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What will this system differentiate from existing hardware?

Over the last years, embedded computing has developed to provide a lot more performance with low power consumption. In most cases the commercial systems got more fancy with color displays and many other features or smaller. As a result, the battery life time did not evolve adequately.

When OSM explorers forge ahead in unknown regions, we think they might need system properties like:

  • >20 hours, better 40 hours and more runtime with one set of batteries
  • Standard batteries that are widely available
  • GPS data in a sufficient quality
  • A user interface that can be used while walking.
  • A display that works well in a sunny outdoor environment

To achieve this goal, the system concept will make use of:


  • 3 x AA battery (Alcaline or NiMH rechargeable)
  • A reflective LCD matrix display (lowest power, perfect for daylight)
  • No LCD Backlight
  • Build the system around an 8bit microcontroller
  • Power saving in hard and software
  • A GPS module on a large size mainboard. That will provide a good ground plane for the GPS module antenna
  • A GPS system providing NMEA data connected via serial link can be connected. This will also save the cost for the on board GPS module.
  • A system that will use keys for all inputs to provide some tactile feedback to the user.