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The Open Hardware Miniconf 2019 will take place as part of LCA 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The OHMC is located in room 210 (second floor) of the Electrical and Computer Engineering building immediately north of the Centre Lecture Theatres (registration). Unfortunately, you can't head due north because of construction works. On of the volunteers may have left directions in chalk on the road / pavement. From registration head out the main door and walk due east along the road and follow it as it curves to the left. That will get you past the construction works. The entrance to the E&CE building is half-way along the south side.

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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. Presentations will cover both software and hardware.

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 assemble a special hardware project developed for the miniconf. For 2019, the project will be a self-driving car that uses machine learning to process video and direct the car around a track. Based on the popular "Donkey Car" project, it will give you the opportunity to assemble the hardware and then experiment with the software.

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.


Registrations are now closed for the 2019 event


The venue for OHMC2019 will be announced soon.


Date: Monday 21st January 2019

Project assembly in the morning followed by talks in the afternoon:

10:40 - 12:20 Donkey Car Assembly Workshop (registration required to participate, spectators also welcome)
12:20 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 1:55 Donkey Car electronics design: Jonathan Oxer
1:55 - 2:20 Donkey Car connection and config: TBA
2:20 - 2:45 Donkey Car tuning and training: Andy Gelme
2:45 - 3:10 Donkey Cars in education: Matt Pattison
3:10 - 3:50 Afternoon Tea
3:50 - 4:15 Clockwork: Mike O'Connor
4:15 - 4:40 10 years of Open Hardware Miniconf projects: Marc Merlin
4:40 - 5:30 Lighting Talks (5 minute blocks)

Lightning Talks

Please email Andy and Jon if you'd like to present a 5 minute lightning talk.

Call For Papers

All the talk slots are now full.

Discussion Group

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


Assembly Project

Each year we help attendees build a project specially developed for the Open Hardware Miniconf.

The project for 2019 is Donkey Car, a self-driving car controlled by a Raspberry Pi using a machine learning system.

Through hole parts on the board will be assembled on the day, with all the SMD parts being pre-loaded on the board.

The hardware kit includes ...

  • RC car chassis
  • Raspberry Pi model B+
  • Raspberry Pi Camera
  • Custom chassis parts for mounting
  • Voltage regulator, PWM output controller, and other required parts

OHMC2019 Software instructions