How is Rhombus Tech helping reduce e-waste?

  • Firstly we need a modular cost-conscious and eco-conscious architecture that is simple enough for people to trust. Incredibly, there are no such existing standards so some ground rules have to be set (called Embedded Open Modular Architecture) and the first such standard is EOMA-68.
  • By following the principles of permaculture and re-using or re-purposing existing older technology.
  • By working closely with Software Libre developers we satisfy both ethical and legal (copyright) obligations (many electronics goods bought today are blatantly and knowingly copyright violating).
  • By encouraging and inviting schools, universities and engineers to create Open Hardware designs.
  • By fostering relationships with mass-volume factories (primarily in China) that like the idea of a more stable multi-year production cycle than the current fast-turnover associated with hermetically sealed electronics goods.

So, Rhombus Tech has been established for the following primary purposes:

  • To design and bring to market environmentally-conscious desirable computing appliances that, as modular designs, are continuously upgradeable whilst minimising landfill and, over time, reducing both the cost of manufacturing and the cost to end-users to provide any given computing need.
  • To serve Free Software developers, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, schools and engineers with open access to affordable, modern and importantly GPL-compliant hardware... at mass-volume prices.
  • To show mass-volume manufacturers that there is a more profitable way to make money from the manufacture and sale of electronic goods - a way that happens also to significantly reduce e-waste in the long term.

This initiative has established relations primarily with PRC factories and SoC fabless semiconductor companies that are keen to honour and respect the GPL, and welcome open relations with Software Libre developers.

The product family is designed to be open and accessible at all levels, including for educational purposes, R&D, engineering and mass-volume appliances, yet the designs are modular enough to fit a diverse range of needs. This approach can only be achieved thanks to the maturing of the emergent and exciting ARM embedded CPU market, which has more tightly integrated and much lower power CPUs than any x86 product.

With Rhombus Tech acting as a catalyst and a bridge between Free Software developers on the one hand, factories with low-cost fabrication and design skills but no software expertise on the other, the result is a synergy that benefits all parties. Free Software developers gain the benefits of having access to low-cost mass-produced hardware which is GPL-compliant even before it hits the shelves, China-based factories gain the benefits of having access to the technical programming resources of Free Software developers and are no longer dependent on China-based GPL-violating ODMs, and end-users gain the benefit of reduced cost on flexible products with a longer useful (continuously upgradeable) lifespan.