I'd like to announce ORCONF 2016, the annual open source digital design
conference. This year we're very pleased to be hosted by Davide Rossi and
his group at the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy over October 7th,
8th and 9th.
As in previous years, we're looking forward to bringing together those
involved and interested in any facet of open source embedded systems
We'd like to have a strong showing from the various open source communities
and their projects that are out there, academia and their interesting
research ideas that either directly or indirectly contribute to the open
source hardware ecosystem, and commercial developers who either contribute
or perhaps just have success stories to share about their use of, or
collaboration with, open source hardware projects.
As usual, the http://orconf.org site is the place to go for all of the
information as it becomes available.
Registration and presentation submission forms are now live. Please do
register if you plan to attend:
If you'd like to present at ORCONF this year, then please fill out this
form as well, and we'll be in touch:
The conference is being organised by the Free and Open Source Silicon
Foundation (FOSSi) with help, of course, by our hosts at the University of
Bologna. ORCONF will be free to attend, and we'd like to provide food and
drinks during the day for attendees, amongst other things, and so are
seeking sponsors for the event. Please get in touch if you'd like to
sponsor us this year.
We look forward to another great conference this year, and hope to see as
many of you there as possible.
The ORCONF team
I'm pleased to announce that we have 11 talks and 4 workshops
confirmed for Open Source Hardware Camp 2016, covering a great
selection of topics and with some excellent speakers.
For the full programme and to register please visit:
Details can also be found below and there is a possibility of the odd
additional talk and workshop being added to the programme.
As in previous years, there will be a social event on the Saturday
evening and OSHCamp is once again being hosted to coincide with the
Wuthering Bytes technology festival. You're encouraged to check the
website for details of other participating events, as some are likely
to be of interest. Although please note that more details are yet to
be added for the Festival Day.
Open Source Hardware Camp 2016
On the 3rd September 2016, 09:00 Saturday morning - 16:00 on the
Sunday afternoon at The Birchcliffe Centre, Birchcliffe Road, Hebden
Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8DG, UK.
Open Source Hardware Camp 2016 will take place place in the Pennine
town of Hebden Bridge. For the third year running it is being hosted
as part of the Wuthering Bytes technology festival.
Hebden Bridge is approximately 1 hour by rail from Leeds and
Manchester. Budget accommodation is available at the Hebden Bridge
Hostel which adjoins the venue, with private rooms available and
discounts for group bookings. Details of other local accommodation can
be found at www.hebdenbridge.co.uk.
There will be a social event on the Saturday evening from 8PM.
*** Saturday :: Talks ***
— LabRTC — progress at the Open University on instant real-time
control of lab hardware that's half a world away
Now that web infrastructure is finally delivering on the promises made
in the 90s, instant real-time interactions with live hardware on the
other side of the world are a reality. For example, we have recently
been testing a rotating pendulum that can be controlled from a mobile
phone, tablet or PC, from anywhere in the world, with no noticeable
lag in the video feed.
This approach is at the core of the new openSTEM lab being created at
the Open University, as part of a £2.7M HEFCE project. The Open
University are world leaders in connecting knowledge with distance
students, and are now tackling the challenge of linking distance
students in their homes with state of the art hardware on our campus,
yet achieving the same response times as if they were in the same room
This talk will present core aspects of the technology behind our new
openSTEMlab for electronics, as well as give you a teaser of the
open-source version of our software that we are developing for
eventual release to our students (and you) for use with open-source
hardware in your own projects. Attendees will also be given the
opportunity to remotely access activities in the openSTEMlab itself
over coming months, as it enters alpha and beta phases ahead of the
first electronics courses going live in October 2017.
* Dr Tim Drysdale is a Senior Lecturer in electronics at The Open
University, leading the development of the openSTEMlab and the
creation of two new electronics courses. His research area involves
antenna design and numerical software development.
— Openly Educating the Next Generation of Engineers
In this talk we take a look at technical education past and present
and discusses how it can benefit from open hardware.
* Ken Boak got his first soldering iron on his 6th birthday, and was
introduced to electronics by his father, by constructing crystal sets
Ken studied Electronic Engineering at the University of North Wales,
Bangor, and then went on to work for BBC Research Department on the
then, fledgling HDTV systems.
