product that BERG had made, and went on to be nominated for the 2013 Designs of the Year by the Design Museum.

In this talk we will explore the project's evolution, from prototype to mass produced product. The talk will cover the way BERG's design process works, going to China to organise plastic injection moulding, passing certification and EMC, and many other practical aspects of making and selling consumer products that connect online.

The talk will also cover a technical overview of the whole stack that brings Little Printer to life, the extraction and evolution of the underlying BERG Cloud platform, and the forthcoming developer kits that open up the platform to anybody.

Nick Ludlam is CTO at BERG, and is responsible for the collective software development, from the embedded code running inside Little Printer, the Ruby/Rails-based cloud architecture, and the use of Amazon Web Services to scale.

Andy Huntington is Hardware Producer & Designer at BERG and is responsible for all of BERG's physical hardware, from the electronics and PCBs to the industrial design and manufacturing of Little Printer itself. He has a background in music and moved through software into hardware following an Interaction Design MA at the Royal College of Art.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by:

Sensor Networks (Contiki, Low Power Wireless Sensors, quick2link)


At the twenty-sixth meeting we will have talks on Contiki, the open source operating system for the Internet of Things, low power wireless sensors and quick2link, a protocol for distributed sensor/actuator networks.

An Introduction to the Contiki O/S

This talk aims to introduce the Contiki OS and some of the development hardware that is used with it. We will learn about the process of bootstrapping the development environment and there will be a hands-on tutorial.

Ilya Dmitrichenko was born in Soviet Latvia in 1985, grew up and attended a secondary school there, and moved to UK as soon as Latvia joined the EU. He attended the biggest university in London and was rather disappointed with the education, but nevertheless carried on and had fun working on a final year engineering project which served as an introduction to the topic of this talk. Ilya is interested in various aspects of hardware and software, spanning from WSN to DSP and several other random fields.

Note that this talk was originally scheduled for OSHUG #15.

Low Power Wireless Sensors around the Home

Have you ever wondered how much electricity the kettle used this week, what effect installing that loft insulation had on the temperature of the living room, or how humid the loft is?

Small low power wireless nodes make it very easy to deploy a network of sensors to monitor, for example, electrical power, temperature and humidity around the home or office.

This talk will give practical examples of connecting low power wireless sensor nodes to the Web using RFM12B/SRF/XRF 433MHz/868MHz wireless modules, Arduino-based hardware and firmware, and a Raspberry Pi base station running the Emoncms open-source web-application to log, process and visualise the data. Experience will be drawn from OpenEnergyMonitor, a project to develop open source energy monitoring tools to help us relate to our use of energy, energy systems and the challenge of sustainable energy.

Glyn Hudson is a hardware developer for the OpenEnergyMonitor project. Together with Trystan Lea he runs the OpenEnergyMonitor website and online shop. Glyn has a passion for open hardware, sustainable energy and rock climbing… in no particular order!


Romilly Cocking spent the ten years before his 'retirement' as an agile software developer, coach and trainer. He spent the first two years of retirement experimenting with robotics. Then Raspberry Pi came along, and now Romilly works full-time running Quick2Wire.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Is Three (Writing AVR Firmware, Panel)


The twenty-fifth meeting marks our third anniversary, and will feature a talk on writing embedded firmware and a panel discussion that will explore the future of open source hardware.

Writing firmware for the AVR: A Morse Code Beacon

In this talk we will look at a number of techniques for making the most of the miniscule MSP430 and ATTiny embedded microcontrollers. Explaining how to approach the task of developing software for constrained systems such as those with only a few hundred bytes of RAM or a few kilobytes of Flash. Predominantly writing in C and using Chris Swan's Morse Code Beacon as an example, revealing why code needs to be structured in ways that may initially seem counter-intuitive or undesirable, as well as how the resources are used and allocated.

Such techniques are essential for getting almost any useful program to run in small systems, and when applied to slightly bigger machines such as the ATmega — found in platforms such as Arduino — they can allow really comprehensive programs to be executed successfully.

Andy Bennett is an engineer that likes to inhabit the void between hardware and the software that runs on it. After graduating from Imperial College with a degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering, he joined Access Devices Digital Limited where he designed software and FPGAs for the UK's first Dual Tuner Personal Video Recorders. He continued working on Advanced Product Development at Pace Micro Technology before leaving to build distributed database engines at GenieDB. One year ago he founded Knodium where he applies his finely honed ability to produce software on a shoestring.

