Category Archives: Open Hardware

The $12 Gongkai Phone

Amazing bit of techno journalism by Bunnie Huang that tracked down a particular piece of hardware in China, and what that piece of hardware says about the future of gadgets and open.

$12 is the price paid for a single quantity retail, contract-free, non-promotional, unlocked phone — in a box with charger, protective silicone sleeve, and cable. In other words, the production cost of this phone is somewhere below the retail price of $12. Rumors place it below $10.

This is a really amazing price point. That’s about the price of a large Domino’s cheese pizza, or a decent glass of wine in a restaurant.

via The $12 Gongkai Phone « bunnie’s blog.

3-D Printer Company says “not with our machine”

The WikiWeapons/Printable Gun project seems to be drawing the ire of not only one of the largest 3D printer manufacturers in the US:

Stratasys’s legal counsel wrote back: “It is the policy of Stratasys not to knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes. Therefore, please be advised that your lease of the Stratasys uPrint SE is cancelled at this time and Stratasys is making arrangements to pick up the printer,” stated the letter, which Wilson posted to Defense Distributed’s website. The next day, contractors hired by the company arrived at Wilson’s apartment in an Enterprise rental van and took the printer.

…but also the ATF:

Wilson visited the ATF field office in Austin on Monday to ask about the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the Wiki Weapons project, he tells Danger Room. Instead, he was brought into a room, questioned and was told the agency was preparing to visit his apartment this afternoon for an “investigation,” he says. He added that the ATF believes he’s not broken any laws, and that the agency believes 3-D printed guns fall into a regulatory gray area, but that he still needs to get licensed if he’s to manufacture a weapon.

This is going to be really, really interesting. Is it illegal to post instructions for a printable weapon? Where do those lines fall? The next 5 years is going to make these sorts of questions very troublesome…and just wait another 10 years until molecular-level printing is happening and see what that does for drug laws.

via 3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith | Danger Room | Wired.com.

Marvell and Stanford create SMILE Plug

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and writing (none of it public, yet) about the upcoming hardware revolution. This project is right in the sweet spot of it…a classroom in a box for $30 worth of hardware. Awesome.

You may be wondering just what the SMILE Plug is good for? Well, Stanford’s SMILE Platform is designed to get students creating questions in the classroom instead of answering them. Dr. Paul Kim, Stanford School of Education CTO and Assistant Dean, sees the rote memorization and recall of facts method used in schools worldwide as a poor educational model because it doesn’t properly engage students or encourage higher-level thinking skills. SMILE addresses this issue by forcing students to ingest source material and generate their own questions about it. Those questions are then reviewed by both their teacher and fellow classmates — the more the question elicits critical thinking and reflects understanding of the information, the better that question will score.

via Marvell and Stanford create SMILE Plug cloud computer, SMILE Consortium to get companies and devs to build a better education system — Engadget.

Arduino 1, hotel security 0

In this paper we will discuss the design and inner workings of the Onity HT lock system for hotels. Approximately ten million Onity HT locks are installed in hotels worldwide. This accounts for over half of all the installed hotel locks and can be found in approximately a third of all hotels.We hope to reveal unique insight into the way the Onity HT system works and detail various vulnerabilities therein.

Where by “reveal vulnerabilities” he really means “blow the doors off of hotel security”.

via I, Hacker.