Who Are We?
Onion… yes, that is our company name. “Apple” was apparently taken so we settled on the next best name. We’re a team of philosophers, artists and engineers who simply love to build things. Our vision is to create the invention platform that will empower the “Internet of Things” generation.
We are a graduate of the Boston Techstars Startup Accelerator Program and have successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter.
The Story Behind Onion Omega
We came up with the idea for Onion Omega when we were attempting to build a connected thermal-printer that’s integrated with Evernote so that we can print physical copies of our notes and todo lists. It took us a little over a week to complete this project using an Arduino and ethernet shield, and we noticed three things that we wished could have been different:
- As web developers, we weren’t terribly productive in C/C++.
- Updating the firmware was a lot of work, especially when we were trying to fix the little bugs after the thermal-printer has been setup.
- It took a lot of hacking to get the Arduino to talk to Evernote. Bare metal devices like the Arduino are not optimized for the Web.
Frustrated with how inconvenient it was to create such a simple project, we were determined to make hardware development easier and more accessible to those with limited hardware experience. After much thought, we decided to create a development platform that has:
- Built-in integration with the cloud.
- Support for multiple, preferably high-level, programming languages.
- Firmware upgrade procedure that’s as easy as git push.
- Multi-tasking, so it can perform multiple tasks simultaneously without needing to switch between firmwares.
We got to work and started doing research on various development platforms on the market. Here were a few things we saw and really liked:
- Linux on the Raspberry Pi – As web developers, we love the huge selection of development tools available on Linux.
- Raspberry Pi’s package management system – It simplifies installing new software packages to just one command.
- Arduino’s shield system – it made it very easy to extend hardware capabilities.
- Spark Core’s built-in WiFi connectivity and very simple to use Web-IDE, cross-compile environment and deployment workflow.
With these great platforms in mind, we set off on the journey to build our very own development platform – The Onion Omega!
We are strong believers of open source and we strive to give back to the open source community. All hardware schematics, board design, and bill of materials will be made available to the community. In addition, the operating system and other system software on the Omega, as well as an API compatible version of the Onion Cloud, will be open sourced. Communications between the Omega and the Onion Cloud use open standards, which will allow you to hack and customize your Omega to your heart’s content.