Bunny Huang’s Precursor could be the world’s most secure smartphone which lets user implement every hardware component
Bunny Huang is a seasoned hardware developer who gave us the Novena open laptop, the NeTV2 open video development board, and Chumby, Now he has embarked on a rather arduous journey of creating the most secure smartphone in the world that will make it easy for the user to verify its each and every component. With that objective in mind, Huang will be launching a collective financing campaign for the creation of Precursor.
The Precursor is Huang’s idea of an open-source electronic platform designed for the development of highly secure mobile communications at an affordable cost to any mobile phone user. Precursor can be used for almost anything from making it into an ultra-secure smartphone to an Internet of Things device to control complex robotics. It is basically a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) device that can be programmed to operate as a low-power processor. However, what makes Precursor unique is that it gives the user full control over both software and hardware components.
Precursor includes a 32-bit RISC-V soft-core processor running at 100MHz 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. Huang says that the secondary FGPA gives the user the option to change battery size according to their needs and easily reconfigure power management based on the processor running on the main FPGA. Even the keyboard can be hacked into and modified according to the user’s preference with the IC2 interface that is connected to the built-in keyboard and has its own PCB.
Precursor supports additional security measures for network connectivity that is hosted on a Silicon Labs WF200 chip with a sandbox. The sandboxing allows users to run any software without fear of getting infected with malware.
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.
Precursor looks similar to Huang’s earlier smartphone model called Betrusted. However, Betrusted is still said to be in development while Huang says that Precursor will be readymade device for users to start working on their own software stack designs.
If you are interested in Huang’s new Precursor project, you should visit his website here. The crowdfunding for Precursor will be starting soon.