Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019


The Software Developer’s Guide to Open Source Hardware

The popularity of the open source hardware movement and IoT is constantly increasing. But is it worth making open source hardware using expensive proprietary software? Of course not!

In this presentation Leon Anavi will share his experience in developing IoT by designing printed circuit boards (PCB) with the free and open source EDA tool KiCAD, the open source hardware certification program of OSHWA, crowdfunding opportunities for low volume manufacturing and open source success stories for building a community. Practical examples based on the certified open source hardware development boards ANAVI Light Controller and ANAVI Thermometer will be provided. The talk also contains information about open source hardware licenses, KiCAD getting started guidelines, tips and tricks for avoiding common mistakes.

Always take with a pinch of salt anything that a software engineer like Leon says about hardware and in the same time have in mind that if he can do it, anyone can! Hopefully the talk will encourage more people to use KiCAD, join the open source hardware movement and certify their open source devices at OSHWA.

With the advance of free and open source technologies, designing printed circuit boards became more affordable and easy. Makers can cross boundaries and integrate together free and open source software with open source hardware. This presentation will provide several showcases of certified open source hardware Internet of Things developed as hobby projects by Leon Anavi and will share his first steps as a software engineer to using KiCAD for making his own printed circuit boards. Tips and tricks for avoiding common mistakes and recommendations for low volume manufacturing will be shared. For any open source project the commonly is always on first place. ANAVI Light Controller and ANAVI Thermometer are a couple of example for n entirely open source project that combines open source hardware with free and open source software. Both are made in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, certified by OSHWA as open source hardware devices and powered by ESP8266 (BG000005 and BG000017). Firmware written as an Arduino sketch allows easily to connect to a WiFi network and through the machine-to-machine protocol MQTT to the popular open source automation platform Home Assistant. The acrylic cases for both devices are designed with another open source tool – OpenSCAD. The fully open source nature of the projects quick attracted contributors. In just a couple of months, following a successful crowdfunding campaign at Crowd Supply, several people started to contribute to the sofware and hardware repositories of ANAVI Light Controller in GitHub. Furthermore the project inspired other people to develop their own open source boards based on similar design such as esp01-i2c-little-board by Nicolas Vion. The presentation is appropriate for beginners. No previous experience is required. Hopefully the talk will attract a wide range of professionals, hobbyists and students and will encourage them to use free and open source software for developing open source hardware. Furthermore the presentation will reveal the benefits of the open source hardware certification program by OSHWA.


Photo of Leon Anavi Leon Anavi