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.
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.
In 2020 we conducted the third OSHW Community Survey (see 2012 and 2013), which collected 441 responses. All questions were optional, so you may notice response counts do not always add up to 441. In particular, a number of individuals didn’t feel comfortable with the demographic questions. We ask these questions as part of our efforts to promote diversity in the community, but these too were optional and anonymous.
A few highlights from this year’s survey compared to the 2013 survey:
- The portion of people coming to open source hardware from open source software increased from 14.6% to 23.9%
- In 2013, 42.8% of respondents indicated they have worked on or contributed to an open hardware project. This jumped to 85.6% in 2020.
- While 2013 showed a plurality of people using blogs to publish design files, this year’s survey shows public repositories as the most popular option. The increase in people with open source software experience and improvement in repository collaboration offerings may be contributing factors.
- This year’s survey shows a large increase in attendees for the 2020 Open Hardware Summit. This is likely due to 2020 being the first virtual summit. Although it was moved online due to unfortunate circumstances, the virtual platform offered the upside of greatly expanding the audience.
- A small gain in the community’s gender diversity was seen, with those identifying as either female or other making up 18% of respondents, compared to 7% in 2013.
Interested in more granular results for any of these questions? Reach out to us at email@example.com.
How did you first get involved with open source hardware?
Have you ever used open source hardware products?
How do you use open source hardware products?
For the open source hardware products that you use, how important were each of the following criteria in your decision to use and open source hardware product?
For situations in which you’d like to use an open source hardware product but currently use a proprietary one instead, how important are each of the following factors in preventing you from using an open source product?
Have you ever used others’ open source hardware designs to…
Have you ever worked on or contributed to an open source hardware project or design?
What year did you first begin working on or contributing to open-source hardware projects or designs?
On average, how many hours per week do you spend working on or contributing to open-source hardware projects or designs?
Why do you work on or contribute to hardware projects and/or designs?
For hardware projects or designs which you decided to open-source, how important were each of the following criteria in the decision?
Have you ever…?
Tell us more about how you publish and document your open source hardware. Have you…?
What licenses have you used to release hardware files?
Do you use the Open Gear Logo on your hardware?
If you use the Open Gear Logo on your hardware, why do you use it?
Do you know about the OSHWA open source hardware certification program?
Have you ever used the open source hardware certification program?
Why did you use the open source hardware certification program?
Why haven’t you used the open source hardware certification program?
Does any of your income come from open-source hardware?
How much of your income does your work on open-source hardware represent?
In 2019 what was your total personal income resulting from work on open source hardware?
Does your open source hardware related income come from…
Did you attend the Open Hardware Summit in…
Regarding your work with hardware, do you consider yourself a…
Are you a member of a hackerspace/makerspace?
How old are you?
Do you identify as:
Do you consider yourself to be:
What is the highest level of school you have completed or the highest degree you have received?
What’s your primary work status?
The Open Hardware community is made up of many creative individuals coming from diverse backgrounds. Which fields would you consider your areas of experience?
October is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get ready for Open Hardware Month! This year with our theme of Label and Certify we’re putting the spotlight on two ways to help the world know your hardware is Open Source: Open Hardware Facts and the OSHWA Certification.
Open Hardware Facts
Inspired by our Executive Director Alicia Gibb, and created by board member Jeffrey Yoo Warren, the Open Hardware Facts Generator helps you declare the licenses used in your project using a format similar to the US Nutrition Facts Label. Listing your licenses in one prominent place (such as the README of your repository) helps users immediately know what they can and can’t do with your source, rather than having to browse through individual files.
The OSHWA Certification continues to grow, with almost 1,000 projects from over 40 countries! If you’re not yet familiar, the certification program provides a way for consumers to immediately recognize hardware whose meaning of “Open” conforms to the OSHW Definition. It also provides a directory for OSHW creators, which stands as evidence that your product is in compliance with the OSHW Definition.
Update on OHM Events
We originally planned to have the community host virtual events this year, but we found many people are not looking forward to another video meeting. Therefore, we are shifting our focus to just labeling, certifying, and documenting projects from home. We look forward to normal OHM events in 2021!
Hosting and Joining OHM Events We invite individuals and companies alike to host events relating to the theme, or supporting Open Hardware more generally. Unlike previous years, we expect most events to be virtual due to COVID-19. Thankfully, both labeling and certifying can be done from home! If you choose to host an in-person event, we expect you to follow all local health guidelines to help keep our community safe. Find what you need to plan an OHM event at the OHM website. Looking for an OHM event to join? As events are submitted and approved, they’ll be listed on the OHM website as well. For virtual events, we’ll also list the online platform being used and the event’s time zone.
About seven years after our last survey, it’s time for the 2020 Open Source Hardware Community Survey! These surveys help OSHWA understand who makes up the community, engagement with OSHW projects, and identify changes over time. The results will be aggregated and made publicly available once the survey is complete.
The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. To add your voice, take the survey here.
Curious about the results of the 2013 survey? See our results here.