Qi hardware

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Qi Hardware Inc.
IndustryComputer hardware
Computer software
Consumer electronics
Digital distribution
Number of locations
Beijing, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Taipei
Area served

Qi hardware is a project which produces copyleft hardware, in an attempt to apply the Free Software Foundation's GNU GPL concept of copylefting software to the hardware layer. The project is both a community of popular open hardware websites and a company, co-founded by Wolfgang Spraul and Yi Zhang, that makes hardware products. Formed from the now defunct Openmoko project,[1] key members went on to form Qi Hardware Inc. and Sharism At Work Ltd. Thus far, the project has released the Ben Nanonote,[2][3][4][5] the Milkymist One,[6] and the Ben WPAN wireless project[7][8][9][10][11] to create a copyleft wireless platform.

Copyleft hardware is essentially requiring that all plans for hardware design (i.e. schematics, bill of materials and PCB layout data) are released under the Creative Commons license Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) and that the software needed to both manufacture the device and at least some software, including device drivers, necessary to use the hardware is released under the GNU General Public License. Technology for copyleft hardware are to be patent-free, and hence, all hardware which is Qi hardware is to be released early, often and publicly on the Internet.

The primary examples of Qi hardware projects are the Ben NanoNote pocket computer, Elphel 353 video camera and Milkymist One video synthesizer.


  • Ben Nanonote, a Linux/OpenWrt based pocket computer
  • Milkymist, a device for interactive visual effects for video performance artists (VJ)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pam Derringer (2009-07-01). "Openomoko Layoffs Lead to New Open Hardware Venture". linux.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  2. ^ Gareth Halfacree (2010-03-16). "Qi Hardware launches NanoNote". bit-tech.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  3. ^ Donald Melanson (2010-03-15). "Qi Hardware's tiny, hackable Ben NanoNote now shipping". bit-tech.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  4. ^ David Murphy (2010-06-05). "Qi Hardware Launches Open-Source Computer". pcmag.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  5. ^ rg (2010-03-17). "Qi Hardware Ben NanoNote". linux.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  6. ^ Ray, Bill. "Open-source hardware group puts out vid system-on-a-chip". The Register. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  7. ^ Terrence O'Brien (2011-06-17). "Qi-Hardware debuts free, open source wireless solution, not a threat to WiFi". engadget.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  8. ^ "Qi Hardware Releases Free Wireless Hardware". rejon.org. 2011-06-15. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  9. ^ Jake (2011-06-16). "Phillips: Qi Hardware Releases Free Wireless Hardware". lwn.net. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  10. ^ Electronista Staff (2011-06-17). "Qi Hardware makes open-source wireless networking tech". electronista.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  11. ^ Fabricatorz Staff (2011-06-17). "Qi Hardware Releases First Batch of 6LoWPAN Wireless Devices". fabricatorz.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-07-18.

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