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Old 11-19-2005, 08:51 AM
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Kumaros Kumaros is offline
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Default US$300 EFIS three years in our future?

The US$100 laptop for every child in the world was officially announced by Nicholas Negroponte (another Greek ) of MIT Media Lab fame, at the U.N. World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis a couple of days ago. The laptops are scheduled to be available by the end of 2006, beginning of 2007, though only for children and through Ministries of Education. However, I don't see why the people of the initiative couldn't be persuaded to offer ~ US$200 laptops to the general public, with the extra US$100 financing an extra laptop for a child in need. Since the laptops will be rugged, have a sunlight readable screen, will be able to run for 45 minutes for 10 minutes of cranking power and run Linux, I could envision a General (or experimental) Aviation initiative offering a substantial prize (to the tune of an extra US$100 per EFIS laptop) to an individual or a group of individuals willing and able to develop an open source EFIS for those of us who can't afford US$5K and upwards EFIS's.
http://laptop.media.mit.edu/
http://laptop.media.mit.edu/laptop-images.html
Kumaros
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P.S. I'm aware of the one exception, Dynon and its ~ US$2.5k price tag, still ten times more than what we could do with those US$100 laptops.

Last edited by Kumaros : 11-19-2005 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:03 AM
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I'd bet you could get the cost of that EFIS down too if you make a couple billion of them.

Add the extra hardware/sensors required and the ruggedized frame/case and you're not seeing $200 anymore.
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:26 AM
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Mike, you may laugh all you want, but that's the idea behind the initiative: make practically billions of the things. My idea in turn is to piggyback on this initiative, taking advantage of the already ruggedized construction, the 7" transflective, sunlight readable screen, etc., while offering something back to the community, that 100% markup going to a child in need. Then taking the idea one step farther, offering a sizeable prize to the tune of US$100k-1000k to the group of programmers that'll come up with an open source EFIS solution for the people of the world. What's laughable about it? It's sheer strength in numbers.
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:45 AM
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The problem is with the big volumes that general aviation is low volume market.
You can't sell billions of anything to pilots unless you also invent a $2000 airplane.
The amount of sold airplanes per year (and completed experimentals) is incredibly
low. Even if you can sell one or two units to every aircraft out there, you are still within
low volumes.

However, if you want something cheap, here is something to look at:

Our little Linux device, the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet:
http://www.nokia.com/770

There is a SDK rootimage already available which could be used if the thing would
be dedicated as EFIS. You would then have 350 EUR EFIS display. However, you would
still need a sensor box which too would run Linux and that might be more costly than
the Nokia 770. The box could be connected with either bluetooth, WLAN or USB to the Nokia 770. We are looking forward for doing something based on 770, but it will not
be ready very soon. Actually the cheapest Linux computer out there is the Linksys WLAN base station version 4 (not version 5). I will ask Kate if it would be possible to use the Linksys base station as the heart of the sensor box. Possibly the answer is no as she has a microcontroller on drawing board despite we have five of those Linksys units.

BTW, the Nokia 770 is now available in USA too. If someone is interested in mobile internet, this is a highly recommended gadget.
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:48 AM
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It's funny you should say that.
Just the other day I was reading about Avidyne's EFIS and it runs on the NT kernel.
The honcho that was doing the interview, even admitted that it was entirely possible for people to run windows based applications on their EFIS units... and that's a CERTIFIED unit!
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Old 11-19-2005, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
You can't sell billions of anything to pilots unless you also invent a $2000 airplane.
Your $2000 airplane would also have to be largely automated and totally foolproof.

I saw yet another feature on the Moller Skycar last night on the science channel. They said it should be FAA certified in 2 to 3 years, but all the video except the one real tethered flight were simulations. Skycar flying through the NY city buildings etc. etc. What a load of BS.
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Old 11-19-2005, 11:56 AM
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Karoliina and John, we don't have to make billions of the things, that's been taken care of. Remember we'll be surfing on a wave of a billion laptops; that takes care of the US$200 price, the ruggedized construction (remember these laptops have to survive the heat, the humidity, the sand and dirt of third world countries in the hands of children, an airplane cockpit is heaven compared to those conditions), the 7" transflective screen, the worldwide availability of parts. All the aviation community has to come up with is an extra US$100 or so per EFIS. Even if only one thousand pilots would be willing to do it, that's a prize of US$100k to people who'd do it just for the fun, the challenge of it and bragging rights, the monetary prize and the worldwide recognition is just icing on the cake.
As everything else solid-state, accelerometers are or will be available off-the-shelf at a dime a dozen; look at the model aircraft scene. All things considered, I'm confident we could have a complete EFIS for under US$500.
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Old 11-19-2005, 11:50 PM
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I'm not laughing...

But it's the magetometer that's the most expensive component. Now if you can get Honeywell to ramp up production of their HMR3000 and get a quantity discount, we'd all appreciate it. Their pricing now is $700 each.
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Old 11-20-2005, 01:23 AM
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Actually, I think I have seen a couple of linux and windows based EFIS software out there written by computer type pilots, written primarliy for their own use. Don't really remember where, just kinda stumbled over them. The conventional wisdom (which I often tend to question.....homebuilder, rotary etc <g>) seems to trash them since they are written in "comsumer software". In the olden days I may have had the same concerns.....today, I actually see Linux and even Windows as pretty stable, not perfect, but usable. FWIW.


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Old 11-20-2005, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mplafleur
I'm not laughing...

But it's the magetometer that's the most expensive component. Now if you can get Honeywell to ramp up production of their HMR3000 and get a quantity discount, we'd all appreciate it. Their pricing now is $700 each.
Sorry Mike, on re-reading your post I caught your real drift. Now what about that magnetometer? Are there no alternatives by other manufacturers, how about the HMC2300c for ~US$200? What about this magnetometer in a couple of years?
http://www.aip.org/pnu/2004/split/713-2.html
or this?
http://www.nsti.org/procs/Nanotech2003v1/11/M66.11
There is an Acer PDA with GPS receiver built in and moving map navigator software for under EUR300. How do they do it? Prices can only fall, especially with new display technologies, e-ink, OLED, etc. on the way.
How do the modellers do it? I admit being on terra incognita here.
We could propose the design to Circuit Cellar; in their August 2005 issue, for example, they featured a flight computer for high power model rockets, complete with accelerometers, pressure sensors, GPS module, video transmission etc.
Kumaros
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Last edited by Kumaros : 11-20-2005 at 12:16 PM.
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