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Trustworthy hardware and manufacturing

This page contains a concise overview of projects funded by NLnet foundation that belong to Hardware (see the thematic index). There is more information available on each of the projects listed on this page - all you need to do is click on the title or the link at the bottom of the section on each project to read more. If a description on this page is a bit technical and terse, don't despair — the dedicated page will have a more user-friendly description that should be intelligible for 'normal' people as well. If you cannot find a specific project you are looking for, please check the alphabetic index or just search for it (or search for a specific keyword).

Analog/Mixed-Signal Library — OSHW component library for ASIC design

One of the gaps in the open chip toolchain is a libre-licensed analog/mixed-signal library. Having access to such a library contributes to having a fully open ASIC design infrastructure through which secure and trustworthy open hardware can subsequently be built.

This project is trying to fill that void. The first part of the project consists of enhancing and stabilising the underlying PDKMaster project, and allow it to facilitate programmatic co-generation of circuit and layout with integrated support for circuit simulation. This should make resulting circuits DRC and LVS clean by design. Second part of the bootstrapping effort is then to implement a set of scalable analog/mixed-signal blocks which can be integrated into PDKMaster. The initial set will consist of the following 4 core blocks: a voltage reference, a PLL (phase-locked loop), a low frequency, low accuracy ADC and a low frequency, low accuracy DAC.

The overall focus is on proving the overall suitability of the PDKMaster framework, rather than on the complexity and difficulty of the individual analog/mixed-signal blocks which are to be added. Thanks to proper documentation and examples, users can start expanding the available building blocks by adding their own contributions.

>> Read more about Analog/Mixed-Signal Library

Balthazar — One laptop for the new internet age.

Project's ambition is to design and deliver an innovative and technically advanced open hardware (RISC-V/ISA) based, European made, inexpensive, FOSS laptop as a personal computing device, containing on board all desirable (FOSS compliant) hardware and software features and functionalities needed to prevent any 3rd party intrusion into the system. It adds physical safety features currently not available in the market such as hot-swappable CPU, hardwired switches for e.g. camera and audio devices, and a quickly removable encrypted hard drive and peripherals. A goal of Balthazar is to enable and educate end users to be private, safe and careful with their own data, and that of others. Another goal is to make computing more sustainable and reach eco-friendly footprint, by empowering users to take up their 'right to repair', through a modular laptop that allows components to be easily exchanged and upgraded - up to the CPU itself. The goal is to lead by example and gently lead other hardware manufacturers to become fully open and transparent. And create an educational platform, as well as an advanced computing device where its users (including those with low income ) to feel secure, safe and comfortable using it. For the children of all ages.

>> Read more about Balthazar

Balthazar - One laptop for the new internet age. — A secure fully open hardware laptop

Project's ambition is to design and deliver an innovative and technically advanced open hardware (RISC-V/ISA) based, European made, inexpensive, FOSS laptop as a personal computing device, containing on board all desirable (FOSS compliant) hardware and software features and functionalities needed to prevent any 3rd party intrusion into the system. It adds physical safety features currently not available in the market such as hot-swappable CPU, hardwired switches for e.g. camera and audio devices, and a quickly removable encrypted hard drive and peripherals. A goal of Balthazar is to enable and educate end users to be private, safe and careful with their own data, and that of others. Another goal is to make computing more sustainable and reach eco-friendly footprint, by empowering users to take up their 'right to repair', through a modular laptop that allows components to be easily exchanged and upgraded - up to the CPU itself. The goal is to lead by example and gently lead other hardware manufacturers to become fully open and transparent. And create an educational platform, as well as an advanced computing device where its users (including those with low income ) to feel secure, safe and comfortable using it. For the children of all ages.

>> Read more about Balthazar - One laptop for the new internet age.

Betrusted OS — An embedded OS for cryptographic devices

Betrusted OS will underpin the Betrusted ecosystem, and will enable secure process isolation. It will be written a safe systems language - namely Rust - to ensure various components are free from common programming pitfalls and undefined behavior. Unlike modern operating systems that trade security for speed, the Betrusted OS will prioritize security and isolation over performance. For example, it will be a microkernel that utilizes message passing and services rather than a monolithic kernel with modules. Unlike other deeply-embedded operating systems, it will require an MMU, and support multiple threads per process. This will let us add features such as service integrity and signature verification at an application level.

>> Read more about Betrusted OS

Betrusted Storage — Plausably deniable encrypted storage

Betrusted aims to be a secure communications device that is suitable for everyday use by non-technical users of diverse backgrounds. We believe users shouldn’t have to be experts in supply chain or cryptography to gain access to our ultimate goal: privacy and security one can count on. Today’s “private key only” secure enclave chips are vulnerable to I/O manipulation. This means there is no essential correlation between what a user is told, and what is actually going on. Betrusted will build a full technology stack, including silicon, device, OS, and UX that is open for inspection and verification. We've passed the first hurdle of creating an FPGA-based device, which we have spun out into a development platform we call Precursor. We are now advancing deeper into the technology stack to improve FPGA, drivers, OS, and UX elements, all driving toward the common goal of making Betrusted a simple, secure, and strong device that aims to advance Internet freedom.

>> Read more about Betrusted Storage

Libre-SOC Cavatools: Power ISA Simulator — Power ISA Simulator

Cavatools is a high performance ISA simulator, similar to qemu. However unlike qemu, cavatools is designed with two goals in mind: to provide accurate guidance on instruction effectiveness, and to run at close to real-time performance on multi-core host systems.

The only hardware that cavatools currently supports is cycle-accurate emulation of RISC-V: this Grant is intended to add not only the Power ISA but also add the Draft SVP64 Cray-style Vector Extensions being developed by Libre-SOC (and sponsored by NLnet). Other work includes being able to verify and compare multiple independent implementations, running the same program, to check interoperability, whether in emulators, hardware simulations, simulators or actual ASICs.

