I’m pleased to announce that we have 10 talks and 7 workshops confirmed
for Open Source Hardware Camp 2018, with the possibility of one or two
more. Registration is now open!
As in previous years, there will be a social event on the Saturday
evening and we have a room booked at the Wig and Mitre. Food will be
There will likely be a few of us meeting up for pre-conference drinks on
the Friday evening also.
Details of the programme can be found below and, as ever, we have an
excellent mix of topics being covered.
Open Source Hardware Camp 2018
On the 30th June 2018, 09:00 Saturday morning - 16:00 on the Sunday
afternoon at The Blue Room, The Lawn, Union Rd, Lincoln, LN1 3BU.
Open Source Hardware Camp 2018 will be hosted in the historic county
town of Lincoln — home to, amongst others, noted engine builders Ruston
& Hornsby (now Siemens, via GEC and English Electric).
Lincoln is well served by rail, reachable from Leeds and London within
2-2.5 hours, and 4-5 hours from Edinburgh and Southampton.
There will be a social at the Wig and Mitre on the Saturday evening.
For travel and accommodation information information please see the
event page on oshug.org.
*** Saturday :: Talks ***
— Introduction to cycle-accurate Verilog simulation
Developing hardware designs in Verilog is tricky, for both FPGA
platforms and ASIC hardware targets. Understanding the behaviour of a
design, testing it, and debugging are made much easier by simulating in
software. There are a variety of simulation approaches with different
trade-offs in what properties of the design are accurately modelled and
how quickly they run. This talk starts by giving a brief overview of the
approaches, then focusing in more detail on cycle-accurate modelling,
which is a relatively fast approach that is robustly implemented in an
open-source tool called Verilator. The main focus will be on working
with CPU designs, but the software and techniques are generally
applicable to other areas.
A brief overview of how to use Verilator to simulate a design, to
develop testbenches, and to visualise simulation output using GTKWave
will be given. The software and techniques discussed in this talk will
be put into practice in the "Open-source RISC-V core quickstart"
workshop on Sunday.
- Dr Graham Markall has a background in languages and compilers for
scientific computing, and is well known for his work on the Numba
project. He is part of Embecosm’s GNU tool chain team, where his current
projects include the implementation of security enhancements to the GCC
and LLVM compilers for RISC-V and ARM, and the development a GCC-based
toolchain for a customised RISC-V processor.
— LoRaWAN at 100,000 feet & 10mW with High Altitude Ballooning
High-altitude balloons are manned or unmanned balloons, usually filled
with helium, that are released into the stratosphere and generally
attaining between 18,000 to 37,000 metres (59,000 to 121,000 ft; 11 to
23 mi). In 2002, a balloon named BU60-1 attained 53.0 km (32.9 mi;
The advent of cheap open source electronics & suitable GPS chips has
allowed hobbyists worldwide to build fly & (usually) recover these
balloons since the mid 2000’s with modest budgets compared to
professional weather balloons. Indeed, the Raspberry Pi Foundation ran a
few Skycademy events aimed at helping school teachers. There is a wealth
of information available from the United Kingdom High Altitude Society
(UKHAS), their website HabHUB.org and Dave Ackerman’s website.
Ofcom limit the power of any airborne transmitter to 10mW, which whilst
tiny isn’t a practical problem since the line of sight is usually
superb. The community stated using RTTY initially but latterly has begun
to use LoRaWAN to transmit the telemetry and some of the pictures taken
during a typical 2 to 3 hour flight. The Civil Aviation Authority will
grant permission for such flight via their system, NOTAMs. It’s normal
to be asked to contact air traffic control before launch to make sure
commercial aviation traffic isn’t hindered.
- Tony Brookes is a member of the Derby Makers who is leading a project
to launch such a balloon (or more if funding permits) over the summer.
Derby Makers are now resident in the Radio Communications Museum of
Great Britain in Derby following their tenure in the Derby Silk Mill
museum which is now undergoing HLF funded refurbishment.
