Kevin Lee

Singapore-Based Engineers Debut the World’s First Open-Source Laptop

by , 04/07/14
filed under: DIY, green gadgets, News

Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, Sean "xobs" Cross, open source, laptop, computer, green gadgets, Novena laptop, project Novena, Project Novena open source laptop, hacking, gadgets, Linux, Debian, green laptop, motherboard, processors, solid state drive,

With most Laptops, what you buy is what you get. But two Singapore-based engineers Andrew “Bunnie” Huang and Sean “xobs” Cross want to change the market with a transparent notebook made of open-source components. The pair of hackers calls their open-source laptop Project Novena, and you can own one too.


Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, Sean "xobs" Cross, open source, laptop, computer, green gadgets, Novena laptop, project Novena, Project Novena open source laptop, hacking, gadgets, Linux, Debian, green laptop, motherboard, processors, solid state drive,

Unlike a typical laptop, the Novena reveals its internal components when the chassis pops open. Half of the machine is left empty to allow users to add their own computing components, including circuit boards, memory, and storage space. Tinkers can even customize everything in their box down to wiring and reprogramming the individual parts, as the source code for each one will be posted online.

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Starting today, you can order your own pre-built Novena laptop through the crowd-funding site Crowd Supply. Huang and Cross have created multiple versions of their machine, including one $500 package that comes with just the circuit board. This package includes the motherboard with an 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex A9 processor, plus an integrated GPU, 4GiB of DDR3 RAM, and a 4GiB microSD card for storage with basic Debian (a Linux operating system distro) installed on it.

The higher $1,195 All-in-One Desktop tier, meanwhile, will net buyers the same circuit board set inside a case with a 1920×1080 resolution IPS screen. Users that just want a no fuss laptop sent to them should look to the $1,995 package that comes with a battery controller board, user-installed battery, 240 GiB solid state drive, but no keyboard. Lastly, the Heirloom Laptop comes in at $5,000 for an added hand-crafted wood and aluminum case by Kurt Mottweiler, as well as a fully decked out laptop and built-in keyboard.

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It’s an interesting project that opens up the laptop platform just as Raspberry Pi’s and Arduino have spawned so many user-created electronics. Huang and Cross want to open up the tray on laptops (quite literally) for more transparency on security and privacy, and the ability to explore the hardware. Unlike laptops made in giant Chinese factories, Huang says each part will be hand-built and assembled in a small operation.

+ Crowd Supply

Via Make Magazine

Images © Crowd Supply

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