Welcome, new readers, to Technical Machine’s blog!
The last two days have been a whirlwind for us as we hit the top of Hacker News, Hack-A-Day, and started reaching our community. We’re really grateful for the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response, particularly among web developers and small businesses. That’s one of our core goals: to foster entrepreneurship among web programmers in the physical world. Thus we’re stoked that you are the community that noticed us first.
It’s tough to answer every tweet, so I thought I could answer some of the more pressing questions here:
Are you open source?
Yes! Open source code, open source hardware. Our vision is that you can use Tessel to prototype, test, and hopefully start your own business in the field of internet-connected devices. That doesn’t make much sense if we keep anything proprietary—so we won’t.
Not much is currently available, but don’t worry, we’ll be opening it up steadily over time.
When can I get one?
We’ll be launching our crowdfunding campaign in early September. If you haven’t already, sign up on our email list and we’ll shoot you an email when pre-orders are ready!
Can I have one early?
We don’t have a definite answer here, but probably not. We want to make sure that everything works really well and that our crowdfunding backers get theirs as soon as possible. Scaling from twenty prototypes to production is expensive, and our first priority is securing reliable manufacturing.
What does it cost?
Sorry, but we can’t tell you yet. We’re still figuring out all of the costs, and we don’t want to throw a number before we’re certain.
We said before that we want to make Tessel open, but we want to go a step beyond that and also make it reproducible. It’s a high priority that our component decisions enable others to build off of Tessel’s schematics and hardware without restriction, which means choosing common components and not ones with contractual or high volume agreements.
Where does the Tessel fall with respect to Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone?
In terms of power, the Tessel is between a small MCU like the Arduino and a full fledged microprocessor like the Pi/BeagleBone. The ARM Cortex-M is one of the most popular architectures today and we’re pleased to add another option to the real-time microcontroller space.
We’ve designed Tessel for usability and modularity. We’re aiming for a device that’s more like a PaaS, where you can push code without extensive configuration or drivers. (Of course, our firmware will be open for any modification you’d like.)
Can I talk to you about making Tessel compatible with my product?
Sure! We love hearing from startups and seeing new applications for Tessel. Shoot us an email and we’ll talk.
Are you looking for investment?
Absolutely! Please send us an email at email@example.com.
In other news, we had a hackathon with One Mighty Roar yesterday, an interaction design group in Boston. We wanted to get their take on what it was like to use Tessel. We had a great time working with them, and they seemed to like Tessel right back! Expect to see some of their project code added to Github sometime soon.
—Kelsey (The Ghost in the Machine)