Panel discussion: The Future of Open Source Hardware

Interest in open source hardware continues to grow unabated and the movement has come a long way in the three years since our first meeting. However, could it ever provide opportunities on the same scale as those afforded by its much older and now well understood cousin, open source software? What are the barriers to growth? How are the intellectual property and economic considerations different to those of open source software? These are just some of the questions that we plan to explore as part of this panel discussion.

Moderated by: Paul Downey.

Professor Cornelia Boldyreff is Visiting Professor in the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Greenwich, and Chair of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group. She is a Fellow of the BCS and HEA, and a member of the ACM and the BCS Women's Committee. She has over 30 years experience in software engineering and has lead extensive research within open source software.

Sukkin Pang is a design engineer and a director at SK Pang Electronics Ltd. He graduated from the University of Hertfordshire and has over 20 years of industrial experience. He is passionate about open source hardware and has four Arduino shields published. He used to tinker in assembler on the Z80, 6502, PIC and AVR, but nowadays he mainly uses C and C++.

Alan Wood originally trained in systems engineering, got lost in software engineering and open source for a decade, before returning back to his hardware roots via the open source hardware and makers movement that has gathered momentum over the last few years.

Nigel Rix is Director of Electronics at the ESP KTN, part of the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board. Nigel has over 30 years experience working with a variety high tech companies from multi-nationals to start-ups and on hardware and software based products from electron beam lithography and laser systems to solutions for the security sector.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Lightning Talks


For the twenty-fourth OSHUG meeting we've decided to try something new and we will be hosting a series of lightning talks. The first five talks have been confirmed and details of these can be found below. Offers of additional talks of between five and ten minutes are invited and proposals can either be submitted in advance via e-mail or made on the night (please arrive early).

Note that this month the meeting takes place on a Wednesday.

FUNcube Satellite

FUNcube-1 is a UK amateur radio educational satellite that is due to be launched later this year, and that uses open source hardware to bring real-time space based experiments to classrooms around the globe. Three members of the on-board computer team will discuss project goals and progress.

64-core Parallella Prototype

Simon Cook will be demonstrating one of only two 64-core Parallella prototypes in the UK.

PCBmodE — a PCB design tool written in Python around JSON, SVG and Inkscape

Saar Drimer will be talking about an open source PCB design tool, that reads shape and placement information stored in JSON files to produce an SVG graphical representation of them. Routing is drawn with Inkscape, then extracted by PCBmodE and stored in an input JSON file that's used for the next board generation. A post-processor 'gerberises' the SVGs into "Extended Gerbers" (RS-274X) for manufacturing.

Interfacing High-performance Low-cost Embedded Systems with FPGAs

Mustafa H. Yuce will be talking about an open source project that interfaces embedded systems including BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi with FPGAs, to enable the implementation of high-speed parallel processing applications such as computer vision.


Alan Wood will be talking about the recently developed Flux series of boards that are used for motion control applications.

Open Source Junction 4 Report

Paul Tanner will be providing a report from the OSS Watch two day workshop, Open Source Junction 4: Open Source Hardware meets Open Source Software.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Products (Nanode, An Industry Perspective, Licensing Update)


Coming up for a year ago, at OSHUG #16, we heard three first-hand experiences of developing open source hardware designs into finished products. At the twenty-third meeting we'll further explore this topic through reflections on the Nanode project as it approaches its second anniversary, and an industry perspective on developing open source hardware. There will also be an update on developments in open source hardware licensing, a subject that was explored at the second OSHUG meeting back in May 2010.

As Nanode Approaches Two

With the second anniversary of the Nanode project approaching and in excess of 2,500 sold worldwide, this talk looks at the initial aims, commercialisation and spin-offs as a typical open source hardware design. Exploring the concept, start-up phase and challenge of maintaining momentum in a constantly evolving open source marketplace.

Ken Boak has worked in electronics hardware design for 25 years. Initially with BBC Research Department where Ken worked on early HDTV digital picture processing systems. In 1998 Ken embarked on ten years in telecommunications and volume product production in the Far East. Recently Ken has worked on scientific and educational instruments, and open source systems both in the UK and USA.

