Well, this is not a post I saw myself making even a year ago.
A lot has changed over the last few months, and with a few close friends & colleagues we have found ourselves with some spare time and a desire to build some really fun & interesting machines. I am personally taking a much needed sabbatical and time away from the startup/R&D/‘Silicon Valley Nightmare’ field to spend more time with my family & to pursue some passion projects, such as this!
Excited to officially announce the launch of Derelict Robot Industries, which is a joint venture that @SeanHacker, myself, and long-term main RoboFriend & colleague Renee (@skate420), in collaboration with a number of other talented community members (more on that later).
(Store is soft-launched, shipping what little inventory we have until FreeSK8 is ready to launch)
What started with the OSRR project has grown into a larger effort we’re calling the FreeSK8 System, a fully featured Open Source Hardware Reference Spec for the various hardware components that make up an eBoard, eBike, PEV, etc. To give you an idea of what to expect this year, I’ll give a brief outline of what is currently underway with a goal to start beta testing by end of summer.
To be clear, the intention is to build out the system components surrounding existing ESCs on the market (VESC, Stormcore, Neobox, TB6, etc), and work to better integrate all of those components into a smarter complete system. And then, we’re gonna show everyone how we did it.
- FreeSK8 Remote (OSRR 1.0 Production model)
- FreeSK8 Receiver (NRF/BLE Dongle + SD Card for always-on Logging)
- FreeSK8 Smart BMS (canbus enabled 10-15S, charge-only bypass)
- FreeSK8 LightControl Module (canbus enabled RGB LED, reactive/customizable light animations)
- FreeSK8 NavCom Module (canbus enabled LCD Display, GPS, IMU)
- DIY Battery Kits, Power Switch, Misc Power technologies
Each of these projects has two representations: Design & Product.
Design: We are committing to creating a comprehensive Open Source Hardware Reference Platform, the FreeSK8 System, released under GPL GNU v3, a public OS license (with respect to all existing licensures in place).
This can include, but not limited to: Schematics, Design Files, 3D Models, Firmware, Applications/API, and/or BOMs. As with all IP, it is solely up to the author how they choose to open source their work, and we will do so in ways that make sense for the project & community best interest. Open Table Discussion invited on all topics regarding open source license, release, and ethos.
Product: The primary goal of the FreeSK8 System is to create an open hardware reference spec for a complete PEV, but paper designs only gets us so far. We will be manufacturing hardware in limited releases in two primary categories: Dev Labs & Showcase. Our intention is to provide B2B Engineering/Design Contract Services + limited batch releases of our hardware as we iterate it from development to final production. These stages will be clearly defined, and beta hardware will be offered in limited quantities to select testers at a discounted price, with an option to upgrade to the final production release when ready.
We will also be partnering with a couple of esk8 vendors you know & love to create some custom products based on these technologies (heeey @torqueboards!). The intention here is integration & collaboration over competition- we all have the same goals.
My wonderful beta testers have seen a lot the OSRR in it’s beta stages, and we’re about to move into a final stage of testing using the production hardware. All of the projects listed above are in-progress & material, with the expectation of a full release towards the end of this year. In addition to these hardware projects we have two dedicated app developers working towards a new app interface to bring these hardware projects together under one easy-to-use interface.
Derelict Robot Industries is a passion project, a group of friends & tinkerers brought together by shared goals & philosophies about what we wanted to create and how we wanted to bring it to the DIY Esk8 Community. All involved with this effort believe in the power of freedom of information & open source philosophy. We feel that transparency in intentions provide personal & public accountability as we move into a new era of business ethics & consumer rights advocacy.
For those familiar with the OS hardware world: Prusa Research SRO & Sparkfun serve as HUGE inspirations for the business model we aspire to follow. These guys are absolute champions to the cause & all involved with this effort owe a lot to their generosity & commitment to OS.
We will be committing to donating a set percentage of the profits of each VESC-derivative/adjacent product we sell directly back to the VESC-Project & Benjamin Vedder.
Rules of the Road:
- Open Source First - Respect the License.
- No Pre-Orders. Ever.
- Clearly Defined Shipping Times, Immediate refund option if window is missed.
- Focus on Documentation, Tutorials, Community Engagement & Collaboration.
- Clearly defined SLA/Warranties. No “premium” up-sell warranties.
- No Heatsinks on Trucks.
OS Releases & IP Custody:
We’ve had some great discussions over the last year on the VESC-Project, Community Forks, expectations of OS contributions, etc. As Derelict Robot Industries will be a corporate identity, we wanted to ensure that projects released during our development efforts, often in collaboration with the community, stayed in community hands.
The OpenRoad OS Alliance was formed a few months ago as an Open Source GitHub Organization. This is an organizational unit that can own/manage/publish code & project repositories, wikis, and other resources in a collaborative manner, with access given to the various members over the Org owned projects. I’m happy to say that this team has grown to include a number of hand-picked members of the community, representing various geographies and projects/ventures.
With OSRR Beta wrapped up, we have transferred ownership of the repository over to the OpenRoad OS Alliance. The intention here is to have a community owned Organization that can foster these projects if/when people move on to do other things. It’s up to each individual what they choose to contribute to the Org, there are zero requirements as it’s a complete freedom of choice.
Our intention is to use the OpenRoad OS Alliance Org as the permanent home for our FreeSK8 OS Hardware Reference Project.
Okay- that was a lotta words. Open to answering any questions you guys might have as we move forward. We’re looking at an official store launch by sometime in May-June, but you won’t hear much more in the way of announcements until we have some new gear to show. Lots of work already done, but plenty of work ahead to meet goals.
Anyway… thanks for coming to my TED Talk I guess.