Four More Offbeat Open Source Ideas

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 31, 2008

I'm a fan of many kinds of offbeat open source efforts, and the idea of community contributions can be applied to any number of pursuits, as seen previously in this post. This week I came across a few eyebrow-raising open source stories worthy of another short roundup. Here, you'll find four unusual examples of left-field open source in action.

This post contains the tale of an amusing and admirable effort from a guy named Stani to use free, mostly open source software to design an official new coin. The Dutch Ministry of Finance invited artists to compete by submitting designs for a new 5 euro commemorative coin. With his open source software tools, Stani won the competition with a coin that incorporates highly unusual design elements, including mashing up the names of hundreds of architects into a graphic.

Stani used GIMP, Python, Ubuntu, Debian and other tools to design his coin. He gets a cash prize, and what he calls the "honor" of designing a coin that will be used throughout the Netherlands. He is on the left in the picture, flanked by Dutch officials.

While the company is in stealth mode until the end of the year, a startup called Imovio has announced a tiny  PDA that runs Linux--seen at left. It has 128MB of RAM, 64MB of  flash memory, and a 2.8-inch QVGA display. LinuxDevices has more here, including large photos.

Mike discussed the OpenStim project in this post. It's an effort to build an open "noninvasive brain stimulator." Mike writes: "That is, you'd wear this helmet with its magnets and electronics, flip it on, and stuff would happen inside your cranium as a result. They're wiki-based with a fair number of people interested in moving the project forward." Could this help me remember where I left my socks?

If you prefer your media devices hackable (as ThinkGeek puts it), check out the $179.99 Neuros OSD media recorder and player. It runs Linux, and all of its firmware is open source. You connect the OSD to your TV and give it an analog video input and it can encode video in various formats, including formats for the PSP or mobile phones. You can find out more at the Neuros site.