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August 10, 2010

Liquidware Launches First Open Source Software IT Scientific Calculator

Boston-based Open Source (News - Alert) IT Hardware provider Liquidware has launched the first 100 Percent Open Source Hardware and Open Source Software Scientific Calculator – the Open SciCal X101.

Based on Linux, Arduino, and the BeagleBoard design specifications, the calculator offers modularity and customization, the company said.

Handheld calculators are gradually becoming a thing of the past. A number of applications supported by phones, Android (News - Alert), and Blackberry platforms are substituting standard graphing calculators.

"In the last 15 years, the rate of innovation in handheld calculating devices has slowed dramatically. In the 1990s, new calculator models were launched on average once every 14-18 months. These rates represented a so-called Moore's Law for Calculators. Each successive generation had larger RAM (News - Alert), ROM, more functionality, and a more extensive programming language set," said Justin Huynh, Liquidware's director of product development.

"On the desktop, we see increasingly powerful applications, while on the handheld, we see features growing to replicate calculator functionality. The devices we once knew as calculators are becoming obsolete. Calculators as we know them must deliver value and experience that cannot be achieved on the desktop or handheld, or they will disappear."

Liquidware's scientific calculator platform is built from the ground up on open designs, and open source software. It encourages its users to write in native, familiar programming languages such as C, Perl, Scientific Python, or R. (R is an advanced statistical programming language popularized in fields of research including biology, mathematics, advanced physics, neuroscience, and economics.)

Much more than a scientific calculator, the Liquidware Open SciCal X101 can be converted into a field data logger or scientific sensor data collection unit for biopharma, scientific, or defense research.

"It was our goal to build the perfect post-convergence calculator. One that's earned its place alongside desktop spreadsheet programs, and cell phone OS calculator ROM clones. With the community's help, we present the first truly … open hardware-based scientific calculator that natively supports data logging with over a dozen sensors out of the box."

The Liquidware Open SciCal X101 is available as a kit from www.liquidware.com, or fully assembled by any number of resellers and distributors.

In a related article, TMCnet reported that Liquidware recently announced three new modules for Beagleboard embedded Linux and Android OS platform, designed to assist rapid prototyping Opensource hardware gadgets.


Divya Narain is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Divya’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Ed Silverstein
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