Liquidware announce open source EDK (e-reader development kit)

Do you recall the DIY ereader kit I showed you a few days ago? Well, the developers have put out a press release announcing this device as an $ 421 open source EDK. You might want to read my previous post; it has a video, and links to the product page & the developer's blog (where he provides more background technical data). It's a neat kit, but it's a little outside my price range. From the press release:

Liquidware, a leading Open Source Hardware and Software embedded systems company based in Canton, MA, announced today the availability of the first 100% Open Source Ebook Reader. The device is targeted at embedded systems developers and contractors looking to build and deliver a functional Ebook reader whose underlying software can be modified and altered to provide additional features.

The EBook reader is modular in design and form factor, allowing engineers and programmers to mix and match screens and core components including the TI OMAP processor for either faster performance, longer battery life, or more storage. This level of flexibility is underheard in the market today.

Unlike most Ebook readers presently available, the Liquidware Open Source Ebook Reader is designed to promote rapid prototyping. Examples include adding third party sensors and digital interfaces to change the way pages are turned, or books are loaded to provide a more immersive user experience. Likewise, the Open Source Ebook Reader is designed to feature and entirely Open Source software stack. This means a Linux operating system optimized for embedded, low power, long battery life, running device drivers and libraries written by and for Open Source programmers and engineers.

The Open Source Ebook Reader is the first Ebook reader to provide full USB ports capable or running third party accessories like keyboards and mice, while providing a unified on-screen interface.

"This is an Ebook Reader designed for engineers, by engineers, who are increasingly called upon to deliver fully functional prototypes within a shorter period of time," said Christopher Ladden, lead Product Developer at Liquidware. "In the labs, and during demos, I have seen engineers go from unboxing to functional prototype using proprietary modules within 60 minutes. That's a level of customization and rapid prototyping we believe is unparalleled."

Principles of modularity driving rapid prototyping of gadgets are not new. Liquidware has delivered modular gadgets into the consumer product design, defense, and medical device sectors since 2006. Likewise, similar offerings are made available by companies including Bug Labs, a New York City hardware provider. However, the process of delivering application-specific, highly customizable platforms to engineers requires a process of development and packaging the Liquidware has refined over it's years of experience.

All underlying code is written in C, because that's the most popular programming language amongst embedded systems engineers. Scripts are written in Perl, Ruby, and PHP, especially for rapid prototyping given its popularity with designers. The programming toolchain is Open Source, and is included on the device, meaning that field-programming and in-field debugging is not only possible, it's encouraged.

The Liquidware Open Source Ebook Reader is available as a kit from www.liquidware.com, or fully assembled by any number of resellers and distributors.

About Nate Hoffelder (11370 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Liquidware announce open source EDK (e-reader development kit)

  1. I wonder if there is also an Open Source DRM library available.

  2. There is nothing open source about liquidware!

    Where are the bootloaders? Where are the schematics? Even Justin or Liquidware asks Mike of lquidware for schematics in one of their blogs. As usual Mike did not reply to him!

    The guys at Liquidware completely abuse the word “Open”!!

  3. Interesting use of high performance omap hardware.

    I wonder if the openinkpot project can run on the device with some minor hacking.

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