>> Read more about Libre-SOC Cavatools: Power ISA Simulator

LibrEDA — An integrated development environment for chip design

Because digital circuits are a core part of today’s society there is a significant value in free and open chips and, equally important, free and open design software that is accessible also to small entities. Not only would this enhance trust through transparency and digital sovereignty through distributed knowledge but it would also be a fertile ground for education, hobbyists and small enterprises. The main goal of this project is to create a new libre-software framework for the physical design of digital integrated circuits. The framework is meant to simplify the development of chip layout tools, i.e. the tools used to convert a gate-level netlist into a fabrication-ready layout. This includes fundamental data structures and algorithms, interface definitions of the design algorithms (e.g. placement, routing or timing analysis), input/output libraries for commonly used file formats as well as documentation and example implementations. Two variants will be pursued in parallel: One with a clear focus on simplicity and education and another with a focus on performance and scalability. Another part of the project is the continuation of the ‘LibreCell’ standard-cell generator and characterization tool.

>> Read more about LibrEDA

Zerocat Chipflasher Flashrom Interface — Hardware to flash alternative/libre firmware to BIOS chips

The Zerocat Chipflasher Project aims to provide a fully user controlled electronic device, that helps users to remove the proprietary BIOS firmware from their laptops. The tool allows them to instead run verifiable and Free Firmware, produced by the Coreboot and Libreboot project. Proprietary BIOS is opaque with regards to functionality, and may contain known and unknown security issues. Also controversial elements like the Intel Management Engine can be deactivated. The project helps to empower everyone to create trustworthy digital hardware on her or his own and has been successfully certified by the Respects-Your-Freedom (RYF) Certification Program, set up by the Free Software Foundation in Boston, USA. The device combines the Do-it-Yourself concept with free-design hardware development, even down to chip level. This is achieved by skipping convenient functionalities which would require chips of a proprietary design and by instead using a free-design microcontroller, only. The flasher’s integration into the grid of related existing free software projects yet is to be improved by an additional interface and an in depth firmware review.

>> Read more about Zerocat Chipflasher Flashrom Interface

Chips4Makers ASICs

Current scaling of micro-electronics is focused on improving power, performance and cost per device but with an exponentially increasing start-up cost related to the increased process complexity. For the design of custom chips currently expensive proprietary electronic design automation (EDA) tools need to be used and hefty license fees are due for blocks implementing specific functions like the CPU, USB etc. All this together makes custom chip development only accessible for high-volume production and proprietary designs. In this project a development version of the libre licensed Libre-SOC system-on-a-chip will be manufactured in a 0.18um process combined with development on the open source tools and open source chip building blocks to make this possible. Development on the free and open source tools will be focused on making them compatible with the selected process and the building block development will be focused on the so-called standard cell library, the IO library and the SRAM compiler. This project fits in the longer term goal of the Chips4Makers project to make low-volume custom chip production possible using mature process technologies and free and open source tool chains and building blocks. Purpose is to get innovation using custom chips within reach of small start-ups, makers and even hobbyists.

>> Read more about Chips4Makers ASICs

Supersizing the Gun — Chipwhisperer open hardware for side channel analysis

ChipWhisperer is an open hardware and software toolchain that has been a mainstay of hardware security research. ChipWhisperer is used in academic curricula and in industrial R&D implementation security research labs for high speed side-channel power analysis and glitching attacks. The objective of this project is to explore design changes to the current ChipWhisperer hardware, so as to allow capturing of longer power analysis traces and to cater to higher clock speeds than currently supported. Here, the intent is to make it easier to perform side-channel-related analysis of public-key algorithms, without the need to artificially break down the algorithms into multiple components due to platform constraints. This allows for more realistic and practically relevant attacks. This project additionally entails the development of fine-grained post-processing tools, which would make further analysis of captured traces of public-key algorithms easier.

Ultimately, the goal is to work towards candidate post-quantum algorithms, which are known to be more resource-hungry. The project funded by NGI Zero would specifically target design changes to considerably increase the sampling rate (towards 200-250 MS/s) and to provide for a streaming mode (initially envisioned to be roughly 15-30 MS/s). It includes both a new hardware design and a significant update to the current open-source software of the ChipWhisperer platform, as well as demonstration of how to successfully use this with practically relevant ECC public-key algorithms.

>> Read more about Supersizing the Gun

Libre-SOC, Coriolis2 ASIC Layout Collaboration — Open tooling for ASIC Layout

One of the key issues in a trusted, trustable ASIC is for the toolchain to be libre-licensed, so that there is no possibility for hardware-level spying or backdoor compromises. The Alliance / Coriolis2 ASIC layout toolchain by is one of the leading tools in this area. The Libre-SoC is another project being funded through NGI Zero, and at this moment that project needs to get beyond FPGA-proven status. The challenging next phase is to do an actual ASIC layout. With the System-on-Chip being developed in nmigen (a python-based HDL), Alliance / Coriolis2 also makes sense as it is written in Python as well. The funding will go towards doing an ASIC layout in 180nm.

>> Read more about Libre-SOC, Coriolis2 ASIC Layout Collaboration

EEZ DIB — EEZ DIY Instrument Bus

The aim of the EEZ DIB project is to enable the creating and management of modular open hardware T&M (Test & Measurement) solutions. Born out of frustration that solutions from reputable manufacturers are feature rich but closed in design and with expensive software licenses, an attempt have been made to fill the gap between such solutions and DIY/hobbyists solutions which although often open in design lack structure, documentation and completeness that could ensure further growth, development and support.

The hardware part of the project is EEZ BB3, an open source DIB chassis in a compact format that can accommodate up to 3 peripheral T&M modules which can be monitored locally via touchscreen display with responsive and attractive user interface or remotely via USB or Ethernet using Telnet, MQTT, JS and Node-RED. Additional autonomy and programmability has been achieved by adding support for MicroPython scripting.

The software part of the project is EEZ Studio, a free and open source cross-platform application that has two functions: a) visual editor that simplify and accelerate touchscreen GUI development and b) management of multiple EEZ BB3 and 3rd party T&M devices for the purpose of simple communication and acquisition, search and presentation of measurement data.

>> Read more about EEZ DIB

Edalize ASIC backend — Create open hardware silicon with a fully free software toolchain

Affordable Open Source ASIC development and custom silicon has been a long-standing goal in the community. This will unlock innovation that has previously only been possible for the largest tech companies, allowing for the creation of deployable, trusted Open Source based hardware.

