2022-2023 OHCA Reflection and Enabling Practices

Thanks to the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, OSHWA took a giant step toward expanding open source hardware in academia with our new Open Hardware Creators in Academia Fellowship. We look forward to expanding future cohorts and the guides or playbooks they will create to advance open hardware within academia.

We released our cohort’s Enabling Practices document, which contains several links and checklists inside the document itself. While creating this document through the lens of shared ‘Best Practices’, the cohort quickly recognized that their University structures, even limited to an American cohort, were so vastly different, that one set of best practices would not suffice. Some academics owned their research and others did not, some had a form of Tech Transfer Office and others did not, many spanned the landscape of positions one could hold at a University. Some had their Dean’s support in open hardware and others did not. Depending on these differences, “best” practices varied drastically.  Some enabling practices may not be a one-size fits all solution, but our fellows and the universities they navigate represent a broad spectrum of American universities. We shifted the terminology to enabling practices to encompass more types of universities, where “best” would imply that one university type would be prioritized with which practices work in that system.

The main take away from these sessions collectively was that there is a difference between the creation of open hardware and the advocacy for open hardware to have a place in academia. These roles took different skill sets to move forward, different verbiage, and worked toward different outputs. These conversations were merely a starting point. There is much discussion over time needed to truly force change for higher education to default to open hardware.

We compiled a list of links and resources this Fellowship created, with newly added cohort documents. There are still several fellows waiting for Journal publication dates as well, so check back for new resources!

Cohort documents:

2023 Open Hardware Summit Talks:

Individual Fellow Outputs:

Welcome Thea Flowers, New OSHWA Board President

I am thrilled to be able to welcome Thea “Stargirl” Flowers as the new OSHWA Board President!

As many members of the OSHWA community already know, Thea is a creative technologist and passionate open source advocate.  She is the creator of the Winterbloom open source synthesizers (many of which are OSHWA certified).  Thea is also the creator of KiCanvas, a maintainer of CircuitPython, and a former Python Software Foundation Fellow.  Oh, and she recently redesigned the certification mark brand guide.

While this marks the end of my tenure as OSHWA Board President, I am excited to remain on the board and support Thea, Alicia, and OSHWA however I can.  I also want to thank Alicia and the OSHWA board(s) for allowing me to serve as Board President for the past few years.  It has been fantastic to be a part of OSHWA’s growth and maturation.

I know the rest of the OSHWA community joins me in celebrating Thea’s new role, and is eager to benefit from the energy and ideas she brings with her.

OSHWA Files Brief in Support of Using, Repairing, and Hacking Things You Own

Earlier this month OSHWA, along with Public Knowledge, the Digital Right to Repair Coalition, Software Freedom Conservancy, iFixIt, and scholars of property and technology law, filed a brief in the US Court of Appeals supporting the principle that owning something means that you get to decide how to use it.  While that principle has been part of US (and, before there was a US, British) law for centuries, recent attempts to protect copyright have worked to undermine it.

We filed the brief in a case that EFF has brought on behalf of Dr. Matthew Green and Dr. bunnie Huang (someone who is well known to the open source hardware community) challenging the constitutionality of parts of the US law that prevent access to digital works.This issue is important to the open source hardware community because owning hardware is a critical part of building and sharing hardware.

The Issue

The case focuses on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The DMCA is probably best known for its Section 512 notice and takedown regime for works protected by copyright online (that’s the “DMCA” in a “DMCA Notice” or “DMCA Takedown” that removes videos from YouTube).  Section 1201 is a different part of the law that creates legal protections for digital locks that limit access to copyright-protected works.  

Basically, Section 1201 is a special law that makes it illegal to break DRM.  And as long as DRM prevents you from using your toaster how you see fit, you don’t really own it. 

These protections were originally designed to protect digital media – think the encryption of DVDs.  However, since code is protected by copyright, and just about everything has code embedded in it, the 1201 protections undermine ownership rights in a huge range of things.

The brief illustrates how 1201-protected DRM undermines traditional rules of ownership in a number of different ways:

  • The right to repair: DRM blocks third-party parts or fixes, monopolizing the repair market or forcing consumers to throw away near-working devices.
  • The right to exclude: DRM spies on consumers and opens insecure backdoors on their computers, allowing malicious software to enter from anywhere.
  • The right to use: DRM prevents consumers from using their devices as they wish. A coffee machine’s DRM may prohibit the brewing of other companies’ coffee pods, for example. 
  • The right to possess: Device manufacturers have leveraged DRM to dispossess consumers of their purchases, without legal justification.

The Challenge

This case is challenging Section 1201 on First Amendment grounds.  As written, the law imposes content-based restrictions on speech.  Tools for circumventing DRM can advise users on how and why to protect their property rights.  Prohibiting them means that the law gives legal benefits to anti-ownership DRM software while criminalizing pro-ownership DRM-circumvention software.

