The folks behind the Novena open laptop are getting awfully close to their crowd-funding goal of $250,000 and with nearly two weeks to go in the project, it looks pretty likely that at least a few dozen of the devices will be manufactured and shipped in the coming year.

If the team surpasses that goal, not only will we see a portable computer with open source software, but we could also see the release of open source 3D graphics drivers for the Freescale i.MX6 chip, breakout boards, and other accessories.

But eve if that doesn’t happen, Novena co-founder Bunnie Huang points out that the laptop itself is designed to be hackable, in a variety of ways.

Novena Keyboard

Not only is the system board exposed, the hardware designs posted online, and the choice of keyboard left up to the user — but the aluminum LCD bezel is easy to cut, drilled, tapped, or bent.

So Huang decided to 3D print some clips, attach them to the bezel, and create a custom system for storing the Lenovo wireless keyboard he likes to use with his Novena laptop. This makes it easier to carry the computer and keyboard… and also allows the keyboard to act as a screen cover, protecting the display from damage.

If you decide to use a different wireless keyboard, you can design your own keyboard storage solution to match your needs… or you can modify the bezel in other ways to attach, I don’t know, a camera, automatic light sensor, flashlight, or whatever.

I’d still rather see open source graphics drivers than a hackable screen bezel, but it’s interesting to see some of the things you can do with a laptop that’s designed to be modified, unlike many of the systems that are sold today which aren’t even designed to have removable batteries.


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