Cat that kicks an exclamation mark.
Hardware of a Free Design
Transparent. No Tricks. No Compromises.


Help Zerocat Mini Machine to apply for a larger, public grant!


Progress Bar: Goal EUR 5,000.00

When it comes to send data from A to B, we have lost: All Control¹

1) Transmission channels are supervised by businesses and authorities.
2) Software is too complex to get studied und understood in detail.
3) Devices are made of chips that we cannot inspect and edit.

Zerocat’s Mini Machine will make a difference.
It is User Controlled Technology.
Let’s strive to be inclusive.

See Donate for bank account information.

Period:       June, July and August 2023
Goal:         EUR 5,000.00
Collected:    EUR 2,419.00
Donators:     10
Percentage:   48.38

Todo:   Collect ad-hoc money now, refine drafted idea,
        set up well elaborated roadmap, submit proposal
        to NLnet Foundation on 1st of August 2023, await
        reply until September.

See Team for mail address and OpenPGP keys.

¹ Music by Professor Kliq, Album Curriculum Vitae, All Control (Original Version), License: CC BY-SA 3.0, retrieved from as of July 2023.


Change Log


End of Fundraising: Thanks to all that helped!

Dear Folks,

it took me quite a while to overcome the failure of this campaign. I have to admit that I was not prepared to receive that early end of funding. For now, I cannot continue development.

I appreciate your support and would like to sum up key facts and achievements:

I still would like to make this machine come true and will seek for different sources of funding, or for very private development.

To all people that helped, let me express my gratefulness!

If you consider to help with a supportive message, a donation, a place to work, you are still very welcome. However, for now, my resources are finished and I need to recover. — Kai Mertens


NLnet Foundation Replies: Project is not awarded

“The idea is very cool, but it is also very niche and we don't see it to be able to gain enough traction to warrant such a grant.” --- Michiel Leenaars


Proposal Submitted: Zerocat Mini Machine, First Block of Development

Proposal “Zerocat Mini Machine, First Block of Development” successfully submitted to NGI Zero Entrust at 11h41m CEST. The job always extends to the time available.


Roadmap Refined: Budget Estimated

The overall project budget has been trimmed to stay just below EUR 50,000.- by focusing on prototyping, strictly. However, the manufacturing of devices for the webshop, made of glazed pottery, is suggested as a next step, upon success of the prototyping project.

See Roadmap for details.


Website Improved: Refined Layouts for Wide Viewports

The project’s web content comes with refined layout, trimmed for a variety of viewports, up to 2000px in width. Readability is improved, appearance is more appealing.


Visualized: Chassis 3D CAD, Transmission Paths, Roadmap

Hey folks, I am starving, but I do believe into the beauty and into the strength of this project. The documentation ships new content, which should help to visualize the idea. Please endorse me! I am now heading to clarify some more details, to finalize the roadmap, and to submit the proposal to NGI0. — Kai Mertens


Newsletter: First fundraising newsletter is out!

Want to stay tuned? Please provide your email contact and send a notice to: — You will receive Zerocat’s newsletter something like once a week. You feel bothered? I apologize. Please send a small notice again to opt out. — Kai Mertens


Donate Page: Zerocat’s Bank Account Status now visualized

You might wonder whether your donation is indeed required? See Donate to get a picture of Zerocat’s current bank account status, which is refreshed with every website build. Don’t be shy, every coin is indeed appreciated!


PDF Handout available: Please spread the project!


First set of handouts

The funding level is much too low, the project deserves more attention and support. Please print the Project Brief on paper, distribute the handout amoung friends, neighbours and collegues.


Zerocat at Open Culture Office, Berlin: Introducing Zerocat Machines


Kai Mertens (right), introducing Zerocat Machines to Timm Wille from OSE-Germany e.V.

In spring 2023, OSE-Germany e.V. decides to upgrade its stock of free-software devices and orders a hardened Zerocat X230 Tablet/Laptop. The handover of the laptop to Timm Wille takes place at the office of the Open Culture Agency, and goes along fundraising for Zerocat Mini Machine, the next generation of hardened laptops.


Zerocat Mini Machine: Approaching experimental Clay Chassis

How to make the chassis look nice, be authentically unique per default, be reproducable with simple means, and be resistant to liquids and dust? Let’s figure out if clay and colored glaze could be an approach!


Approaching an experimental chassis made from clay.

Due to the manufacturing process, which requires to gain exact knowledge about clay’s shrinking during various phases of drying, this will take some time...


New Project: Zerocat Mini Machine

After years of gathering expertise in the fields of firmware replacement, let’s now dare the essential step: Create a mini laptop of supreme integrity, entirely based on free licenses and design files, even down to chip level.


Zerocat Mini Machine – suggested use on a Café’s table

The beauty of this machine is not only formed by its attracting, foldable chassis and transparent keyboard, but by the fact that it is a stand-alone device in concept, shipping its own private data transmission channel: Encrypted Morse Code

Enjoy the sources! The first, wooden prototype should be documented well enough to see what it is all about: Zerocat Mini Machine

Fund the project! The ad-hoc goal is to collect 5,000.00 EUR in June and July 2023, and to apply for public funding in August. See Donate for bank account information. See Team for mail address and OpenPGP keys. – Kai Mertens