Welcome to the Pololu Blog, where we provide updates about what we and our customers are doing and thinking about. This blog used to be Pololu president Jan Malášek’s Engage Your Brain blog; you can view just those posts here.
As open-source hardware (OSHW) has become more prominent over the past five years or so, I have heard questions about where I or Pololu stand on the subject. Most recently, I got into a bit of a discussion with Phillip Torrone of Make and Adafruit on one of his blog posts, and his questions and subsequent interview pushed me to try to organize some of my thoughts about OSHW. Because there are many aspects to OSHW, I don’t have a simple conclusion like, “It’s great!” or “It’s the future!” or “Pololu will never release an OSHW product.”. I am skeptical of some of the claims by OSHW proponents and of the significance of the more organized aspects of the OSHW movement. However, what is going on is very significant to me because it affects Pololu’s business and involves issues I care about a lot, such as freedom, creating things, and education. Continued…
This post is an account of the difficulties I have had for the past four months in getting permits to run our equipment at our new location, which we moved to in December of 2011. I am writing this partly as notes for myself and others at Pololu, but the main point of sharing this is to warn and commiserate with other businesses having to deal with such problems and to give other readers some awareness of the real-world ramifications of the regulations much of the public seems all too eager to embrace. I still have a hard time believing we really had to go through all of the hassle and expense, so I am also hoping that some readers might point me to some resources so that I can avoid this in the future. I realize there is speculation and hearsay in my report, but I want to emphasize that my impressions are based on many vendors, contractors, public employees, and manufacturers: in all, I spoke to dozens of people about our experience. I will try to be as specific as practical without unnecessarily exposing individuals who were trying to be helpful to undue scrutiny. Continued…
This do-it-yourself fully-automatic book scanner uses a Maestro servo controller to control the page-turning, and picture-taking servos. It was able to scan 468-page book in about 12 minutes with zero page-turning errors. For more information, see the DIY Book Scanner forum thread.
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