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The Open Hardware Miniconf 2015 will take place as part of LCA 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.

The concept of Free / Open Source Software, already well understood by LCA attendees, is complemented by a rapidly growing community focused around Open Hardware and "maker culture". One of the drivers of the popularity of the Open Hardware community is easy access to cheap devices such as Arduino, which is a microcontroller development board originally intended for classroom use but now a popular building block in all sorts of weird and wonderful hobbyist and professional projects.

Interest in Open Hardware is high among FOSS enthusiasts but there is also a barrier to entry with the perceived difficulty and dangers of dealing with hot soldering irons, unknown components and unfamiliar naming schemes. The miniconf will use an Open Hardware assembly project as a stepping stone to help ease software developers into dealing with Open Hardware. Topics will cover both software and hardware issues, starting with simpler sessions suitable for Open Hardware beginners and progressing through to more advanced topics.

The day will run in two distinct halves. The first part of the day will be a hands-on assembly session where participants will have the chance to solder together a special hardware project developed for the miniconf. Instructors will be on hand to assist with soldering and the other mysteries of hardware assembly. The second part of the day will be presentations about Open Hardware topics, including information on software to run on the hardware project built earlier in the day.


School of Architecture and Planning building, a short walk from the main conference venue. Google Maps Link

Morning assembly session is downstairs in the Faculty Workshop on level 1.

Afternoon talks are in studio room 311, on level 3.


  • 10:40 - 12:20 SimpleBot assembly workshop (registration required to participate, spectators also welcome)
  • 12:20 - 1:20 Lunch
  • 1:20 - 2:10 Bonus assembly workshop session
  • 2:10 - 2:20 Break
  • 2:20 - 2:40 Talk 1: NodeBot / SimpleBot Pi software basics - Jonathan Oxer
  • 2:40 - 3:00 Talk 2: Using KiCAD to design the SimpleBot Shield - Angus Gratton
  • 3:00 - 3:40 Afternoon Tea
  • 3:40 - 4:00 Talk 3: Practical electronics for software developers - Jonathan Oxer
  • 4:00 - 4:20 Talk 4: LEDs: Care & Feeding - Digby Turner
  • 4:20 - 4:30 Break
  • 4:30 - 4:50 Talk 5: Hardening Embedded Linux on Internet of Things platforms - Andrew McDonnell
  • 4:50 - 5:10 Talk 6: Espruino: JS go under limbo stick - Maksim Lin
  • 5:10 - 5:40 Lightning talks, project showcase, general discussion

Lightning Talks (not in any particular order)

  • Bare Bones MCU programming - Maksim Lin
  • Why you should use KiCAD for open hardware - Tim Ansell
  • Novena open source laptop project (& why it's exciting) - Angus Gratton
  • ...you? If you'd like to present a 5 minute lightning talk, please email jon@oxer.com.au

Call For Papers

Please see OHC2015-CFP for more information

Discussion Group

There is a Google Group email list for discussion of topics related to the miniconf, including the SimpleBot assembly session:


Assembly Project

ALL PLACES FILLED: All places at the assembly session have now been filled. You can still submit the registration form to go on the waiting list in case there are cancellations, but you won't be guaranteed a spot. Sorry.

Each year we build a project developed for the Miniconf, and this year we'll be assembling SimpleBot robots designed by Andrew Fisher and Angus Gratton. Participating in the assembly session costs AU$120, and provides you with everything required to build a complete SimpleBot including a Raspberry Pi, a PiLeven, a SimpleBot Shield, servos, and all other parts.

More details at: OHC2015 Assembly Project: SimpleBot

Assembly session registration form NOTE: ALL PLACES FILLED