jejt / jmons

Engineering Tommorrow

Electronics & Active Smart Posters


So you’ve all seen the video of me making the Prototype 1.2 (back in this post) but now we’re actually gearing up to make a real productised version of it. What this means is turning a prototype system into a single board working version. This presents me with a couple of challenges – mainly over licensing and IP.

I will be the first to recognise that what I’ve done in terms of hardware is hardly rocket science – I’ve taken a module from here, and a module from there, and wired the two together. My touch of genius has come in the form of the code sitting on the microprocessor (module 2) which is driving and controlling the first module.

Module 1 – the really tricky bit, actually isn’t a problem – we’ve paid for a license to use this circuit, and we pay a small royalty for each product we produce with it on.

Module 2 – the microprocessor board, is proving a little more difficult to source – my current build is based upon Arduino, that is I have developed a shield containing Module 1 on it. I was hoping that the license for Arduino would enable me to adapt the circuit design and build the entire board as one. However, Module 2 is released under Creative Commons Attribute Share-Alike License, which basically means if I use their schematics, I have to license the entire board as that.

And looking for other, more friendly “Open Source” schematics, is prooving very tricky to find, so I resorted to a different tactic – just designing the entire microprossor module myself. Actually, it wasn’t that hard – if your design (from the docs of the microprocessor you are building for) then there is only very small descions you can take. It turns out (after comparing my design against the Arduino, and about three other Atmel based prototyping microcontroller boards), that there is only very very slight differences in terms of schematic – and this will also be reflected in layout – following standard design layout “logic” will lead you to the same conclusion.

mmmm, final version sounds so near.

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