Step by step, this goal has come closer in the last few years as individuals, companies and academic institutions have filled in the missing pieces. Today we have a fully open source end-to-end flow for building open source ASIC - but the effort of on-boarding existing designs remains high. This project aims to provide an easy way to onboard existing gateware and full designs to an open source ASIC flow by creating a FuseSoC backend that targets this toolchain. This will enable a smoother transition from projects already running on FPGAs to also be targeting ASIC flows. It will also allow easier switching between different open source ASIC flows at the point when there are several alternatives to choose from.

In addition to the backend itself, a reference design containing SERV, the world’s smallest RISC-V CPU, will be run through the flow and committed to actual silicon. This will provide a way to guarantee a working flow and provide a simple but usable reference for everyone else looking to onboard their designs. Enabling and demonstrating this path will allow a fully trustworthy path for the fabrication of system-on-a-chip ICs, with no proprietary or closed tools as part of the flow and hence completely inspectable at all stages. This paves the road for other more complex FuseSoC-based open source silicon projects such as OpenTitan and SweRVolf.

>> Read more about Edalize ASIC backend

EDeA — A forge suitable for open hardware development

The short version: EDeA is a novel approach to allow exploration of and improve discovery within the open hardware ecosystem - in order to help make open hardware designs and components discoverable and reusable.

At this moment in time, pretty much everything surrounding open hardware development is manual. Beyond just typing something into a generic search engine there isn't really suitable tooling available to search across what already exists. Accessible and usable distributions, collaboration tools and version control are what drove the free and open source software revolution, now open hardware needs to take the same leap forward.

Open hardware electronics projects are growing in numbers, thanks to crowdfunding, a strong developer community, and sophisticated open source electronic design automation (EDA) tools like KiCad. Between circuit schematic and printed circuit board (PCB) layout there is a logical association, but are being handled by separate programs, and therefore one can’t simply copy-paste design blocks. In 2020 it is still next to impossible to reuse proven parts of different designs without needless reimplementation. By leveraging KiCad’s pcbnew and eeschema scripting, a new way of building modular, reusable electronics opens. We are creating a catalog and community portal for discovery and development of proven circuit modules: power management, signal conditioning, data conversion, micro-controllers, etc.

>> Read more about EDeA

FemtoStar Project — Open Hardware Communications Satellite

The FemtoStar Project is developing a low-cost communications satellite, intended for use as part of a scalable, decentralized network enabling verifiably anonymous, geolocation-resistant communications on a global scale. While many anonymizer services are currently available to users of existing communications systems, these serve simply to separate knowledge of identity (which still lies with the communications service provider) from knowledge of activity (which lies at the exit of the anonymizer service). All current wide-area communications networks are fundamentally identifying (users and their hardware are, at minimum, pseudonymous to the network) and no two-way communications system offers any meaningful degree of resistance to geolocation of the user. The FemtoStar Project intends to use a constellation of FemtoStar satellites to provide global, space-based open communications infrastructure linking users to services (which can be operated by anyone, and require no special ground station installation beyond a regular FemtoStar user terminal) or directly to other users, and requiring no identification or geolocation of user terminals. We are seeking funding for the development of a prototype satellite and user terminal, implementation and testing of the FemtoStar protocol on this hardware, and, dependent on funding amount and regulatory approval, the licensing and launch of one FemtoStar satellite to low earth orbit for system testing and, possibly, for use in a limited open beta service. With prototype hardware and, ideally, with one production satellite in orbit, the FemtoStar Project will be able to validate the FemtoStar system and move towards our goal of operating a scalable constellation for global, verifiably-private communications service - a world-first in privacy technology.

>> Read more about FemtoStar Project

Fobnail — Remote attestation delivered locally

The Fobnail Token is a tiny open-source hardware USB device that provides a means for a user/administrator/enterprise to determine the integrity of a system. To make this determination, Fobnail functions as an attestor capable of validating attestation assertions made by the system. As an independent device, Fobnail provides a high degree of assurance that an infected system cannot influence Fobnail as it inspects the attestations made by the system. Fobnail software is an open-source implementation of the iTurtle security architecture concept presented at HotSec07; in addition, it will leverage industry standards like TCG D-RTM trusted execution environment and IEFT RATS. The Fobnail project aims to provide a reference architecture for building offline integrity measurement servers on the USB device and clients running in Dynamically Launched Measured Environments (DLME). It allows the Fobnail owner to verify the trustworthiness of the running system before performing any sensitive operation. Fobnail does not need an Internet connection what makes it immune to the network stack and remote infrastructure attacks. It brings the power of solid system integrity validation to the individual in a privacy-preserving solution.

>> Read more about Fobnail

Libre/OpenCores FuseSoc backend — Discovery and use of open hardware gateware through LibreCores and OpenCores

Chip (FPGA/ASIC) development is normally done in a very hierarchical manner where gateware is used to build up subsystems which are combined to a full chip design. On paper, this leans very well for reusing parts in many different chip designs, but the actual amount of reuse has always been hampered by the lack of tooling to manage and combine gateware. Compare this to the software world where languages such as JavaScript, Python or Rust have a rich ecosystem of user-created reusable parts that can be used as a base to quickly build new applications. This project aims to provide a similar ecosystem for chip development where users can publish their cores, find the cores they need and build upon these to rapidly create new designs.

>> Read more about Libre/OpenCores FuseSoc backend

Porting Guix to Riscv64 — Port Guix software collection to Riscv64 architecture

This project will work on bringing the Rust support of GNU Guix on Riscv64 up to fully supported, with the bootstrap chain from source. It will also bring Riscv64 in Guix up to the full level of support that is expected of commonly used architectures, ready to be used in all the applications where GNU Guix is already found. Riscv64, being an Open Architecture, freely available to anyone who wants to implement processors, goes a long way towards ensuring that our future computing platforms are free of hidden backdoors. GNU Guix, being a true Free Software Operating System and compiled from source from a small bootstrap binary, with reproducibility guarantees, is as close as the computing community has come to a fully auditable software chain that makes sure all the software we run on our computers is what we intend, and nothing more. By combining the Riscv64 architecture and GNU Guix for software we can reach toward a fully secure and auditable computing platform that we might consider trusting.

