For the last couple of weeks I’ve had several ideas of products that I would like do create as an Open Hardware project. Some of them might be just crazy grandeur – of doing something somewhat impossible – and would have prohibitive costs for something open sourced. Just to be sure, I don’t want to build an open source lunar module (although that would be wicked). Others are doable with a small funding and reusing other open hardware projects.
Letting the impossible projects aside, for now, I would really like to create these with the help of anyone willing to share knowledge and learn something new in the process. So here is the list (with no proper order):
There are several DIY beer in the internet, lots of kits – some really basic, others really advanced. Some brewers share the way they brew, but none is really Open Source, or a full project. The idea is to have a small brewery able to brew 40 liters of beer, or less. The system should control all the pumps, heaters, connections needed.
Agriculture/Garden Sensors Network
An active soil monitor with high quality measurements, able to send periodic data on temperature, moisture, pH, etc. Battery powered, with a solar charger, battery should last for at last 10 days. The collected data could be feed to an automatic irrigation system, or just enable better crops.
Since I’ve discovered some really old 8mm films that my grandpa made in the 1960’s, my interest on the subject grew. Converting an old film to a digital media is really expensive, but the mechanics and electronics needed are somewhat simple, and have been in use for ages. The mechanics are known to work since circa 1880, the electronics (CCD’s) have been in use since 1971.
There are several high-speed data acquisition systems being developed by CERN. Reuse one of these designs, add a FPGA, a USB 3.0 port, and you have a really basic oscilloscope. Want more channels? Add a backplane for connecting up to 4 acquisition cards and stream all the data to the USB port. Connect the device to a PC, tablet, etc and you have a really good scope. The cost of this system would be probably be bound by the cost of the ADC, which is quite expensive (especially in small quantities).
A friend of mine, who is a doctor, always talk about the benefits of using ultrasound to early diagnostics. But ultrasound devices for diagnostic are just too expensive to be used by a broader range of physicians, like those on remote areas, accidents, etc. Ultrasound has been in development since circa 1950, which means that the basic electronic needed is simple. The data processing algorithms are way more complicated than the electronics. My idea is to focus on the electronics to have a basic working device, just acquiring all the information needed to feed the proper imaging algorithms. Main challenge is having a fast (2MHz ~ 18Mhz) switch with high voltage (~90V).