Nanonote End of life

Werner Almesberger werner at almesberger.net
Tue Feb 11 20:04:39 EST 2014


James "Xakh" Lynch wrote:
> With the advent of 3D printing, this actually might be easier to get a
> basic prototype done than we think.

3D printing can certainly help with prototyping. This needs
access to a high-quality 3D printer, be it either directly,
via some hackspace, or via some shop with fast turn-around
times.

> I'd be
> happy to throw a basic  clamshell design into the mix made in blender (heh,
> blender, mix).

That's the spirit ! When picking a tool, please bear in mind
that you'll have to be able to adjust parameters. E.g., if
you find you need a case that's 0.5 mm wider you'd want to
be able to make this change without having to manually redraw
the whole thing. For the first ten times, redrawing may not
sounds all that bad but wait until you reach the hundredth
little tweak ...

I don't know if Blender is good for parametric work. It seems
that the usual pragmatic approach for parametric design is to
use scripting.

> At any rate, if we were to work with someone like adafruit,
> to get screens,

If you involve a place like Adafruit they should also be
part of the actual work and/or financing. If you use them
just to source components, you only add another man in the
middle.

> What processors are currently on the market that would be
> suitable for this?

The short answer: most of the things Olimex use should be good:
https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/open-source-hardware

The long answer: first, there are a few constraints you have to
decide on. For example:

- BGA or not ? I'd say yes since this gives you access to a lot
  more and more advanced chips. The drawback is of course that
  BGA marks the end of all-DIY designs and you may have to
  invest into upgrading your lab to be able to handle them
  without creating too much embarrassment.

- ARM or MIPS ? I'd say ARM since a) there are more choices and
  b) that's where everyone is going these days.

- should the SoC have anything directly to do with RF ? This is
  a roundabout way of asking whether the SoC should be a Wifi
  router chip. Not sure if that would actually fly in the end,
  but it could be a way out of Wifi closedness hell.

- how important is properly open documentation ? If you put a
  "very" there, this probably means either Freescale or TI.
  If you're happy as long as you can find the manuals somewhere
  on the Intertubes, Allwinner, Ingenic, and such are possible,
  too.

There are other issues like availability, kernel support, and such,
but they can be dealt with in a second pass.

- Werner



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