Since leaving the BBC in 1994, Ken has held 10 permanent positions,
plus several contract jobs across a wide range of hardware
disciplines. Ken still enjoys tinkering with the latest hardware and
has interests in FPGAs, soft core processors and educational hardware.
— Indie Manufacturing
Is there a scale of production between craft and mass-manufacture?
Does it work for consumer products? Can local suppliers - particularly
across the UK Maker Belt in the North - help us bridge the gap and
scale up? Adrian McEwen will share what he's learnt exploring the
issues and building a new IoT product as part of the RCA Future
Makespaces & Redistributed Manufacturing project.
* Adrian McEwen is a technologist and entrepreneur based in Liverpool.
He has been connecting devices to the Internet since 1995 — first cash
registers, then mobile phones, and now anything from bubble machines
to wave energy prototypes. He founded MCQN Ltd., an Internet of Things
product studio and is co-founder of DoES Liverpool, a hybrid
co-working/makerspace that is the home for tech startups in Liverpool.
He co-wrote the book Designing the Internet of Things and runs the
monthly #IoTLiverpool meetups.
Adrian concentrates on how the Internet of Things intersects with
people’s lives and how heterogeneous networks of devices should work
together, and lectures and speaks on these issues internationally.
— Keeping your project on track
This talk will look at a project from inception through to the "end
product". It will look at the various stages: research, design,
hardware development and software development, debugging and fault
finding. It will consider the possible choices you have at each stage.
It will look at the tools that are available to help your development,
such as IDEs, debuggers, and so on.
The example that will be used is a controller for model trains using
"Digital Cab Control" ("DCC").
* Melanie Rhianna Lewis started a life long love of electronics as a
child when her Dad helped her make a "crystal" radio with an ear
piece, a coil of wire, a diode and a radiator! Melanie currently works
for an embedded device consultancy near Bradford where she works
developing Linux based devices using ARM and MIPS. In her spare time
she can be found on roller skates hitting people.
— Open Source and Feature Film Production
Having researched and examined how open source has reached out into
many areas of current working environments, Daniel Mulligan was struck
by how little open source seems to be used within the film production
community. It appearing that little has been developed for an entire
production workflow and backbone, from the sensor and how it is used
and manipulated, the colour science and workflow.
Examples do exist, such as ACES (Academy Color Encoding System),
providing a free, open source colour and look management architecture.
This has been taken forward through the educational department of the
Oscars and by established Industry practitioners, but being such a new
subject has as yet to completely encompass the entire workflow.
Thus seeking to further the understanding and appreciation of
production processes we can create a diverse array of programs and
hardware for filmmakers (and institutions) to provide unique
opportunities for engagement with the principles of open source
relating to film production, and by approaching the subject now and
introducing hardware research with an ethical ethos and approach, the
belief is that we can further educate those who would like to see open
source become a stronger and more realistic proposition as it
continues to thrive and develop. Learning, teaching and research are
all encompassed in the entire pipeline for a production. Open content,
open practice, open data, open access are all elements that can be
attributed to open source for film and education.
On this basis contact was established with Apertusº for their open
source 4K camera hardware. This has allowed us to tackle the subject
fully by developing not only sensor technology but also the processing
involved. We have currently had delivered the very first shipped Open
Source 4K hardware camera and testing fully its capabilities.
The aim is to create free and open technology and hardware, and make
all the generated knowledge freely available to everyone, encouraging
participation along the way. By developing this approach we can create
a production pathway that includes subjects such as open data, open
collaboration and open hardware and software.
Open source film production is an emerging environment effecting
production tremendously, and is a perfect example of collaboration and
education developing in multiple areas for the future, and can all be
developed with an extremely strong emphasis on hardware development
with software support.
* Daniel Mulligan started in cameras (assisting and focus pulling),
before then graduating up the ranks to Camara Operating for F1, BBC
Dramas then 2nd Unit Cinematography for Feature Theatrical
Daniel also started and privately ran a rental house supplying digital
cameras, plus an onset/location company providing location post and
digital camera workflows. This culminated just recently with a 2-3
year stint at Technicolor as their locations digital dailies
supervisor, looking after projects such as Jupiter Ascending,
Mortdecai and The Man from UNCLE.
