Developer Bunnie Huang launched a collective financing campaign for the creation of Precursor, an open source electronic platform designed for the development of highly secure mobile communications at an affordable cost to any mobile phone user.
Precursor’s main innovation is that it functions as a Raspberry Pi device that can be turned into almost anything from an Internet of Things (IoT) project to complex robotics developments, not forgetting its application in mobile technology thanks to the hardware components included.
Precursor includes a 32-bit RISC-V soft-core processor running at 100MHz instantiated on its main FPGA, although it can also be reprogrammed with any soft-core processor from Xilinx MicroBlaze itself to the retro CPU emulator range.
It will also include a secondary FGPA designed as a secondary integrated controller to handle tasks such as power management. According to the developer, this secondary controller allows users to exchange battery sizes and easily reconfigure power management based on the processor running on the main FPGA.
Like a Raspberry Pi or any FPGA development board, Precursor provides the ability to include hardware peripherals integrated via GPIO headers, USB ports, HDMI ports, among others: “The battery cavity contains a GPIO, so any developer could deploy a smaller battery in favor of other hardware features,” Huang says.
Moreover, the IC2 interface to which the built-in keyboard connects is hosted on its own PCB so that users can make other modifications.
Mobile security specialists who have already been able to test precursor features agree that the best thing about this device is its focus on user safety. Its hardware features enable support for advanced security measures, such as network connectivity hosted on a Silicon Labs WF200 chip with sandbox, and users can perform any software testing they think is necessary if required.
On its design, experts mention that this is an almost identical replica of Betrusted, the old secure smartphone also developed by Bunnie, which is due to the use of the same software stack. It should be noted that Betrusted development is not yet over, although the expert assures that Precursor is ready for users to start working on their own software stack designs.
Precursor has the potential to become an extremely valuable development for the creator community, as it has hardware designed with the intention of providing users with total privacy, especially in a world where virtually any company is interested in obtaining our information to generate profits.
It is a fact that large technology companies do not pay the required attention to user safety, so tools like Betrusted and Precursor are fundamental to the modern requirements of technology users.