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For the past 3 weeks I've been working long nights on an open source colorimeter called the ColorHug. This is hardware that measures the colors shown on the screen and creates a color profile. Existing hardware is proprietary and 100% closed, and my hardware has a GPL bootloader, GPL firmware image and GPL hardware schematics and PCBs. It's faster than the proprietary hardware, and more importantly a lot cheaper.

Making hardware does cost money, and I can't give the hardware away for free like I do my other software. I'm aiming to do an initial production run of 50 units, but I'm going to need some advanced orders just to make sure I don't get stuck with a lot of stock and no buyers. I'm offering a 20% discount on each unit, on the assumption the first users will be testing the firmware and reporting problems. If you want to support a cool open source project, I'm asking £48 for each unit, plus postage and packaging. There's a whole website if you want to know more about the project, and there's even an newsletter if you don't need hardware, but want to know how we're getting on.

I would very much appreciate it if people could reshare this post, and help me get to my target of 50 pre-orders. UPDATE - I've now got 100 pre-orders already!


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Resharing this now. I'd totally love to get one but I don't have that money right now. But I'll give you a plug on the next Linux Outlaws.
Pre-ordered and re-shared. Good luck making the pre-orders!
I'm the tech writer of which +Dick Thomas speaks - I'll be in touch about getting the project some magazine coverage.
If anyone does want an interview, send me email. I'd be happy to help. :)
Good luck, worthy enterprise. You ever consider KickStarter for this? Seems like you could easily achieve critical mass for this there.
+Bryan Woodward You need to be a US resident for kickstarter. Other than that, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I've already got 10 pre-orders, so it's already looking very positive.
If it hadn't been for the fact that I'm leaving the UK soon, you'd have definitely had an order from me! Kudos on contributing to open-source hardware!
will you be shipping to the U.S.? im very interested... I have reshared. and commented on the original share from a friend of mine, but i fear you wont see the comment. After reading the 10 most recent posts you have made, I have found an answer to my own question... *(but i would like confirmation, will you support linux?) -that is my determining factor, must be linux friendly. Assuming =yes? *(preferably a deb package? redhat makes me sad... *i see your sad mouse pad... :( sad. :) lol(all in fun)
+Germán Poo-Caamaño No, they won't be ready in time. I'll certainly give a presentation this year at GUADEC/LGM/whatever about creating open source hardware.
With Windows drivers and U.S. shipping, you would have had an instant preorder. Alas, this project still looks quite promising, will keep an eye on it, keep it up!
Kind of interesting. Unfortunately, the people who most need monitor calibration are print designers and print photographers, who need printer calibration as well, or at least need the thing to work with CRTs. Print designers and photographers still use those, a lot, the colors are truer to print.

Also, they all use the Adobe suite on Windows or Mac, not Linux. So...while this is the kind of thing I might suggest to or even take a chance on buying for my girlfriend, the Art Director, it wouldn't do her any good, or any of her employees.

Anyway, not damning your project, might want to think about who might actually need to use it and want to buy it on the next revision.
This looks like a very interesting project!
+Mikee X clever. ;) *i dig the music, I believe the purpose of this is more for print calibration... at least that is my intention, to achieve actual color with out variation from what you see on screen to what you see in print. +Richard Hughes -please correct me if i am mistaken.
A dumb question: I take it this is integrated into software that works to color balance displays connected to Linux system drivers only. That is, this isn't a cheap, fairly accurate colorimeter that could be used with a laptop (running calibration software) to balance an ordinary LCD or plasma television. Am I wrong?
Bunner you can't get this on Kickstarter. Are you going to make a +ColorHug page? Congrats on contributing to the open source hardware revolution!!
+Robert N. Lee I guess only time will tell, but I think there is quite a few people interested enough in photography and using Linux as their primary system. You don't have to be an Art Director to want to calibrate your monitor. Of course, if +Richard Hughes wants to get rich off this, then supporting MacOS and Windows is probably mandatory.
I am not familiar with Linux, otherwise I would be keen. There is a market for this gadget, go for it.
I'm curious. Why can't you build a colour calibration system based on say a printed sheet and a known LED flashlight you get in the mail. Photograph the known colours with a digital camera and get a calibration for that camera -- and then use it as a monitor calibration device?
Out of curiosity, what sensor does this use?
I have no personal use for a colorimeter, but on reading the description of this project I felt a desire to bow respectfully in your direction. Useful, clever, inexpensive, and open-source - I like it.
+Robert N. Lee There's plenty of systems available for Mac and Windows users already. This is for Linux users; a different, smaller but untapped market. And as I understand this is actually usable for those systems too - you can boot the Linux CD you get, calibrate the monitor, then use the calibration file on OSX or Windows.