During this time Daniel has seen a few changes and re-iterations of
the current digital workflows and it has struck him over time how much
we do rely on proprietary systems for most delivery. And perhaps quite
rightly so, as the delivery requirements for VFX to DI, to onset LUTs
and more need that service.
— The Things Network, a crowd sourced data network for the Internet of Things
In November 2015 a group of geeks in Reading were inspired to create
an Internet for the IoT, a community project that has grown legs and
is up and walking. The great thing about this project is how is has
built connections with many abstract groups in the area. Mike will
talk about the project to date, the plans for the future and how you
can get involved, and Mark will outline the progress and gotchas when
rolling out The Things Network on a grand scale.
* Mike (The Bee) Beardmore is a maker based in Berkshire. He tinkers
with software and hardware, micros and 3D printing. He is an
enthusiastic supporter of open source and is working with projects
connecting things, including horticulture, energy systems and art
* Mark Hill is the co-founder of OpenTRV, a company on a mission to
cut carbon emissions. With smart thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs),
OpenTRV aims to knock 10% off the entire UK's carbon emissions.
Whether hardware, software or making a noise about guerilla IoT
networks, Mark concentrates on making things happen, and in the right
— Kitnic.it - A registry for open hardware electronics projects
Kitnic.it is a site to share electronics projects in a way that makes
sense: give me the Gerbers and let me buy all the parts with a few
clicks. In this talk the creator of the open source site outlines it's
functionality, the standards it's trying to promote, some of the
technical challenges encountered in making it and what's on the
roadmap for the future.
* Kaspar Emanuel is a freelance electronic design engineer and
software developer working on projects ranging from musical
instruments, to robots, to Braille displays. His primary professional
interest is in making technology more accessible, less scary and more
— Computer Controlled Heating System — cool use for a hot Pi
This talk will take a look at the shortcomings with currently
available heating controllers (even the posh ones) and Andrew Gladwell
came up with a system that solves all of the identified problems.
* Andrew Gladwell is a computer technician operating his own repair
workshop in Ashton Under Lyne. He has been interested in Linux and
open source for many years and no longer has any Windows or Mac
equipment in regular use..
Andrew has become convinced in recent months that he has undiagnosed
and hopefully mild Aspergers Syndrome but is not sure quite what, if
anything, to do about that.
When not down the rabbit hole of the terminal shell Andrew enjoys
walking, cycling, motorbikes, DIY, rock climbing.
— Scaling IoT with Open Data
In this talk, Yodit will make the case that Open Data is the best
practical way to make IoT in work within the 'Smart Cities' context.
She will talk about examples of community sensing projects from all
over the world from air quality to water quality. The digitisation of
public spaces means that sensors are deployed in a number of contexts
from environmental to traffic, practically this data is useful to lots
of people and reuse is vital.
* Yodit Stanton is a data nerd and machine learning developer who runs
OpenSensors.io. OpenSensors provides data infrastructure for the
Internet of Things enabling anyone to publish real time open data from
sensor networks. OpenSensors came out of my her own frustration at not
being able to find real time information about the world and we are
fixing that... As the physical world becomes digitised making sure
people and not just businesses understand the data within their own
context is especially important for IoT to succeed.
— Building a Smarter Island
The island of Martha’s Vineyard, 7 miles off the coast of
Massachusetts, is a popular holiday destination for tourists, US
Presidents and celebrities, but it also has an engaged year round
HereLab is building a LoRaWAN network to cover island towns, land and
waterways. This talk will cover how Thing Innovations and HereLab have
collaborated to develop a long range sensor platform designed for air,
land, water and town applications.
It will provide some use-cases which will demonstrate how the sensor
platform is being used to monitor greenhouses, aqua farms, buildings,
trash and traffic. It will also outline how data is being used to help
islanders measure the local environment and, as a result, to better
manage and engage their local natural, social and built-space
* Andrew Lindsay is a freelance developer with an active interest in
embedded hardware and the "Internet of Things”, developing sensor
devices through his IoT consultancy Thing Innovations.
Andrew has been tinkering with electronics and computers for over 35
years. His first computer was a Sinclair ZX80. He has worked as a
software developer for over 25 years working in industries as diverse
as Cable TV, Water instrumentation & control systems, Network
hardware, ISP, Telecoms, Finance and Retail systems.