— Machine Vision
Machine Vision is one of the fastest growing disciplines in robotics and
automation. In the past, discrete vision processing tasks have been both
complex and brittle requiring a great deal of specialisation and
practice. Now however machine learning (ML) inference is becoming
practical at the edge, Machine Vision is one of the emerging ‘edge
applications’ of ML inference technology. Machine Vision is much less
brittle than earlier approaches and promises much wider and simpler
applications. This talk (and hands on workshop) will explore the
landscape of Machine Vision and its applications for robotics and
- 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 automation using FPGA, CSP and
Neural Turing Machines. He is a long term advocate of open source
communities, a moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE, the co-founder of
myStorm open hardware FPGA community, as well as a co-founder of Surrey
and Hampshire Makerspace.
— Making Electronic Tesla Coils - Keeping in the Magic Smoke
This talk will give an overview of designing and building an electronic
Tesla coil from off the shelf or easily modified components. It will
cover the safety, construction methods and some of the theory of
operation. It will also present details of the controls and methods
needed to prevent the Tesla coil from destroying itself when power is
- Derek Woodroffe has been building Tesla coils as a hobby for over 20
years. He has constructed over 30 different Tesla coils, from 30mm to
over 1M tall and of many different types. He runs both the Nottingham
Gaussfest and Cambridge Tesla coiler meet-ups and has worked a number of
times on TV to assist with Tesla coil and high voltage demonstrations to
programs such as the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures and Dara O
Briain’s Science club. Derek also has a keen interest in all other uses
and generators of high voltage and has built working examples of many.
His projects are detailed on www.extremeelectronics.co.uk.
Amazingly, he is still alive.
— Turning your hobby project in to a business for fun and profit
Designing hardware is the easy part. Turning it in to a business is
where it gets interesting. This talk will cover some of the things
needed to take it to market, including stock, marketing, shipping,
support, cash flow.
- Spencer Owen like many kids in the 80s, loved his ZX Spectrum and
other 8 bit computers. This set him up for a career in IT, and he worked
as a server engineer and network engineer for many years. In 2013, in a
bid to see if he really understood how computers worked at the lowest
level, Spencer went back to his roots built a simple Z80 based machine
on a breadboard. This was to mature in to the RC2014, which Spencer
started selling in his spare time in 2015. Within a few months it was
clear that the RC2014 was taking up more time than he had spare, so he
quit network job and started a retro computer kit company. Spencer is
now the largest supplier of Z80 computers worldwide.
— MakerNet Alliance
A brief presentation of ideas the MakerNet Alliance is working on with
E-nable.org for a Design Ecology Interface, to visualize the evolution
of open source designs for prosthetics (and ultimately any hardware
designs) and help users find the design version with the features they
need. The presentation will be followed by discussion session with the
audience to get feedback on the ideas and input on requirements.
- Anna Sera Lowe has always been fascinated by how things are made and
how they get to the people who need them. As a manufacturing manager and
later a supply chain consultant, she made a career of finding great
excuses to visit manufacturing facilities around the globe; from
multi-million dollar automated factories to informal waste-processing
operations on dumps (sometimes next to each other) - and everything in
between. She has consulted for clients as diverse as Johnson & Johnson,
the state electricity monopoly of South Africa, and the Global Fund to
Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Over the last few years her
interest has been caught by ideas around grassroots innovation and
distributed manufacturing networks. She co-founded Kumasi Hive, a
makerspace in Ghana, and is leading work on MakerNet, an initiative to
explore business models and digital tools for local manufacturing of
useful goods for development.
— EMC for IoT
Often the last thing on your mind when working on an exciting new
project are the regulatory hurdles that come with getting a product
ready for sale in the European market. These afterthoughts suddenly
become pressing priorities as you approach your launch date.
Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) is the study of how all electronic
devices and phenomena interact and, in our increasingly electro-dense
society, these requirements become all the more important. Without EMC
and radio regulations we would suffer interference to the wireless
infrastructure we so depend on.
