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Open Source

Artists concept of MakerPlane 1.0 (Image: MakerPlane)

The idea of owning your own plane is the stuff of daydreams. It’s incredibly appealing, but despite some (relative) drops in pricing in recent years, it remains incredibly expensive. If you build your own plane from a kit, it’s a bit cheaper than buying one, but the odds are that you’ll never complete the job because kitplanes are notoriously difficult to build. However, that may be changing. MakerPlane is a project that aims to create an open source aircraft designed by contributors and built with digital manufacturing processes. You can’t download the plans into your 3D printer and fly away that afternoon, but it does hold the promise of making amateur aviation a lot more accessible.  Read More

Firefox OS is based on the Boot to Gecko project

Mozilla has announced that its Firefox OS mobile operating system will be appearing on handsets in Brazil from early 2013, available through Telefónica’s commercial brand, Vivo. Firefox OS is based on Mozilla's existing Boot to Gecko technology and each app for the platform is to be constructed in HTML5, the markup language increasingly used for structuring online content such as media and web apps.  Read More

The musical umbrella was created by Berlin-based Alice Zappe and Julia Lager

During this year’s Amsterdam-based Music Hack Day, two intrepid hackers originating from Berlin created a musical umbrella which produces a random series of lo-fi 8-bit tones. The tones are triggered by raindrops striking the outside surface of the umbrella's canopy and the abstract results bring to mind a warped soundtrack for the first generation Nintendo Game Boy.  Read More

The Freestyle Semiconductor Mechatronics Robot with its 32-bit RISC microprocessor board (...

A hundred years ago, the state-of-the-art of automotive technology was being pushed forward as quickly by shade-tree mechanics as it was by formal industrial R&D. To paraphrase John Steinbeck: "Two generations of Americans knew more about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars." The current situation in robotics could be seen in a similar light - open source hardware and software provide very similar tools and capabilities to hobbyists and robotics start-up company alike. To ease entry into the field, Freescale Semiconductors has just introduced FSLBOT, which provides the basic hardware and software for development of a walking, sensor-laden robot starting at only US$200.  Read More

Sensordrone is small enough to fit on a keychain, but sophisticated enough to collect data...

Those who value having a myriad of information on the world around them right at their fingertips may have something extra to add to their Christmas or birthday wish list. Sensordrone, a Kickstarter project that has managed to triple its initial funding goal of US$25,000, packs a dozen environmental sensors into a keychain-sized dongle, collecting highly localized data and relaying the information to any Android device via Bluetooth.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire teach the iCub robot how to form words, as ...

iCub is an open-source hardware project described as a “cognitive humanoid robotic platform." The project was initiated in Italy, but the technology is now in use at several other labs, including the University of Hertfordshire. Researchers there, taking part in the iTalk project, have carried out experiments to find out how robots can develop basic language skills by interacting with a human.  Read More

The WikiHouse construction system is based on the use of plywood fins that connect togethe...

Created by a group of young designers from London, WikiHouse is an open source construction solution that aims to make it possible for almost anyone, regardless of skill level, to freely download and build affordable housing. The WikiHouse construction system was on display during last month's Milan Design Week, where the creators themselves demonstrated how the technology can be applied. “We believe this could herald in a new industrial revolution,” co-founder Nick Ierodiaconou told Gizmag. “The factory of the future will be everywhere and the designer will be everyone.”  Read More

The low-cost, pocket-friendly, open source, and completely hack-friendly Soundlazer parame...

Sonic technology that allows audio to be specifically directed at a limited audience, as opposed to booming sound out as far and as loud as possible, has been around for a good many years but has yet to penetrate the mass consumer market. That situation could well change very shortly, however, thanks to the Soundlazer. The low-cost, pocket-friendly, open source, and completely hack-friendly parametric device developed by Richard Haberkern uses ultrasonic carrier waves to transmit sound from a connected music player on a narrow beam to a select listener.  Read More

Dhairya Dand's prototype ThinkerToys are edutainment modules designed to put functional e-...

Electronic waste is a huge global problem, and its often devastating impact on our environment is not going to lessen any time soon – in fact, it's predicted to get worse. Faced with a panorama of mountainous e-waste when passing an immense landfill site in suburban Phnom Penh, Cambodia and seeing young children working there instead of going to school, a researcher at Keio-NUS CUTE Center and Mixed Reality Lab in Singapore came up with a novel idea to help tackle both issues. His plan involves creating simple and cheap-to-produce edutainment kit modules that could be shipped out to those unfortunate areas of the world where e-waste is transported for disposal, where they would be paired up with discarded but functional tech such as PS/2 keyboards and mice, speakers and old CRT monitors.  Read More

The GameGadget is a mobile gaming console designed for classic games titles

It wasn’t so long ago that the mobile gaming space was dominated by Nintendo and Sony. While both companies continue to stake a claim for the mobile gaming pie with the release of their latest handhelds – the 3DS and PlayStation Vita – dedicated mobile gaming consoles have been under serious fire from smartphones in recent years. But that hasn’t stopped a UK-based company entering the arena with the GameGadget – an open source console designed to let fans get their hands on classic games titles.  Read More

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