>> Read more about Porting Guix to Riscv64

YunoHost and the Internet Cube — Solutions for DIY-ISP's and self-hosters

YunoHost is a free and open-source server distribution that provides a self-hosted alternative to commercial centralized services, and allows people to take back control over their data. Yunohost aims to make server administration accessible to the general public and ultimately make personal servers as common as desktop computers. Based on YunoHost, the Internet Cube project develops an affordable plug-and-play server that can be bought and easily deployed at home by the general public. In addition to its self-hosting capabilities, it provides a privacy-enhancing WiFi hotspot which protects its users from censorship and metadata leaks. And because it is low-power, it can be used even in remote and offline situations.

>> Read more about YunoHost and the Internet Cube

KiKit — Tooling for automation of production of PCB designed in KiCAD

The EDA suite KiCAD is a widespread libre solution for designing electronics. KiKit is a Python library, KiCAD plugin, and a CLI tool to automate several tasks in a standard KiCAD workflow. The main goal of KiKit is to make the step from finishing a PCB design to having a physical PCB as easy as possible, as fast as possible, and as error-proof as possible. It achieves that via automation of manufacturing data preparation. The automated processes are reliable, repeatable, and require zero designer input. Thus, they are error-proof. KiKit allows you to perform sanity checks of the PCBs, build panels according to the description and generate manufacturing data (gerbers, assembly files, BOMs, stencils), PCB documentation, and more. All this can be fully automated and, e.g., integrated into continuous-integration pipelines. Not only KiKit provides ready-to-use pipelines for the most common scenarios, but it can also serve as a framework for building custom PCB post-processing setups.

>> Read more about KiKit

Kintex-nextpnr — Open toolchain for high performance FPGAs

FPGAs are reconfigurable chips capable of handling many electronic signals in parallel. They are used in network equipment like backbone switches, firewalls, video devices like surveillance cameras and radio equipment like mobile-phone base stations and radar systems and satellites to process high volumes of data with very low latency. FPGAs are also used to test digital circuit designs before they are manufactured as chips.

The functionality of FPGAs is determined by a configuration file which is loaded into the FPGA at power-on. The configuration file is usually generated from a design file by a proprietary closed source tool provided by the manufacturer of the FPGA. nextpnr-Kintex will provide a complete set of open source tools to generate a configuration file for the widely used family of Kintex7 FPGAs from manufacturer Xilinx/AMD without having to use any proprietary tools. This will empower digital design engineers to have the guarantee that no backdoor is implemented on FPGA based devices by the proprietary design tool provided by the vendor. The availability of the source code of the FPGA design tool will also allow innovators to come up with new use cases for FPGAs currently not possible with proprietary tools. Overall, the project will help to increase the security of FPGA based wired and wireless network infrastructure in Europe.

>> Read more about Kintex-nextpnr

Langsec in Pectore — A secure pacemaker created from formal grammars

Design and build a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) cardiac pacemaker circuit with an analog/mixed-signal CMOS ASIC based on a description of the device functionality as formal grammar/automaton based on language security (langsec) design principles. Internet-of-things (IoT) devices are usually designed around a general purpose microcontroller with a much larger state space than needed for their purpose. Only after the initial design, interface capabilities of the IoT device are artificially restricted for privacy and security. An implanted pacemaker is a safety-critical IoT device that fits into a very small state space, as proven by early pacemaker designs that did not use high performance microcontrollers. Langsec methods use formal grammars to specify minimal interface parsers to reduce the attack surface, but not the attack volume behind the attack surface. As PoC, formal langsec methods are adapted to reduce the attack volume of a pacemaker: A domain-specific language (DSL) translates requirements of a cardiac pacemaker patient and an information security researcher (ideally one and the same person) into an implantable minimum state space analog/mixed signal pacemaker application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Such a minimum automaton methodology can be transfered to less life-critical IoT devices. ASICs for minimum automaton IoT designs are a use case for completely free CMOS IC fabrication processes, e.g., LibreSilicon. Non-essential state space that isn't implemented can't be hacked.

>> Read more about Langsec in Pectore

Libre-SOC — A fully open hardware System-on-a-Chip

It is 2019 and it is not possible to buy a mass-produced laptop, tablet or smartphone and replace all of its software (with software that a user can trust) without loss of functionality. Processor boot-loaders are DRM-locked; WIFI, 3D Graphics and Video Processors are proprietary, and Intel's processors contain problematic features and intransparent elements such as the "Management" Engine. The most logical way to restore and engender trust is to literally make a new processor - one that is developed transparently and may be independently audited to the bedrock. The project develops a low-power, mobile-class, 64-bit Quad-Core OpenPower SoC at a minimum 800mhz clock rate, suitable for tablet, netbook, and industrial embedded systems. Full source code files are available for the operating system and bootloader, and the actual processor, its peripherals and its 3D GPU and VPU. Details at

>> Read more about Libre-SOC

The Libre-SOC Gigabit Router — Native Open Hardware chip implementation of crypto primitives

The Libre-SOC Project is developing a Libre System-on-a-Chip in a transparent fashion to engender end-user trust. Based on the OpenPOWER ISA, the next logical step is to extend and modernise OpenPOWER into the cryptographic and blockchain realm, and to do so in a practical way: design a Router ASIC. Whilst many commercial ASICs would do this using hard-coded non-transparent blocks or instructions, true transparency really only exists if the ISA has general-purpose primitives that can be Formally (mathematically) validated. The Libre-SOC Crypto-router Project therefore goes back to mathematical "first principles" to provide general-purpose Galois-Field, Matrix abstraction and more, on top of Simple-V Vectorisation. This provides flexibility for future cryptographic and blockchain algorithms on a firm transparent foundation.