This talk will give a tour through the EMC and radio regulations for a
typical IoT type product (equally applicable to any electronics
product), why they are required and look at some of the risks and
pitfalls involved in the process. If you’ve got a product that you want
to start selling, have limited experience or are merely EMC-curious then
this talk will be extremely useful. Questions often asked include: Why
do I need to do EMC testing? What about if I have a radio module in my
product? What sort of certificate should I have? Do I even need to do
anything? You’ll find some of the answers here.
- James Pawson, Unit 3 Compliance. Having a broad background of
electronics experience (and also a beard), James found himself drawn to
the field of EMC partly because of the interesting variety of work and
partly because no one else wanted to do it. Twelve years later, now with
his own test laboratory and consultancy business, he has found his
vocation in helping solve people’s EMC problems. He’s also found more
grey hairs in his beard and worries that the two are related.
— Non-Standard Computation — From Bits to Pulses to Spikes
Taken together the rise of parallel distributed processing and the end
of Moore’s law has brought a renaissance in alternative views of
computation. This talk is a journey through the rapidly changing area of
non-standard computation: from GPU’s, tensor and neuromorphic processors
to stochastic, temporal and quantum computation. The main aim of the
talk is to describe the tremendous opportunities that currently exist
for radical change in computational paradigms, and crucially for the
open source community, in the delivery of these architectures.
- Jonny Edwards is the CEO/CTO of Temporal Computing - the first
business in the UK to focus on temporal computation methods. The work on
temporal computing started in the Non-Standard Computation Group at York
University, via several Unconventional Computing Conferences, and has
since attracted VC and IUK funding to support long-term commercial
— It’s the people, stupid! (But the people aren’t stupid) — Hardware as
an enabler to Heating as as Service
Why are clocks slowing down over western Europe like halving your
heating bills at home?
Remember when at the start of the year a row in one corner of what used
to be Yugoslavia caused clocks across Europe to slow down and eventually
lose six minutes? Nothing technical was broken, and it’s a reminder that
people issues can’t just be ‘fixed’ blindly with tech.
When a purely technical fix for energy efficiency is installed, for
example a better boiler, savings tend to persist for many years, maybe
for a decade if the tech lasts that long.
Solutions that may make as big a difference but rely on the people
around it continuing to do something to assist, tend to have much
shorter persistence. Maybe between one and four years.
We already have a smart radiator valve called “Radbot” that can knock
20–50% off your heating bills and pay for itself in a year. It requires
very little input if any to do its job. But it won’t work if people open
all their windows in winter and expect magic to happen. Yes, some people do.
We just finished an Innovate UK project "Heating as a Service - Lite”.
We are more convinced than ever that while the technical and financial
elements are probably easy to find solutions to, the social part, making
things that work with real people for a long time, is intriguing!
- Damon Hart-Davis created the OpenTRV project following his 2012
presentation to DECC’s smart heating workshop. He has freelanced in
technology for over 30 years, delivering mission-critical products from
design to production in the City for more than 20 of those, and has
founded and been involved in several start-ups over that time with his
creations seen on TV, the Web, and his pioneering Internet Service
Provider helping crack open that market more than 25 years ago. A
previous virtual/on-line credit-card company start-up that he co-founded
as CTO, Ixaris, turns over ~GBP13m.
— Bela, an embedded platform for ultra-low latency audio and sensor
Bela started off as a research project at Centre For Digital Music
(Queen Mary University of London) and is now a commercial product,
mainly aimed at makers, programmers and researchers that work with
audio. The platform is based on a BeagleBone Black with a custom
expansion cape and a dedicated software environment. The board runs
Debian Linux with Xenomai as a real-time co-kernel. The combined use of
Xenomai and the BeagleBone Black’s on-board PRU microcontroller allows
to achieve sub-millisecond latency for audio and sensor processing,
while node.js is used to provide a user-friendly web-based IDE. The
project is entirely open source, hardware and software.
