Crowdfunding: OpenDSKY and Mycroft Mark II

OpenDSKY

Recreation of the Apollo guidance computer

From $350 kickstarter.com Delivery: June 2018

The Apollo series of missions put a man on the moon almost fifty years ago. This was two years before Intel made the first microprocessor, when computers were cumbersome things. The Apollo Guidance Computer was the only computing power on the rocket, and astronauts interacted with it via the Display&Keyboard (DSKY) interface.

The Open DSKY is a reimplementation of the original system on the Arduino platform and packaged in a replica of the DSKY which is available in 3D printed plastic, steel, or (like the original) aluminium. The metal ones don’t come cheap though, with the aluminium option selling for $8 000. As well as the original functions, the Open DSKY comes with the ability to play sounds – something which may come in handy for users who don’t happen to need the landing calculations for a lunar module.

mycroft

Mycroft Mark II

Privacy-focused home assistant

From $99 kickstarter.com Delivery: December 2018

Voice-controlled AI home assistants are everyday now, but most of the popular commercial options are run by companies that are interested in collecting all the data they can about you to power their advertising and sales machines. Mycroft, however, is an open source, privacy-orientated assistant that you can be confident isn’t amassing your personal data for some shadowy company’s commercial gain.

Mycroft is powered by skills, with each skill relating to a particular ‘thing’ that it can do. For example, read a Wikipedia page or set a countdown timer. Many of these skills have been developed by the community of developers contributing to the open source project. It’s worth taking a look at the available skills before committing to the project to make sure it supports the things you want to work with. If you can’t wait until December, download the current version of the software for a Raspberry Pi or Linux device.

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