>> Read more about The Libre-SOC Gigabit Router

LibreSilicon — Free/open source semiconductor manufacturing process

LibreSilicon aims to reduce the steep entry barriers to full custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design and help people to regain trust in their computing devices, right at the bedrock: When they are manufactured. LibreSilicon provides a standard for manufacturing semiconductors which allows platform independent process design kits (PDKs) and design rules that allow manufacturing the same chip layout in any factory that has calibrated their process according to the LibreSilicon specs. By introducing this process standard, full custom ASIC design should become available to private persons without corporate or academic access to IC foundries. After democratizing software development with tools like Arduino, and PCB design with tools like KiCAD, LibreSilicon will democratize ASIC design, and GDS2 intends to become the new Gerber file format for semiconductor manufacturing.

>> Read more about LibreSilicon

Libre Silicon compiler — Synthesize, place and route hardware description to silicon

LibreSilicon Compiler (LSC) is a place + route suite for silicon. The main focus of this project is to produce legal and efficient silicon layouts from digital netlists (e. g. BLIF, EDIF). Traditionally the placement and routing problem are handled separately and in sequence and the final layout is given by the routing step. In this setup the routing step gains information from placement but not the other way around. LSC attempts to shift this paradigm to create a feedback loop between the two main problems to improve the solution. Furthermore we are incorporating formal methods to produce the compiler software and to verify resulting layouts. While the latter is standard practice, proving properties of the compiler software itself is only widespread in the domain of software compilers. This exercise will be favored by the use of the programming language Haskell and advanced theorem provers. Finally this software aims to profit from explicit module hierarchies given by the developers of digital logic in register-transfer level (e. g. Verilog, Chisel). Greedy solutions can be found for highly modularised chips: when logic is not inlined in the conventional software compiler sense, the size of problem instances is kept small. This also gives parallelism for free, as the dependency tree is resolved from the bottom up.

>> Read more about Libre Silicon compiler

Port of AMDVLK/RADV 3D Driver to the Libre-SOC — Adapt Vulkan Drivers to the Libre-SoC

The Libre SoC is being developed to provide a privacy-respecting modern processor, developed transparently and as libre to the bedrock as possible. As a hybrid processor, it is intended to be both a CPU and a GPU. GPUs are typically proprietary (and thus not fully transparent), as is the 3D driver software. The SoC design requires a Vulkan compliant hybrid hardware-software API. The development of the Kazan 3D Driver (developed from scratch inside the Libre SoC) that aims to provide such an API is therefore on the critical path to final release. Given the complex nature of 3D driver development, and because Kazan is a novel approach (written in rust, for security reasons) that dependency is considered a liability. This project develops a second, more traditional Mesa3D driver in c++. This reduces the pressure on the Kazan development, and allows for benchmarking and increased transparency and collaboration on this ambitious project.

>> Read more about Port of AMDVLK/RADV 3D Driver to the Libre-SOC

Libre-SOC Formal Correctness Proofs — Mathematical unit tests for open hardware System-on-Chip

Hardware projects like the Libre-SOC Project involve writing an inordinate amount of comprehensive unit tests to make sure everything functions the way it should. This is a critical and expensive part of the overall design process. Formal Mathematical Proofs (already quite popular in secure software development) provide an interesting alternative for several reasons: they're mathematically inviolate, which we believe makes them more trustworthy. And they are simpler to read and much more comprehensive (100% coverage), saving hugely on development and maintenance. From a security and trust perspective, both aspects are extremely important. Security mistakes are often accidental due to complexity: a reduction in complexity helps avoid mistakes. Secondly: independent auditing of the processor is a matter of running the formal proofs. The project aims to provide proofs for every module of the Libre RISC-V SoC, and therefore contributes significantly with the larger goal of developing a privacy-respecting processor in a way that is independently verifiable.

>> Read more about Libre-SOC Formal Correctness Proofs

Libre-SOC Formal Standards Development — Formal Standards for OpenPower extensions from Libre-SoC

Libre-SOC was first funded from NLnet in 2018. This was for the core of the project, based on an informally-developed Hybrid CPU-GPU 3D instruction set that had been written (and implemented in a simulator) in the 18 months prior to contacting NLnet. During the implementation it became clear that a lot more work is needed, and, further, that to meet proper transparency criteria, the proposed instruction set enhancements would need to be properly written up. In addition, negotiations and communications with the Standards Body responsible for POWER ISA (the OpenPower Foundation) also needed to be taken into consideration. The goal of this project is to deliver on those requirements, and achieve full transparency and understanding of the Libre-SoC.

>> Read more about Libre-SOC Formal Standards Development

Libre-SOC Video Acceleration — Optimised video acceleration instructions for Libre RISC-V SoC

The Libre-SoC Project, has been funded by NLnet to get to FPGA-proven status. This was for the "core" (the main processor). One of the next, specialist, phases, is to ensure that its capabilities are useable to perform Video Acceleration. To do so, Video Software such as ffmpeg, gstreamer and their low-level libraries need to actually use the hardware-accelerated capability. A "normal" commercial processor usually has a separate proprietary VPU, along with proprietary software: both unfortunately are vectors for attack against users, undermining trust and privacy. Without access to Video Acceleration, users are left with the stark choice: be compromised, or don't watch any video, period. This project therefore provides a commercial-grade Video Decoder (minimum 720p) and helps restore trust in the software *and* hardware.

>> Read more about Libre-SOC Video Acceleration

MNT Reform — A trustworthy open hardware laptop

MNT Reform is a modular open hardware laptop, the first of its kind - designed and built in Europe. The project has high ambitions in terms of usability and user experience. A mechanical keyboard and an elaborate industrial design provide for professional ergonomics. MNT Reform uses RISC processors like ARM and has no built-in recording technology. It runs a free and open source software stack from the ground up. Third parties can easily contribute to the development of new modules. The modular approach does not only make the laptop more extensible but also improves sustainability, and supports the right to repair.

During the project, the team will develop two open hardware System-on-Modules. The first module is based on NXP LS1028A, and will increase RAM capacity to up to 16GB and make external GPUs usable. The second open hardware SoM uses an FPGA (field programmable gate array) to support the validation of open silicon SoC projects in a real laptop. Modules like this make the development of embedded computers easier for open hardware engineers by pre-solving risky and expensive challenges. Finally, we will develop an optional camera module for MNT Reform as part of the project, which will allow the laptop to be used for remote learning and video conferencing.

