Once the Raspberry Pi entered the world, everything changed. It was kind of like the day the iPhone came out. We all had cell phones before, but that was when everything was taken up a notch in terms of possibilities. We’ve had computers for decades, and tinkerers have been tinkering for even longer, but the power that the Raspberry Pi brought was more than the power a computer brings. The Pi became an invitation, a proposition, and an enticing opportunity to do something new and different with computers.
Along with the Raspberry Pi comes more ideas from more minds. A group of folks willing to find new ways to transform and utilize the laptop is a Bulgarian open-source hardware company called Olimex. Building cheap, open-source computers from scratch is one very fun way to tinker, and Olimex has been doing plenty of this using its new modular kit called TERES-1. The newly-released kit allows you to design and put together the body parts, I/O, and brains of a Linux-based laptop.
For building their own machine, Olimex provides two options. Depending on what type of DIY-er, a tried and true tinkerer would enjoy downloading Olimex’s CAD files to build the TERES-1 on the project’s GitHub page. Here, users can grab the files offering schematics for open-source hardware building (keyboards, PCBs, etc), and of course the Linux software that ultimately runs the hardware.
Other than that, there’s always the option of simply purchasing the semi-finished TERES-1 laptop. A $224 investment to buy the laptop means buyers still assemble the kit themselves. Once shipment begins, the self-assembly kits will come in black or white finish options, as well as the following in the box: a keyboard, touchpad, antennas, camera, speakers, battery, cables, and display components.
If built (by the correct instructions), the final objective would be laptop with an 11.6-inch LCD screen, weighing 2.16lbs, powered by a quad-core Allwinner A64-bit Cortex-A53 processor, 4GB of flash storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a camera, all running on a 7000mAh battery. Other components, such as a microSD slot, USB port, headphone jack, power button, motherboard and keyboard control board, are all buildable with the required screws included in the box. The company website offers plenty of supportive thoughts on why it’s project is a good investment. Modular hardware gives the user a sense of freedom of choice as to how they would like their components to run. Of course, replacing parts is easy as can be, and software is flexible, with the option of either the TERES-1-based software from KiCad, or Android, if preferable. Shipment isn’t quite ready because although Olimex has its hardware kit set to go, software is still being tested.
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