Outside of work, Andrew enjoys real ale, good food, gadgets, heavy
metal, motorcycles and of course his family. Andrews projects include
designing and building river level sensors for the Oxford Flood
network system, building a community LoRaWAN network and developing a
range of sensors to use the network.
— Going Beyond the von Neumann Architecture with FPGAs
The late 20th century was 0wned by John von Neumann's architecture and
Alan Wood predicts that the 21st century will become Alan Turing's
algorithmic playground. The current pinnacle of computation at the
beginning of the 21st century is represented by peak Von Neumann
Architectures (VNA), as more and more has been squeezed out of this
arrangement, it has been clocked and optimised to it's very limits,
and now it's shrinking cores are being, multiplied and integrated to
their logical extreme.
However, the next era of computation requires an exponential jump in
performance per watt in order to tackle 21st century needs;
regression, prediction, machine learning, complex real-time
transforms, convolution kernels, neural networks and general
artificial intelligence. In order to get anywhere near the
efficiencies we see in nature with the human brain, for example, we
need neuron computation operating at picojoule energies, which is not
suited to VNA. Therefore we need a new primitive vocabulary of Turing
Complete Engines which we can use to matrix, network and orchestrate
real-time, real-world embedded helpers, bots, devices and robots.
In this talk Alan will explore first history leading to this
millennial transition and indicate what to expect as one of this
centuries most important developments (A.I.) unfolds, I will provide a
peek into the emerging Turing playgrounds of hybrids, ASICs and focus
on DIY/Opensource FPGAs approaches to influencing and playing a part
in this exciting transition.
* Alan Wood has been working with parallel distributed programming for
several decades. His recent work includes smart grids, 3D printers,
robotics, automation and biotec diagnostics. His current research is
focused on machine learning for embedded applications using Motes on
FPGA and emerging Asics. He is a long term advocate and moderator (aka
Folknology) for xCORE and other opensource communities, as well as a
founder of Surrey and Hampshire Makerspace.
— Compered by:
Dr Jeremy Bennett is founder and Chief Executive of Embecosm, a
consultancy specializing in the development of open source compiler
*** Sunday :: Workshops ***
— Getting started with FPGAs and Verilog using project IceStorm
In this workshop we will build some basic Verilog blocks and modules
targeting low power, low cost FPGAs from the Lattice Ice40 series. The
workshop will operate using a complete open source Verilog toolchain
based around Clifford Wolf's Yosys and Arachne-PNR, which can be run
on Linux and OS X. We will cover basic sequential and combinational
logic blocks, before moving on to ALU's and simple Turing Machines or
even a Forth processor.
This workshop will give participants a real taste of FPGA development
in an open source environment. It will hopefully whet their appetite
with emerging hardware applications and perhaps allow them to delve
deeper into FPGAs.
* Run by: Alan Wood & Ken Boak
— Develop your own long range sensor using Arduino and the Thing
Innovations LoRaWAN Sensor development shield.
Develop your own long range sensor using Arduino and the Thing
Innovations LoRaWAN Sensor development shield, to connect to The
Things Network and access your sensor data.
In this workshop participants will learn how to use the LoRaWAN
development shield based on the Microchip RN2483 LoRaWAN module. This
comes with a number of basic sensors, while the shield also includes
additional Arduino headers so you can add your own sensor shields and
The aim of the workshop is for participants to create their own
Arduino-based sensor devices using The Things Network.
* Run by: Andrew Lindsay
— Axiom 4K Open Source Camera demonstration
This workshop will demonstrate an entire RAW 4K workflow from the
sensor and develop an image in 4K. Capturing and processing from a 4K
sensor and showing what can be done through open source access to the
hardware. Demonstrating the Axiom hardware, its capabilities and
explaining why open source is applicable to this type of application.
* Run by: Daniel Mulligan
— Assembling the OSHCamp kit
Get help with assembling this year's kit.
* Chelsea Back is a trainee engineer and is working towards a degree
in Electronic Engineering. She enjoys building microcontroller
projects and teaching people how to solder, is a student member of the
IET and recently enrolled as a STEM Ambassador.
* There are separate tickets for Saturday and Sunday.
* A light lunch and refreshments will be provided each day.
* Please aim to arrive between 09:00 and 09:15 on the Saturday as the
event will start at 09:20 prompt.