The state of open source hardware is strong. In the eleven years since the first Open Hardware Summit we have seen open hardware grow, with new communities creating new hardware for new uses around the world. Hundreds of pieces of open source hardware have been certified as compliant with the Open Hardware Definition from countries on every continent except Antarctica.
A wide range of companies have been built and grown on the foundation of open source hardware. Dozens of Ada Lovelace Fellows have helped to diversify the open hardware community. Nonprofit organizations in academia, conservation, science, medical, and more have helped to broaden the impact of open hardware in innumerable ways.
The results of the community survey makes it clear that people come to open hardware for a range of reasons and use open hardware to address a range of needs. However they start with open hardware, once they start using it they are hooked. Community members study designs, adapt them, and build upon existing designs in order to achieve their goals. Open hardware is used in teaching, the development of commercial products, and everything in between. What are you waiting for? Click over, check it out, and let us know what you think. While the state of open source hardware is strong in 2021, we think it may get even stronger in the future.
Today we are excited to announce that the open hardware journal HardwareX is integrating OSHWA certifications into their paper submission process.
HardwareX is an open access journal that focuses on free and open source designing, building, and customizing of scientific hardware. It has long used the Open Source Hardware Definition as a requirement for submissions. Now HardwareX is also integrating the OSHWA hardware certification program into the paper submission process.
First, HardwareX has updated its guide for authors to encourage (although not require) authors to certify their hardware for open source compliance before, during, or after submitting to HardwareX. This is a win for authors and for HardwareX. Authors can use the certification process to make sure that their hardware meets the Open Source Hardware Definition. Certification is often an iterative process where OSHWA helps creators meet all of the Definition’s requirements. HardwareX can rely on the OSHWA certification to confirm that hardware complies with the Definition, freeing up resources to review the papers themselves.
Second, OSHWA and HardwareX are standardizing ways to connect HardwareX articles to the Certification Directory. HardwareX will include OSHWA certification UIDs in their specification tables for articles that include certified hardware. Creators can update their certification directory listing with the “#HX” tag in the project description, and add a link to the HardwareX manuscript.
While supplies last, sign up as a new OSHWA member at the General Membership level or higher and get a 2021 goodie bag! We have 15 partial bags left over from the summit that contain about 90% of the items. You must have an address in the U.S. for shipping and customs. See our membership level options and enter your shipping address at checkout.
The Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program has released a new policy brief advocating for government policy support of open source hardware in science. The brief looks at recent developments in government policy surrounding open hardware, highlights the unique ability of open hardware to accelerate innovation and reduce costs, and addresses implementation challenges. Download the policy brief, and read the complimentary series of articles hosted by the Journal of Open Hardware.
OSHWA recently sent a response to the 5G Challenge Notice of Inquiry published by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the US. The Notice of Inquiry focuses on the development of an open-source software stack for 5G wireless communication. In our response we highlighted the role that Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) can play in the path from the radio receiver to the 5G software stack and conversely from the software stack to the radio transmitter. FPGAs can cope with very high data rates, for which pure software solutions can be suboptimal.
It is therefore important that FPGA designs are made part of the challenge, and also that these designs be open-source for the same reasons that it makes sense to open-source the software stack. FPGA design is typically done using Hardware Description Languages (HDLs). HDL code is fed to synthesis, place & route and bitstream generation tools. The bitstream file then configures the FPGA, so its logic gates and flip-flops implement the circuit specified in the design. HDL code is sometimes called “gateware” (a reference to the logic gates it targets) to distinguish it from software.
If researchers and developers are going to collaborate on common open-source gateware and software, they would ideally do so using an open hardware platform. This would democratize access, enlarging the talent pool which can contribute to the effort. It would also protect the development against vendor lock-in and save time and effort on porting to different imperfectly-compatible platforms.
Finally, this could be an opportunity to improve the Free and Open Source Software tools for gateware design. There are thriving communities of open-source software-defined radio and FPGA tool developers, and we believe including them in this challenge and having hardware and gateware in the picture will result in a better 5G for everyone.
The Wilson Center and NYU’s Engelberg Center have released a new report entitled Stitching Together a Solution: Lessons from the Open Source Hardware Response to COVID-19. The report examines how the open source hardware community came together to produce lifesaving medical equipment at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the role of government authorities in that process. It finds that although some parts of the government tried to facilitate the community, in most cases there was a mismatch between what the government expected and what the OSHW community was doing. Nevertheless, the OSHW community significantly augmented the availability of medical supplies through their grassroots response. The report also provides lessons learned and recommendations to help the community and government agencies better respond to future crises together.
UPDATE: The deadline has been extended one week to 02-18.
As we get approach the 2021 Open Hardware Summit on April 9th, we are now soliciting talk proposals from interested speakers. This year’s summit is virtual and will be held online on Friday 2021-04-09, 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM EDT.
The Open Hardware Summit is for presenting, discussing, and learning about open hardware of all kinds. The summit examines open hardware applications, practices, and theory, ranging from environmental sensors to 3D printable medical devices to open hardware processors and beyond. We are interested in open hardware on its own as well as in relation to topics such as software, design, business, law, and education. Past talks have featured topics such as advances in space propulsion, humanitarian projects, right to repair legislation, open hardware in education, and open hardware marketing.
For our eleventh edition we are especially looking for speakers who can offer insights around the role of open hardware in the COVID-19 pandemic, open hardware medical devices, and related topics.
We invite talk proposals from individuals and groups. Find all the details over at the summit site. Submissions are due by Thursday 2021-02-11 at 11 PM EDT.
The 2021 Open Hardware summit will be held online again, Friday April 9, 2021. Just like this year, the summit will be livestreamed, but ticket holders will have access to additional interactive portions of the summit like meet-and-greets, workshops, and sponsor booths.
Some preliminary results from the European Commission’s study on the impact of Open Source Software and Hardware are now available. This study is examining the impact of open source on Europe’s economy, and will influence future policy decisions. You can find an overview here, or click here for the full report.
Welcome to the following 2020-2022 board members! Congrats to Michael Weinberg, Oluwatobi Oyinlola, Javier Serrano, Drew Fustini, and Shah Selbe. Thank you to all OSHWA members who voted, your vote is important – we had quorum! Here are the results:
How do we run our elections?
All OSHWA board candidates have to self-nominate to be eligible for election. Self-nomination demonstrates that the candidate has a personal commitment to serving on the OSHWA board. The candidates outline their motivation and qualifications so voters can make informed decisions.
OSHWA board members are elected for two year terms. Terms are staggered so that only a portion of the OSHWA board terms expire in any given year in order to maintain continuity within the board. Elections are held each year for the portion of the board seats that are open in that year. This year, that was five board seats.
We announce the start of the board nomination process on the front of the OSHWA website and on the OSHWA twitter account (@ohsummit). These platforms reach beyond just existing OSHWA members to the broader OSHW community.
In addition to the general announcement, we directly reach out to potential candidates with diverse backgrounds, suggesting they nominate themselves.
Once the nominations are closed, OSHWA members vote to elect new board members. Voting is limited to OSHWA members as per the rules that govern OSHWA’s non-profit incorporation. We use online voting for board elections. Our bylaws require that at least 10% of our membership vote in order to have quorum to validate the election.
Thank you again to all of the nominees, OSHWA members, and the larger open source hardware community for its support and engagement with this year’s board nominations and elections!