Sessions at Open Source Bridge 2010 about Hardware

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Tuesday 1st June 2010

  • (CANCELLED) Getting Started with FPGAs and HDLs

    by Phil Tomson

    Lots of attention has been given to GPUs for speeding up certain computations. Not as much attention has been focused on FPGAs,but they are likely the next frontier for high performance computing. How does someone with a software development background get started experimenting with FPGAs? First you need to learn about HDLs (Hardware Description Languages) which are used to design FPGA circuits.

    In this talk we'll spend some time getting acquainted with VHDL. Then we'll navigate through issues such as simulation, synthesis and the meaning of "synthesizable subset". We'll touch on FPGA vendor tools as well as open source tools available for simulation. And we'll take a quick look at open source hardware models that you can incorporate into your own designs.

    At 1:30pm to 2:15pm, Tuesday 1st June

    Coverage note

  • Open Source Rockets

    by Nathan Bergey and Andrew Greenberg

    Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS) is a student aerospace engineering project at Portland State University. We're building ultra-low-cost, open hardware and open source rockets that feature perhaps the most sophisticated amateur rocket avionics systems out there today.

    With the new proposed NASA budget eliminating the US manned spaceflight program and a heap of small private space companies popping up, the way we think about getting to space is changing. Is there room for open source in this brave new (space) world? PSAS has been working on open source avionics and hardware for small rockets for several years. We present our experience with, and thoughts on the future of, open source rocketry.

    At 3:45pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 1st June

  • Housetruck: Building a Victorian RV

    by John Labovitz

    As a "software person," I found the hard technologies of building with steel and wood made for a very different creative and hacking process. At the same time, I discovered many parallels to software development, embedded hardware, and even open-source philosophies.

    I'll talk about my methodology of finding inspiration, determining values, establishing functions, researching materials and methods, finding domain experts, building the structure, and solving problems. I'll also present some ideas to "sensorize" and network the vehicle, while keeping true to the overall design philosophies.

    Inspired by gypsy caravans, British "showman's wagons," 1960s housetrucks & buses, Japanese architecture, and rustic shacks, the 8'x14' cabin is handmade of steel, wood, and wool, and is mounted on an Isuzu NPR truck.

    With luck, the housetruck will be present onsite for touring and as a host of possibly the tiniest hacker lounge ever.

    At 4:45pm to 5:30pm, Tuesday 1st June

Thursday 3rd June 2010

  • Building A Mesh Network Wireless Temperature Sensor

    by Michael Pigg

    I wanted to be able to monitor temperatures in multiple locations in my house so that I could tell if changes made in the HVAC system were working or not. Although a commercial solution would be easiest to implement, I decided to build my own instead. I designed a simple wireless temperature sensor around a Digi XBee wireless module that would send temperature readings at regular intervals. The next step was to build software to interface with the wireless sensors and capture the data that they were sending. The interface software (called XBeeLib) uses Apache Mina as a major component to handle translation of packets to and from the wireless modules. The monitoring software (called pHomeNet) is a Java-based system running on the Apache Felix OSGi container. Observations from the sensors are recorded into a database (Apache Derby by default). Although the system is currently focused on recording temperature sensor data, it could easily be adapted to record data from other sensors or even to control devices based on sensor inputs. This presentation will delve into the hardware and software aspects of the system, although with more emphasis on the software and the role that packages such as Apache Felix and Apache Mina play in the system.

    At 1:30pm to 2:15pm, Thursday 3rd June

  • SuperSpeed me: USB 3.0 Open Source Support

    by Sarah Sharp

    This talk will provide a general overview of some of the cool new features of USB 3.0 devices, including link and function power management, and bulk endpoint "streams" that support SCSI command queuing.

    Operating system developers will be interested in how to support those new features, USB hardware hackers will be interested in how to communicate with USB 3.0 devices, and everyone else gets a sneak peek into what the next generation of USB 3.0 devices will look like.

    At 1:30pm to 2:15pm, Thursday 3rd June