- Giulio Moro is a PhD student in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen
Mary University of London. A sound engineer by training, he is now
researching in the field of performer-instrument interaction. He is one
of the inventors and core developers of Bela.
-Note that this talk was originally given at OSHUG #63 in London and is
being repeated at OSHCamp as a refresher and to serve as an introduction
for the workshop on the Sunday.-
*** Sunday :: Workshops ***
— Open-source RISC-V core quickstart
An introductory workshop for getting starting with simulating RISC-V
cores using Verilator, which is an open-source tool for generating
cycle-accurate models of hardware designs written in Verilog. Although
this workshop focuses on simulation, the cores can in general be
instantiated on FPGAs for use in real applications (and higher performance!)
The workshop will use two or three different RISC-V implementations
(including Clifford Wolf’s PicoRV32 and Ariane from the PuLP platform).
Loading and executing programs onto these bare metal systems through a
testbench and also through a debugger (GDB) will be covered, along with
some examples of interacting with the cores, and inspecting their state.
Gathering accurate performance measurements is also possible, because
the simulations are cycle-accurate.
The tutorial materials will provide enough implementation that it is
possible to follow this workshop without having had prior experience of
hardware design or Verilog specifically - however, some understanding of
programming and the organisation of computer hardware will be required.
The workshop should be of interest to people with a background in
software who would like to tinker with open-source processor core
development, and people with a background in hardware who would like to
tinker with software toolchains.
— An introductory workshop to NetBSD on embedded platforms
An introductory workshop to NetBSD in the context of developing embedded
platforms. NetBSD is a fully featured operating system with great
agility that has been around for many many years. This workshop is
intended to introduce some of the features which are available in the
operating system as standard. We’ll explore how to go from obtaining the
source code to building the operating system, cover features which
simplify working with the system, how accessible it is without resorting
to installing third party software or writing any C.
Topics we will cover:
- Cross compilation support with build.sh
- File tamper detection / execution prevention with Veriexec
- High-level access to subsystems e.g exploring GPIO via Lua
- Rapid development with Rumpkernel
- Sevan Janiyan is founder of Venture 37, which provides system
administration & consultancy services. As a fan of operating systems and
computers with different CPU architectures, in his spare time he
maintains builds of open source software on a variety of systems
featuring PowerPC, SPARC and armv7l CPUs. He hopes to own a NeXTcube &
OMRON LUNA-88K2 one day.
— High Altitude Ballooning
An in-depth look at the help and advice available online, likely costs
and technical issues for those wanting to build, fly and recover a HAB.
If our project has some spares available, I’ll try and bring them along
so people can see what’s being discussed.
If we’re lucky there may be a balloon launch somewhere in the world that
we can follow during the session!
- Run by: Tony Brookes
— Machine Vision
A hands-on machine vision workshop - further details TBC.
- Run by: Alan Wood
— Soldering Workshop
A soldering workshop where novices get to assemble and program the
Cuttlefish, Arduino-compatible, 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 a STEM
— Build a Z80 based retro computer
A step-by-step build of a RC2014 Mini Z80 Retro Computer. Approx 2 hours
should be enough time to assemble a computer running BASIC.
Participants will need to purchase a (heavily discounted) RC2014 Mini.
Some soldering experience is assumed.
- Run by: Spencer Owen
— Bela: an embedded platform for ultra-low latency audio and sensor
This hands-on workshop introduces Bela, an embedded platform for
ultra-low latency audio and sensor processing. Bela is useful for
creating digital musical instruments and other interactive projects,
which can be developed in C/C++, Pure Data (Pd) or Supercollider. The
platform features an on-board browser-based IDE for getting started
quickly. In this workshop we will guide participants through connecting
sensors and accessing them from C++ or PureData and use them to control
the generated sound. On Bela, sensor inputs are sampled at audio
frequency and with high resolution (16bit), in order to allow for
detailed, nuanced interactions. The hardware and software architecture
allows sub-millisecond latency, allowing for expressive musical
performances, as well as feedback control of physical systems.
- Run by: Giulio Moro
- 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.