Open Source Hardware Licensing Update

It's been a busy time in open source hardware licensing - CERN's Open Hardware Licence has been undergoing a lot of work behind the scenes, and a new version is about to be released. There are rumours of a new version of the TAPR Open Hardware licence, and the debate between copyleft and academic licences rages on. Andrew Katz has been involved of all of these activities and will provide an update on the current state of licensing, and some pointers on the best licence to adopt.

Andrew Katz is a partner at boutique law firm Moorcrofts LLP in the Thames Valley. He specialises in IT/IP work, and in particular advises clients on licensing and liability issues around open source software.He was involved in drafting both GPL3 and the England and Wales version of the Creative Commons licence as well as all major open hardware licences. Many years ago, he designed and built a Z80 SS50 bus-based computer system, created a lightweight version of the Citroen Dyane, mainly by ripping it body off, and hacked together an air compressor from bits and pieces found in a scrapyard. He is currently part-time interim COO of the Maria DB foundation.

Developing Open Source Hardware: an Industry Perspective

RS Components have developed a new platform for which the hardware design will be published under an open source licence. This talk will provide an overview of this exciting new development and provide an insight into the motivations for making the design freely available to all. The product development and manufacturing process will also be covered in brief along with some of the challenges experienced, and the broader project goals and ongoing commitment to the open source community.

Mike Brojak is responsible at RS Components for the development of free resources for electronics engineers, and believes in helping engineers to be more productive in order to achieve their highest potential. His technical background is in hardware and software for embedded systems, primarily for mobile automation control. He has an Electronics Systems Design degree from Oxford Brookes University.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Drones (UDB4, OpenRelief, ARDrone + Kinect)


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are increasingly making the news, but when they do so it's usually because of their use in warfare. However, drones can be put to use in many other, far more positive applications. And at the twentieth OSHUG meeting we will hear talks on an experimental attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), using open source technology to build drones for use in disaster relief, and on a fun and novel method of flying drones via gesture control.

Using UDB4 for an Experimental AHRS

The UAV Development Board is a very versatile development board that has been around for the past five or so years, and which has been supported by small team led by William Premerlani. The board comes with a dsPIC30F4011 microcontroller, an MMA7260 three axis accelerometer and two dual-axis Inversense IXZ500 gyroscopes. It has supported various forms of platforms ranging from inverted pendulums to multicoptors. It has primarily been a development platform for experimenters and it is in its fourth major revision.

The talk intends to give a high level view of the MatrixPilot firmware as a general introduction to autopilots, with a demonstration of the Hardware in loop simulation to show how it behaves in flight for a fixed wing aircraft.

Anish Mohammed has been an electronics hobbyist and software hacker since his early teens. He spent almost a decade in research and development in security and cryptography, and these days he works for the Big Five in consulting. He is a confirmed UAV addict who owns a dozen AHRS/Autopilots, both open and partially closed, with interests in multicopters, fixed wings and rovers.

OpenRelief — Open Source Software and Open Hardware For Frontline Disaster Relief

This talk will explore how the OpenRelief team, inspired by challenges seen during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, is using Open Source Software and Open Hardware to create disaster relief tools. The first step is to develop a small drone that can take off from anywhere, recognize roads, people and smoke while also measuring weather and radiation. It can be built for less than 1,000 USD, and easily shares information with Open Source and proprietary disaster management systems. The goal is to gather critical information for relief workers on the ground, and contribute to getting aid where it is needed.

Karl Lattimer is an engineer who started early with electronics and programming, and has worked on all kinds of projects for many companies developing software to solve a wide variety of problems. He currently works for Codethink Ltd, an engineering firm based in Manchester, UK. Karl is enthusiastic about Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Robotics and related engineering disciplines. He is a firm believer that we can engineer a future that is more sustainable, adaptive and integrated. His interest in OpenRelief stems from a desire to engineer solutions to the problems faced in disaster scenarios, and the desire to drive the permeation of robots into our everyday lives.

Flying an ARDrone Like a 7-year Old Child

Controlling a Parrot ARDrone using URBI, python and an MS Kinect camera, allowing people to fly it by holding their arms out and pretending to be an airplane like a small child. This was in truth an exploration in how to couple independent projects and to explore and exploit the APIs presented by the kinect and the drone's software.

Ben O'Steen is a freelance developer with an interest in the fuzzy divide between physical and digital spaces, such as how we perceive and use objects differently based on how they are (re)produced, presented or controlled. Currently, he can be found working on digital library and archive projects for academic institutions, art installations and his newly completed 3d printer.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

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