Long-time readers will remember in the early 2000s we had frequent stories of open hardware board designs from a website called FreeIO.org. The FreeIO.org project was started by Diehl Martin, better known as Marty.
He named all his boards after breakfast foods, which gave us the opportunity to write fun headlines like “Hot Grits for your Robot”. Other boards were called Donut, Toast, Cornbread, Biscuit, Juice, and Flapjack. Schematics, CPLD source, CAD files, Gerber files, where all released under the GNU GPL. Marty’s designs were also raised as an example when Jim Turley wrote his famously wrong prediction in 2002 that open source hardware would never become widespread.
But in 2004, things slowed down when Marty announced he’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He continued to work on new boards until he posted his farewell message in 2006. Marty passed away in October of 2007. After that, the FreeIO.org project ground to a halt for a few years. But today, the FreeIO.org website was relaunched! From the announcement:
“The time has come to get things rolling again and I’m starting with a relaunch of the website. Marty’s free hardware designs are still here and hopefully we’ll find volunteers to work on new hardware projects to add. I’ll also start updating the resource pages to make them more useful again.
Meanwhile, I’ve decided to make the site more immediately useful by aggregating all the free hardware and open hardware news, so members of the open hardware community can have one central place to find out what’s going on.”
We’re not sure where the website is headed in the future but we’re glad to see FreeIO.org back online and look forward to using them as a reliable open hardware news source.
They’re already posting news updates from the major open hardware and free hardware organisations such as the Open Source Hardware User Group, the Open Source Hardware Association, and the Open Source Hardware and Design Alliance. Who knows, if we’re lucky, maybe we can drum up support for an open source robot controller board!