The OWL: a programmable guitar pedal

A team of Hackspace and Music Hackspace members are currently working on a programmable guitar effects pedal called the OWL. OWL stands for Open Ware Laboratory, which refers to the fact that the entire project is open-source in both hardware and software – all code and documents relating to the project will be freely available under the Gnu GPL license.
OWL-V2proto

The OWL is based around an ARM Cortex M4 chip, and can be programmed using a specially developed software framework. The audio processing code takes the form of patches, which are written in C/C++ using a simple API. There is also a project called OwlSim which allows you to run the same patches as VST and Audio Unit plugins. This means that you can test your code in your favourite DAW/host before uploading to the pedal, or just have some fun building plugins with an easy-to-use C/C++ framework. A bunch of patches have already been written and are ready to be tried out.

The team ran a Kickstarter campaign last month to raise funding for a first production run of the pedal and raised more than £33,000 (over 400% funded of the initial £8000 target) in pre-orders. They found it hugely encouraging to see that there are a lot of people out there who are enthused by open-source programmable hardware. Currently the design is being finalised, with production scheduled to start in August.

Parts

For more information, check out the project website at http://hoxtonowl.com/, and if you are interested in getting involved in some capacity (this could be web management, PR, patch development, coding or hardware assembly) they would like to hear from you – send them an email at hoxtonowl@gmail.com.

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