open-source device Balthazar. Easy to upgrade and easy to fix

In any case, the authors of the project say so. The device, as conceived by the team, should be completely open, both in terms of software and hardware. In addition, the device itself and spare parts for it will be inexpensive (in any case, this is also promised by the authors of the project).

Well, the goal that the team faces is to provide the user with the opportunity to independently control the operation of their device. And also – to configure functions, supplement and upgrade individual modules of the device. All in all, it’s pretty much the same idea as a Framework laptop. But there is also an open processor architecture, so the whole device is 100% open-source. More details – under the cut.

What else is there?

The authors plan to completely abandon Windows in favor of open source software. At the moment, the device exists as a working product, but it still looks unimportant. I would like to hope that the developers will make their device a little more attractive, since what is now is more like a homemade product (which, in principle, it still is).

The authors of the project plan that the device will support a number of board models from different manufacturers (RISC-V laptops already exist).

As for the characteristics, so far it is only known which modules the device will have (everything is relatively standard here, the diagram is above). In more or less detail, the authors described only the characteristics of the display and battery.

As for the display, it is a slim screen with:


As for the keyboard, it is planned that it will be ergonomic. Control – 8-bit Atmel microcontroller built into Sparkfun ProMicro. The layout is standard, only the layout of the buttons is not the same as most laptops. By the way, vintage laptops from Toshiba have something similar.

Ports and connectors – USB, OTG, HDMI, GPIO and audio.

In addition, the developers are now planning to release several modules at once, information about which is on their website. Github.

Well, this video shows how the elements for the device’s keyboard are assembled.

Additional protection

In general, the laptop is not planned to be made small and beautiful. Instead, it will be protected from water, shock and dust, so you end up with something like the Dell Latitude 7330 (opens in new tab)Rugged Extreme.

The battery and storage media can be hot swapped. And yes, the device will receive a passive cooling system and wire protection inside the device.

As for video, it is planned to use ARM Cortex A7x, and the project team is waiting for open documentation for it, as it is going to write open-source drivers and software for the GPU.

Who is on the team and when will the laptop be ready?

The authors of the project said that the team includes teachers and representatives of such universities as MIT, SiFive, TUFTS, Bauhaus (Weimar). What’s interesting is the representation on the LEGO team that helps design the case.

Well, as for when the device can be seen in full hardware, not to mention the purchase, so far there is no information. But work is underway anyway, there are photos and videos of the project, so hopefully this is not another geeky project that will never see the light of day, like, for example, Google’s Ara modular phone.

Project page, “> where you can track progress.

I don’t like the design, is there anything else?


Yes, as mentioned above, the Chinese recently released the world’s first laptop with a RISC-V processor. The device was developed by Chinese companies DeepComputing and Xcalibyte.

Here are its characteristics, everything is already known here:



The fact is that this architecture allows you to create a heterogeneous computing environment with cores optimized for different types of calculations working together, which is unusual for people. In addition, RISC-V does not have the licensing fees required for many other architectures.

Moreover, the RISC-X architecture is being developed in China, which, as the name implies, is based on RISC-V. At the same time, like the basis, the new technology will be open and free, not only for the Chinese, but also for companies from any other countries. The Chinese think big, so the new architecture for them is a fallback in case the US tries to “excommunicate” them from RISC-V with the help of sanctions, despite the openness of this technology.

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And yet – India is also working on the development of its own RISC-V architecture. In the summer of 2022, the government of the country developed and announced a roadmap for the design and production of semiconductor components based on the RISC-V architecture. The country is going to supply world-class chips in large volumes by the summer of next year.

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