>> Read more about MNT Reform

MEGA65 Phone — A phone simple enough to understand in full

Much of the insecurity and lack of privacy is the simple result of how complex computers, the internet and all of the protocols and technologies that they include. It seems that the majority of proposals to fix this solution consist of adding something to this complicated mess. While this has helped to reduce the symptoms of the problem, by adding complexity it has actually made the problem worse. There are simply too many places for insecurities and privacy violating software to hide in modern complex systems. Even the hardware itself is not immune, with problems like SPECTRE, MELTDOWN and vulnerabilities in the management processors of modern computers and phones showing that even the processors we use today carry significant risks due to their complexity. This project takes a contrarian approach of seeing just how simple a system can be make, that would still be useful for a core set of functionality. The project takes inspiration from the simple and effective computers of the 1980s: it explores how to retain their simplicity and transparency, and combine them with modern improvements in security and capability. The goal is to allow even a single determined person to completely verify that a device has not been compromised, and that there are no unwanted listening ears when performing privacy sensitive tasks. The project will advance its current proof-of-concept to a functioning hardware and software system that can demonstrate profoundly improved security and privacy, and in a way that allows a determined user to verify that the device is still truly under their exclusive control and serving them alone.

>> Read more about MEGA65 Phone

Mosaic — Trustworthy open hardware design tool for electrical engineers

Today, the chip design industry is deeply proprietary with NDAs at every level, which means it is not possible to share design files at all, which in turn stifles innovation and transparency in chip design. In order to create a chip design industry that can be trusted with our digital lives, and is accessible to educational institutions and small business, it is essential to develop powerful open source tools for chip design, which can be used by anyone and allows unhindered collaboration. Mosaic is a tool that attacks the first design phase of an analog chip, or analog peripherals for a digital one: design and simulation of the schematic. It will also interact with other phases of the design as needed. Unlike existing open source solutions it will be catered towards chip design, based on modern technologies, and extensive UX design.

>> Read more about Mosaic

Nitrokey — Open hardware for encryption and authentication

Nitrokey is an open source hardware USB key for data encryption and two-factor authentication with FIDO. While FIDO is supported by web browsers, using Nitrokey as a secure key store for email and (arbitrary) data encryption requires a native software. Therefore email encryption in webmail isn’t possible with Nitrokey. At the same time strong end-to-end encryption in web applications all share the same challenge: To store users' private keys securely and conveniently. Therefore secure end-to-end encryption usually requires native software too (e.g. instant messenger app) or - less secure - store the user keys password-encrypted on servers. Nitrokey aims to solve these issues by developing a way to use Nitrokey with web applications. To avoid the necessity of device driver, browser add-on or separate software this project is going to utilize the FIDO (CTAP) protocol. As a result the solution will work with any modern browser (which all support WebAuthn), on any operating system even on Android. This will give any web application the option to store private keys on ones own Nitrokey devices.

>> Read more about Nitrokey

Trussed — Open hardware for encryption and authentication

The project summary for this project is not yet available. Please come back soon!

>> Read more about Trussed

Open Know-How Search — Search Open Hardware Projects

Open Know-How Search is a project to create a search engine for the open source hardware designs. We are building a modern, clean and accessible search experience for makers. Our index will span the entire internet and all existing ways to share designs. Users and platforms will be able to make use of the Open Know-How meta-data standard to help get their projects into the index and surface those that are in advanced stages of development and worth looking at and attempting to re-build. The front page and top results in the search will be a useful resource to someone looking for a new open source hardware project to build and contribute to.

>> Read more about Open Know-How Search

OpenCryptoHW — CGRA- based reconfigurable open-source cryptographic IP cores

OpenCryptoHW aims to develop reconfigurable open-source cryptographic hardware IP cores for Next Generation Internet. With the Internet of Things (IoT) upon us, security and privacy are more important than ever. On the one hand, if the security and privacy features are exclusively implemented in software, the risk of breaches is high. On the other hand, if implemented solely in hardware, it is impossible to fix bugs or deploy critical updates, which is also a threat to security and privacy. Hence, we propose to use reconfigurable hardware, providing the flexibility of software and the trustworthiness of hardware. Hacking into it requires first hacking the device’s configuration infrastructure and then hacking the algorithm itself, which is way more complicated. There have been proposals to implement cryptographic IP cores using Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGAs). However, the FPGA configuration infrastructure is cumbersome and proprietary, increasing device cost and compromising safety. Therefore, we propose to use open-source Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Arrays (CGRAs) instead of FPGAs. CGRAs have much lighter configuration circuits and are not controlled by any private entity. With OpenCryptoHW, hardware and system designers will be able to download CGRA-based cryptography IP cores for free and under a permissive license, ready to integrate into their silicon designs.

>> Read more about OpenCryptoHW

OpenCryptoLinux — Make Linux run on OpenCryptoHW

OpenCryptoLinux aims to develop an open, secure, and user-friendly SoC template capable of running the Linux operating system, with cryptography functions running on a RISC-V processor. The processor will control a low-cost Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Arrays (CGRAS) for enhanced security, performance, and energy efficiency. Running Linux on this SoC allows non-hardware experts to use this platform, democratizing it. This project will help build an Internet of Things (IoT) that does not compromise security and privacy. The project will be fully open-source, which guarantees public scrutiny and quality. It will use other open-source solutions funded by the NLnet Foundation, such as the RISC-V processors from SpinalHDL and the OpenCryptoHW project.

>> Read more about OpenCryptoLinux

DRTM implementation for AMD processors — Unified framework for dynamic RTM

The Trenchboot project aims to create a unified framework for dynamic RTM (DRTM) implementation for all platforms. (D)RTM is used to verify if bugs or vulnerabilities have compromised a system, and as such is an important component to get to advanced stages of trustworthiness for our hardware.

>> Read more about DRTM implementation for AMD processors

OpenQRNG — Open source, certified Quantum Random Number Generator

Cryptography is key to protecting our modern secrets, and random numbers form the basis of the technical assurances given by that approach. However, true randomness is hard to achieve. Quantum number generators lever unpredictable physical phenomena to deliver quality randomness, and as such can be of great utility. However, currently there are only proprietary QRNG sources with a significant price tag - which means that the technology is not widely in use and that those people that do have the means have to essentially trust the vendor in question. The project will develop an open hardware QRNG device, which can be inspected from top to bottom - and made available at low cost.

