Sunday, March 11, 2007

Emissions Sensing

I just finished putting together the first three prototypes of the emissions sensing device I'm helping design for Engineers Without Borders. The idea is to sense CO, CO2, and particulate matter levels near indoor cook stoves so the stoves can be modified to be safe and efficient. Around two billion people live in households that use solid fuels with poor combustion and ventilation. A year ago Professor Tami Bond gave a great presentation explaining the history of efforts to prevent the health and environmental problems caused by wood stoves and how the problem is being approached today (including our effort).
Top prototype showing the menu in Spanish, middle showing the language selection dialog, and bottom showing the data screen.
There is still a lot to do, including finalizing our choices for sensors, getting the device running on batteries, and getting PCBs made. Our entire effort (firmware, hardware, documentation) is open-source, released under the MIT license. Unfortunately we are currently using a proprietary C compiler as no FOSS compiler for our microprocessor (PIC18F4455) seems to exist.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Relative Scale

The XO has surpassed my expectations. Sugar is intuitive, and the activities show a ton of promise. On the Neo1973, I tried the dialer with a Cingular SIM card, but as warned, it is unstable and crashed.
OLPC XO B2, Lenovo T60p, and Neo1973

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Open Devices

I'm thrilled to have received my Neo1973 today. Thank you to FIC and the people behind it! I am excited to contribute to such an important project. The developing world is bypassing PCs in favor of cell phones and the XO. OLPC and OpenMoko rock for bringing freedom to the only computing most of the world will ever know.

The goods: Neo1973 and accessories. Note GPL printout.
The phone feels wonderful and is slimmer than I expected. The black and silver design is gorgeous.

Phase0 Neo1973 phone and the author.
The world is changing and fast, and as if to impress this upon me further, my XO B2 machine arrives at the office tomorrow.