Developing an Open Source UMPC for Higher Education



The Oregon State Wireless Active Learning Device (OSWALD) is a fully open Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) platform designed, maintained, and used by students. Join us while we discuss the design process, software platform, and challenges we've run into while developing an embedded Linux platform for a custom-made handheld.


The OSWALD was designed to inspire students to experiment and explore every aspect of computing on both the software and hardware levels. With fully open hardware schematics, anyone is free to modify the hardware to their liking or even completely reproduce the device. This openness allows for levels of hardware hacking usually not allowed on similar, commercialized devices.

In addition, the software platform developed for the device focuses on flexibility, allowing both students and faculty to design curriculum around the device, develop new applications, or just learn the ropes of developing and deploying software in an embedded Linux environment. Students are encouraged to merge their own work back into the project thereby prolonging the usefulness of class projects or other experiments focused on the device.

Overall, this talk will discuss the architectural design of the OSWALD and the challenges involved in developing and maintaining an embedded Linux platform for the device.

Speaking experience


  • Ben Goska

    Oregon State University


    I am an electrical and computer engineering student from Oregon State University. I am a hardware developer for the OSWALD project.

  • Tim

    Tim Harder

    OSU Open Source Lab


    Tim Harder works as a programmer focusing on embedded systems for the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSL). He is also a Gentoo developer and enjoys hacking on ebuilds and other Gentoo-related tools. In addition, he often experiments with open source hardware and is currently working on implementing a sensor network for a small-scale farm environment.

    In his free time away from computers, so not much time at all, really, Tim dabbles in photography and can usually be found running, biking or hiking on the trails around the Corvallis area. He holds a Masters in Computer Science from Oregon State University.