>> Read more about OpenQRNG

Securing PLCs via embedded protocol adapters — Open hardware protocol adapters for industrial automation

Industrial Programmable Logic Controllers have been controlling the heart of any production machinery since the mid-70s. However have these devices never been built for the usage in completely unprotected environments such as the Internet. Currently most PLCs out in the wild have absolutely no means to protect them from malicious manipulation (Most don't even have an effective password protection). Unfortunately "Industry 4.0" is all about connecting these devices to the Cloud and hereby attaching them to potentially unsecure networks. In the "Securing PLCs via embedded Open-Source protocol adapters" initiative we are planning on porting the Apache PLC4X drivers to languages that can also be used in embedded hardware. Additionally we also want to create secure protocol-adapters using these new drivers together with Apache MyNewt, to create protocol-adapters that could eventually even be located inside the network connectors which are plugged into the PLC in an attempt to reduce the length of the unsecured network to an absolute minimum without actually modifying the PLC itself.

>> Read more about Securing PLCs via embedded protocol adapters

RISC-V Phone — Open hardware RISC-V Phone

The goal of the "RISC-V Phone" project is to develop a simple, fully featured and privacy enhanced mobile phone. It is built using off-the-shelf inexpensive components which are easy to assemble even in a home lab. The software for it is small, simple and easy to audit. Basic phone functionality is running on a secure RISC-V microcontroller (FE310 from SiFive) which controls all peripherals: microphone, speaker, display/touch controller, camera. The phone will be using esp32 for WiFi and Bluetooth, along with industry standard mPCIe modem for cellular communication. Graphics/touch panel controller FT813 enables advanced user experience. The phone will provide VOIP/messaging application using packet data protocol similar to CurveCP which features end-to-end encryption and onion routing. There is also a socket for optional ARM SoM which shares display/touch panel with the main board.

>> Read more about RISC-V Phone

SpinalHDL, VexRiscv, SaxonSoc — Open Hardware System-on-Chip design framework based on SpinalHDL

The goal of SaxonSoc is to design a fully open source SoC, based on RISC-V, capable of running linux and optimized for FPGA to allow its efficient deployment on cheap and already purchasable chips and development boards. This would provide a very accessible platform for individuals and industrials to use directly or to extend with their own specific hardware/software requirements, while providing an answer to hardware trust.

Its hardware technology stack is based on 3 projects. SpinalHDL (which provides an advanced hardware description language), VexRiscv (providing the CPU design) and SaxonSoC (providing the facilities to assemble the SoC).

In this project, we will extend SpinalHDL, VexRiscv and SaxonSoc with USB, I2S audio, AES and Floating point hardware capabilities to extend the SoC applications to new horizons while keeping the hardware and software stack open.

>> Read more about SpinalHDL, VexRiscv, SaxonSoc

Simmel — A wearable contact tracing beacon/scanner

Simmel is a platform that enables COVID-19 contact tracing while preserving user privacy. It is a wearable hardware beacon and scanner which can broadcast and record randomized user IDs. Contacts are stored within the wearable device, so you retain full control of your trace history until you choose to share it.

The Simmel design is open source, so you are empowered to audit the code. Furthermore, once the pandemic is over, you are able to recycle, re-use, or securely destroy the device, thanks to the availability of hardware and firmware design source.

The contact tracing algorithm is programmed using CircuitPython, to facilitate ease of code audit and community participation. The Simmel project does not endorse a specific contact tracing platform, but it is inherently not compatible with contact tracing proposals that rely on the constant upload of data to the cloud.

>> Read more about Simmel

Timing-Driven Place-and-Route (TDPR)  — Open hardware tool to synthesize digital silicon circuits

The lack of an open-source timing-driven place-and-route tool is one of the major barriers to creating technically fully transparent digital integrated circuits such as microprocessors. The most popular open-source place-and-route tools available today are not timing-driven, hence the generated layouts are generally not guaranteed to satisfy the timing constraints. This requires tedious and time-consuming manual interventions. This project will combine published algorithms with existing open-source projects to fill this gap. The tool will be released with the free/libre AGPLv3 licence together with extensive documentation and tutorials.

>> Read more about Timing-Driven Place-and-Route (TDPR) 

TerosHDL — Assisting hardware developers to deliver safer designs

TerosHDL is an open source IDE for FPGA/ASIC development. It includes a backend, a front-end built on VSCodium/VSCode and a command line interface. The goal of TerosHDL is make the ASIC/FPGA development easier and reliable: to reduce the adaptation time for new users of HW languages and help professionals.

TerosHDL is multi-platform (Linux, Windows, MacOS), multi language (VHDL, Verilog, SystemVerilog) and it takes advantages of a lot of open hardware projects (such as Edalize, WaveDrom, VUnit…), integrating them in a common graphical user interface. The IDE tries to be as much self-contained as possible and simplify the installation process.

Some of the features are: linter, go to definition, syntax highlighting, code formatting, snippets, automatic documentation, dependencies viewer, simulators support...

>> Read more about TerosHDL

ULX4M — A modular open hardware FPGA platform

Embedded systems are everywhere, including in trusted environments. But what is really inside them? ULX3M is a modular version of the popular open hardware project ULX3S. ULX3M delivers a versatile programmable (FPGA) modular mainboard that can be used a wide choice of peripherals. The main board is "vendor neutral" and can be used with different FPGA vendors daughter boards. As the community continues to grow, lots of FPGA modules are written, and one goal of our boards would be that we can easily switch and check other vendor chips, and work more on vendor neutral code where possible. The project also improves SERDES availability. Some cheaper FPGA chips do not have lots of SERDES lines and when someone makes a board it needs to choose what peripheral will be using those SERDES lines. A daughter board that can be rotated in any position will allow more flexible usage. In that way, cheaper FPGA could be used to write all the code. With an open source design, users are not dependent on anyone to make boards and can run independent production.

