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Open Hardware/Modding: Turbine From Repurposed Parts, RISC-V, Boating Autopilot With OpenPlotter

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Hardware
OSS
  • Open Source $50 Water Turbine From Repurposed Parts

    Easy access to reliable electrical power is something a lot of us take for granted, but in developing countries or after natural disaster, it can be a rare commodity. [Daniel Connelly] has been working hard to develop infrastructure people can build themselves, and his latest project is a 200 W water turbine (video after the break) that can be built for about $50.

    The core of the system is a wheel and motor from a hoverboard. What looks like 110 mm PVC tubing is connected together in a U-shape that can be mounted over the wall of a man-made channel. The inlet side is shorter than the outlet, and the system must be filled with water to allow the flow to start, like a siphon. The first two versions had the impeller sitting on the end of the outlet tube. V1 used a scrap plastic radial impeller of unknown origin, and did not work at all. V2 had a 3D printed impeller that worked pretty well, but the rotation speed wasn’t high enough to produce the voltage that [Daniel] wanted.

  • Bluespec Unveils Groundbreaking "RISC-V Factory" - Empowering Open Source Hardware Developers to Build Faster and More Efficiently

    Bluespec is thrilled to announce the launch of their latest innovation: the Bluespec RISC-V Factory. From developers to embedded systems engineers and beyond, those working in the RISC-V field now have a brand new resource at their fingertips that enables them to become RISC-V power users and design with RISC-V open source cores far more safely and efficiently.

    While open source cores provide a huge running start on the RISC-V value proposition, there is still a dangerous productization gap compared to proprietary cores. The RISC-V Factory supplies the missing layers of productization, enabling safe and easy deployment of RISC-V open source hardware.

  • How RISC-V is creating a globally neutral, open source processor architecture

    Arm dominates the microprocessor architecture business, as its licensees have shipped 150 billion chips to date and are shipping 50 billion more in the next two years. But RISC-V is challenging that business with an open source ecosystem of its own, based on a new kind of processor architecture that was created by academics and is royalty free.

    This month, 2,000 engineers attended the second annual RISC-V Summit in San Jose, California. The leaders of the effort, including nonprofit RISC-V Foundation CEO Calista Redmond, said they see billions of cores shipping in the future.

    RISC-V started in 2010 at the University of California at Berkeley Par Lab Project, which needed an instruction set architecture that was simple, efficient, and extensible and had no constraints on sharing with others. Krste Asanovic (a founder of SiFive), Andrew Waterman, Yunsup Lee, and David Patterson created RISC-V and built their first chip in 2011. In 2014, they announced the project and gave it to the community.

    RISC-V enables members to design processors and other chips that are compatible with software designed for the architecture, and it means licensees won’t have to pay a royalty to Arm. RISC-V is politically neutral, as it’s moving its base to Switzerland. That caught the attention of executives, including Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss, according to RISC-V board member Patterson. With RISC-V, Chinese companies wouldn’t have to depend on Western technology, which became an issue when the U.S. imposed tariffs and Arm had to determine whether it could license U.S. technology to Huawei.

  • An Open Source Boating Autopilot With Some Custom Tweaks

    Piloting a boat is all well and good, but can get dull when you’d rather be reclining on the deck with a cold beverage in hand. For [Timo Birnschein], this simply wouldn’t do. He began to gather parts to put together an autopilot to keep his boat on the straight and narrow.

    The build is based around OpenPlotter, which uses a battery of marine-ready software to handle routing charts, autopiloting, and providing a compass heading for navigation. Naturally, it all runs on a Raspberry Pi. In combination with PyPilot, it can be used to let the vessel drive itself around a series of waypoints, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere on the water without having to constantly steer the craft.

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