+Brad Templeton As I understand, exactly that idea is patented, unfortunately. Same thing with using a scanner for the print. And you don't need a specific light source, but only a source that is stable and decently close to natural (so you don't get any odd effects from the paper or inks).

Photograph or scan a color target; calibrate the scanner or camera; take a new shot of the target; print the resulting image; shoot or scan the printed image in the same light; use that and the original image to create a calibration file.
I have a feeling you will get much more than 50 pre-orders.
well i got something to make research on
If my friends need it, I might only be able to give them the source instead. The place we live is currently obstructed and cannot be reached by first world. As for me, I don't think I'll need to use it, but, you have my support.
Very cool, I've always wanted a colorimeter! Thanks for sharing this!

I'm curious though, you mention the hardware and software being GPL, but I couldn't find a link on your website; is the source available somewhere?
Sounds like an awesome project. I love that it's specific to Linux as far as drivers are concerned! If only I had enough cash on hand to buy one, I most certainly would.
Will you make the schematics publicly available on your website?
I would love it if people started caring about Color Management! I hope this will help spread the world.
This is just great +Richard Hughes! I can't order now, but hopefully sometime soon.
Now I'm going to go to a Finnish Linux forum to tell them about this.
Ho humm, the code doesn't look big endian compatible :-(

And in fact ch_client_get_color_select () doesn't look like it'll produce correct results even on little endian platforms, filling just one byte of an enum doesn't seem enough (and on big endian, it'll fill the most significant byte!).

ch_client_get_serial_number () is also strange since it fills just four bytes of a 64-bit value, but clearly it gets the value from device space and that would be little endian so it won't work on big endian.

Anyway ... I want one so I guess I'll just fix it to work on big endian later. Would've been easier to do from the start but I guess you weren't aware :-)
I don't need one personally, but it's awesome that you've created this project. Kudos!
+Alexandre Prokoudine Richard fixed it, but I really don't care, it's a trivial patch after all (and Richard even had to make it compile...) I'll fix the floating point later when I have more time.
Pre-ordered can't wait to improve my screen colors. Thanks for the open-source solution
Nice project. 110% for your hard work. I notice it's Linux only. Any plans for Windows compatibility?
+Daniel Walsh It's not super interesting for me, but the device is designed to be easy to use and hack, so windows drivers should be pretty simple for someone to add.
Do you also ship to other counties beside UK and USA? (I should have scrolled further down as it states on the site it does.)
Presumably the software first guides the operator through undoing whatever weird alterations they’ve made to their monitor settings? ie the old “Brightness is black level, Contrast is brightness” thing?
As a open source enthusiast and a dabbling photographer I thank you for creating this. You can expect a order from me in the near future.
+Richard Hughes, I don't see a response to an earlier question, so I'll also ask: what about orders to the USA?
I can't find my comments on the copy of this that someone shared. Anyways I think this may be helpful to some of my graphic design and photographer friends. Thoughts?
Hi !
I want one of theses colorimeters !
Please, send me a message for further details about delivery.
I agree- a lot of photographers, engineers and other people in graphic arts use Mac OS in the US. Would be interested in next iteration.
+MuF Muphistopheles We can easily add this as a firmware update in the future, and define a command that will return a reading in Lux. The only difficult bit would be defining what ambient is, and what it's useful for :)
I'd gladly pay the full retail price in a heartbeat if you promise to develop a Windows driver in the next couple of months.
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