>> Read more about ULX4M

LIP6 VLSI Tools — Logical validation of ASIC layouts

The software we run critically depends on the trustworthiness of the chips we use. LIP6's VLSI tools are one of the few user-operated toolchains for creating ASIC layouts where the full source code is available for inspection by anyone. This provides a significant contrast to commodity chips from vendors like Intel and AMD, where anything beyond coarse technical detail is shielded away by NDA's. This project will improve Coriolis2, HITAS/YAGLE and extend the whole toolchain so that it can perform Logical Validation. It will also upgrade the code to make it faster, able to handle larger ASIC designs, and add support for lower geometries (starting with 130nm) which are more energy-friendly.

>> Read more about LIP6 VLSI Tools

video box — Affordable open hardware video-to-network

The goal of the FOSDEM video box project is to develop a cheap, compact, open hardware & free software video-to-network solution. Initial motivation came from scratching our own itch: replacing 60 bulky, costly, not entirely free boxes currently used at the conference. Several other conferences have already used the current setup successfully. We expect this number to grow in the future. The solution being free software and open hardware should make it flexible to adapt to different environments, like education. Being cheap and compact encourages experimental use in areas difficult to foresee. On the hardware side, we use the open hardware Olimex Lime2 board (EU built!) as a base. We plan an open hardware hdmi input daughterboard, iterating on a simplified prototype that helped us verify feasibility. On the software side, the core Allwinner A20 chip has attracted a lot of free and open source development already. That enables us to focus our efforts on optimising video encoding on this platform from a hdmi signal to a compact network stream.

>> Read more about video box

Wishbone Streaming — Add Streaming capabilities to Wishbone

On System-on-Chips (SoC) the commercial grade bus infrastructure is covered by patents and at best available "royalty-free" (but with no ability to change). A serious alternative with significant adoption is the Wishbone SoC Bus, which is an Open Standard but does not yet have a "streaming" capability. That capability is needed for high-throughput data paths and interfaces. This project will provide an enhancement to the current Wishbone SoC Bus specification, provide Reference Implementations and Bus Function Models (BFM) to easily allows unit tests for all Wishbone BFM users. For demonstration purposes the project will implement an example peripheral to prove the overall concept.

>> Read more about Wishbone Streaming

ZSipOs — Open hardware for telephony encryption

ZSIPOs is a fully open source based encryption solution for internet telephony. It takes the shape of a little dedicated gadget you connect with a desktop phone. At its core the device does not have a normal chip capable of running regular software (including malware) but a so called FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). This means the device cannot be remotely updated (secure by design): the functionality is locked down into the chip, and the system is technically incapable of executing anything else. This means no risk of remote takeover by an attacker like with a normal computer or mobile phone connected to a network like the internet. The whole system is open hardware, and the full design is available for introspection. Normal users and security specialists get transparent access to the whole system and can easily check, what functionality is realized by the FPGA. This means anyone can verify the absence of both backdoors and bugs. ZSIPOs is designed to be fully compatible with the standard internet telephony system (SIP) which is the one used with traditional telephony numbers. The handling is done in principal by a regular internet phone (Dial, Confirm once – done). The cryptographic system is based on the standard RFC 6189 - ZRTP (with “Z” like Phil Zimmermann, the father of PGP), meaning it can also be used when using internet telephony on a laptop or mobile phone - of course without the additional guarantee of hardware isolation. There is no need to trust in an external service provider to establish the absolute privacy of speech communication. The exchange and verification of a secure key between the parties ensures end-to-end encryption, meaning that no third party can listen into the call. To that extent the device has a display to exchange security codes. The same approach can also also used for secure VPN Bridgeheads, secure storage devices and secure IoT applications and platforms. The ZSipOS approach is an appropriate answer on today security risks: it is completely decentralized, and has no dependency on central instances. It has a fully transparent design from encryption hardware to software. And it is easy to use with hundreds of millions of existing phones.

>> Read more about ZSipOs

betrusted — A protected hardware device for your private matters.

Betrusted aims to be a secure communications device that is suitable for everyday use by non-technical users of diverse backgrounds. We believe users shouldn’t have to be experts in supply chain or cryptography to gain access to our ultimate goal: privacy and security one can count on. Today’s “private key only” secure enclave chips are vulnerable to I/O manipulation. This means there is no essential correlation between what a user is told, and what is actually going on. Betrusted will build a full technology stack, including silicon, device, OS, and UX that is open for inspection and verification. Betrusted is a simple, secure, and strong device that aims to advance Internet freedom.

>> Read more about betrusted

lpnTPM — TPM 2.0 compliant open hardware Trusted Platform Module

lpnTPM is Open Source Software (OSS), and Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Trusted Platform Module (TPM, also known as ISO/IEC 11889) is an international standard for a secure cryptoprocessor, a dedicated microcontroller designed to secure hardware through integrated cryptographic keys. What makes lpnTPM different from generally available solutions is openness. Software and hardware of lpnTPM can, without limits, be audited, fixed, and customized by communities and businesses. Open design address the lack of trustworthiness of proprietary closed source TPM products, which currently dominate the whole market. lpnTPM in production mode protects software by secure boot technology, and only the lpnTPM owner will update it. TPM modules enable measured boot and support verified boot, Dynamic Root of Trust for Measurement, and other security features. Another benefit of lpnTPM would be physical design, which solves the lack of standardization around pinout and connector. The ultimate goal of lpnTPM is to provide a trustworthy platform for future open evolution of Trusted Platform Module software and its application to various computing devices, resulting in better adoption of platform security.

>> Read more about lpnTPM

pcb-rnd — Modular printed circuit board editor

Pcb-rnd is a modular printed circuit board editor that is designed with the UNIX mind set. It has a convenient GUI for editing the graphical data of the board but is also has a handy command line interface. Both the GUI and the CLI aspects are scriptable (in more than 10 scripting languages) and pcb-rnd can also process boards as a headless converter tool. It has support for various proprietary schematics/netlist and board formats which makes it also a good choice for converting free hardware designs coming in proprietary formats to free file formats. Among the upcoming challenges are a full rewrite of the Design Rule Checker, more file format support and making the menu system even more dynamic to match the modular nature of pcb-rnd better.

>> Read more about pcb-rnd