Improving USB reliability

Open Hardware – Programmable USB Hub

© Lead Image © lightwise,

© Lead Image © lightwise,

Article from Issue 226/2019

The Programmable USB Hub promises to resolve common issues with USB reliability in the short term, making way for future open hardware testing and debugging.

Capable Robot Components (CRC) [1] is a company that is only 18 months old. According to founder Chris Osterwood (Figure 1), the goal of the company is "enabling robotic systems to get to market faster by allowing engineers to focus more on application-specific development, instead of building underlying infrastructure. On sites like and Adafruit Industries, CRC has already gained attention with SenseTemp [2], an open hardware precision temperature sensor. More recently, it has been fundraising for the Programmable USB Hub [3], a multipurpose device designed specifically for improving the reliability of embedded devices, but it also includes a variety of other functions.

Figure 1: Chris Osterwood, CRC founder and CEO.

Osterwood has a decade of experience in robotics companies. "I've designed everything from five-degree of freedom robot manipulators and 3D vision systems to autonomous sewer inspection robots to monocular cameras and autonomous industrial floor scrubbers. I've loved the breadth of electrical and software experience I've had." Much of his experience has involved bug fixing, code contributions, and testing in such projects as CircuitPython, CadQuery, cqparts, and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) development frameworks such as Migen and LiteX. "I've benefited from open source software throughout my professional career," Osterwood says, "and I'm thrilled to be contributing back to the community here at Capable Robot Components."


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