A free/open computer on a card that you swap in and out of a 3D printed laptop

Lou Cabron writes, "Finally, after five years of work, Rhombus Tech has gone from a free/libre/open source "spec" to their first actual modular devices!

The video is amazing.

" You can literally plug in a new CPU — or swap your CPU into a variety of devices. (Laptops, phones, tablets — all powered by the same motherboard!) 3D print a new laptop casing. House the CPU in a little wooden micro-stand. Incredible stuff – and very important. They want the Free Software Foundation's 'Respect Your Freedoms' certification…that's how open source it is!"

I played with one of these at HOPE in New York last month; they're remarkable computers, the same size as a PCMCIA card, with free/open firmware from the lowest-level components up.

It feels like a natural evolution from Bunnie Huang's Novena project, which showed it could be done, but cost a lot and was fundamentally designed as a kit.

Rhombus's vision is to make the guts of the computer into a swappable card, which you can upgrade easily when the new model comes out, keeping your keyboard/chassis/screen, etc.

Now imagine if you owned a computing device that you could easily fix yourself and inexpensively upgrade as needed. So, instead of having to shell out for a completely new computer, you could simply spend around US$50 to upgrade — which, by the way, you could easily do in SECONDS, by pushing a button on the side of your device and just popping in a new computer card. Doesn't that sound like the way it should be?

We think so, too! That's why we spent several years developing the easy-to-maintain, easy-on-your-pocket, easy-on-Mother Earth, EOMA68 line of computing devices.

Read on, because it gets even better. Now, let's say you accidentally dropped your laptop and a corner gets cracked. Instead of swearing or weeping over the loss, you simply PRINT OUT REPLACEMENT PARTS with a 3D printer. With the EOMA68 line of computers, you have the freedom to make your own laptop housing parts and can download the CAD files to have replacement PCBs made. Heck, you don't necessarily have to break anything to have a bit of fun with your laptop: maybe you would like the freedom of being able to CHANGE THE COLOR from silver to aqua to bright orange.

A great deal of thought and ingenuity has been put into the design of the EOMA68 line of computing devices to make them money-saving and convenient. For example, you can connect the computer card to your TV set to continue working if your monitor fails… and in the future, we'd like to give you the option to plug the computer card into your TV set if your monitor fails.

Security is also a major concern. We have taken measures to ensure the integrity of your computer data that exceed anything being sold in North America, Europe (or most parts of the world). And, because we have the complete set of sources, there is an opportunity to weed out the back doors that have been slowly making their way into our computing devices. There is no security without a strong foundation and understanding of what is running on your computing devices. For the first time, the EOMA68 is a standard to work off for building freedom-friendly, privacy-respecting, and secure computing devices.

Earth-friendly EOMA68 Computing Devices