Contest Update

by Don Marti
``Hack Embedded Linux for Fun and Prizes'' Contest Winners

Don announces the winners of the first Embedded Linux Journal contest.

Most Likely to Succeed as a Commercial Product

Title: The EVM Project: A Low-Cost Electronic Voting Machine

Developers: Bill Kastilahn, Zhiqian Wang, Galen Graham, David Schuller, Jodi Kastilahn


One look at this project's web site and you can see that these people are professionals. Yes, they developed three drivers: one for the LCD display, one for voting buttons and one for IP over an RS-485 serial connection. But they've also done the costing homework to determine how they can economically build a voting machine, an order of magnitude cheaper than what local governments are buying now. In this project's case, the PC/104 form factor of our prize board was a stepping-stone to rapid prototyping; final machines will be based around a single-custom board. With a complete bill of materials on the site, and a manufacturing cost of about $300 US per unit, these voting machines should be popular with budget-minded election officials.

Best Tool for Facilitating Human Communication

Title: Digital Audio Workstation Cube

Developer: R. W. Hawkins


This project uses the power of low-cost commodity DSP boards to make an infinitely configurable audio appliance that can take the place of any one of a rack full of studio gear. The future project roadmap takes it from an easy-to-use, reconfigurable device to a cluster of many DSP-based boxes, all controlled from a master workstation. Hawkins, who has ten years of experience designing and playing electronic instruments, writes:

Imagine a small square cube sitting in your studio capable of synthesizing a complete orchestra for a morning production session, and in just a few minutes it is transformed into a drum and bass box complete with signal-processing effects for an afternoon session. Now imagine a swarm of these cubes able to communicate with each other and scale as large as your needs require.

Most Fun

Title: Solar Racing Vehicle

Developer: Jathan Manley


Solar car racing is a complicated technical sport that depends on racing strategy and planning, not just engineering and driving skill. The University of Michigan's secret weapon in solar car races is a Linux system that monitors battery charge, terrain and sunlight to help the driver and the team in the chase vehicle. This project's web site offers good photos, source code and documentation for others using Linux in vehicles. Drive safely.

Best Learning Project to Help Others Understand Embedded Linux


Title:The GizmoCopter Project

Developers: Ian Kluft, Bill Clawson, Sarija Cutchin, Nate Dietrich, Sean Lynch, Dave Masten, James Robertson, Chris Winter, Michael Wallis, Eric Wilner


The GizmoCopter is a four-rotor model helicopter designed to test software for a future four-engine, hover-capable unmanned rocket. The rocket is a project of the Experimental Rocket Propulsion Society, of which GizmoCopter is a special-interest group. GizmoCopter runs a 2.4.6 kernel with real-time patches. The project web site features flight telemetry software, a new driver for the PC/104 analog I/O board used and copious documentation. GizmoCopter team members are no strangers to PC/104 development but found that the Tri-M board was better than the older, heavier board from another vendor that they had been using.

The GizmoCopter site is full of useful information on hardware and software. Did you know you can salvage a solid-state, three-axis gyro from a Gyropoint mouse? And, did you know that there's a SourceForge project to develop flight control software for vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing rockets?

Most Creatively Useless

Title:Hacking Big Mouth Billy Bass

Developer:R. Benjamin Harris


Imagine Big Mouth Billy Bass, the singing fish toy, speaking with the voices of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. That's already happening, but future developments could include making Billy speak in your voice too, as a standards-compliant video-conferencing device. Be afraid.

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