Additionally, whatever one thinks about using DRM to protect digital media, the current law is not well tailored to achieve that goal.  Today, DRM has been added to all sorts of devices that are very far from “digital media” in any reasonable sense.  As the brief notes: 

“Devices like refrigerators have [DRM] not to stop rampant refrigerator copyright piracy, but so manufacturers can maintain market dominance, block competition, and force wasteful consumerism that boosts those manufacturers’ bottom lines.”  

These uses of DRM are protected by the current law but have nothing to do with protecting digital media.

What’s Next

This brief is part of an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  It will be argued in the coming months.  EFF’s page on the case is here.

We want to end this post with a huge thank you to Professor Charles Duan, the author of our brief.  Professor Duan does a great job of bringing clarity to this important issue facing the open source hardware community. Plus, you always know any brief written by him will include citations reaching back centuries.  This brief shows that case law reaching back to 1604 is still relevant to questions about ownership today!

2023 Year End Letter

Thank you to each and every one of you for making the decision to share your designs, and be a part of the open hardware ecosystem. We appreciate your hard work and dedication to open source hardware. OSHWA relies on donations from our community to run our organization and push open hardware forward.

2023 brought the in person aspect back to our Open Hardware Summit in NYC, and as always, is still viewable online. Our 2024 Summit will be in Montreal, with talks at Concordia University on May 3 & 4, 2024 with our workshop day on the 4th hosted by lespacemakers! October was Open Hardware Month, we had 1,000 views on our video series for certification, and over 70 new certifications. We have a new shiny logo, which is the first step in our entire website redesign process. Our website redesign will roll out in 2024.

This year we have been collaborating on a policy sprint through the Wilson Center and Federation of American Scientists asking the USPTO to search the OSHWA Certification database for prior art. We also joined forces with GOSH and IOP to cross-post announcements on all of our forums. 

This past year has been an enormous lift for us, as our first round of academic grantees comes to an end. We have published their work on our newly minted Open Hardware Creators in Academia (OHCA) webpage, and there’s more to come including a collaborative document of Enabling Practices for Open Hardware in Academia. The Sloan Foundation has called this program a wild success. We’ll be looking for more funders to enhance Sloan’s support for another round in 2024. If you or someone you know is interested in funding a fellow at the $50,000 level, please email alicia@oshwa.

OSHWA published a new licensing guide for open hardware on our website, to incorporate CERN’s v2 OHL. And speaking of CERN, our Executive Director, Alicia Seidle, was honored to be a keynote speaker at CERN’s inaugural event officially opening their Open Source Program Office (OSPO). 

If you would like to support initiatives like these and vote on who is on the OSHWA board, please consider getting an OSHWA membership. We have a wide range of membership levels, from a discounted level to a lifetime membership. Membership not for you? That’s ok! We also welcome, and greatly appreciate, donations and Open Hardware Summit sponsorships

In addition, OSHWA is looking for grants or donations of $25,000 in support of broadening our Summit Fellowships, and impacting more fellows. If you are interested in giving that level of support, please contact alicia@oshwa.org.

Thank you.

This Giving Tuesday support OSHWA

It’s Giving Tuesday! As a non-profit, OSHWA relies on individual donations to run our organization and push open hardware forward. Donations run our programs, such as the OSHWA Certification, Open Hardware Month in October, the Open Hardware Summit, builds out our resources for the community, contributes to a new website for OSHWA, and keeps our lights on! There are many ways to give, through general donations, membership or sponsorship. We have over 2500 certifications, and that doesn’t cover our entire community, if every person who certified gave $20 for each certification, that would be $50,000 for OSHWA. We appreciate every donation, large or small. If you need to talk to someone about your donation please email: info@oshwa.org

Please include OSHWA in your giving plans this season: https://oshwa.org/donate/

OSHWA updates hardware licensing guidelines

Many things have changed in the hardware licensing landscape since we published our guidelines as a set of best practices for how to share hardware designs efficiently. If you visit them today, you will see that we updated the content under the “Licensing your Designs” section. The biggest change is that we are now describing four different licensable elements of open hardware: hardware, design files, documentation, and software. “Design files” as a separate element is a new addition to that list.  This short post explains the rationale for the changes.

Why Change?

One key factor is the increasing use of version 2 of the CERN Open Hardware Licence for sharing hardware designs under any of the three usual regimes: permissive, weakly reciprocal or strongly reciprocal. The CERN OHL v2 is the only license approved by the Open Source Initiative which was drafted with the specificities of hardware in mind. It is also the recommended license to host hardware designs on GitHub and other platforms.

Another important development is the exponential growth of open-source gateware (FPGA or ASIC designs using Hardware Description Languages) fueled by the RISC-V revolution. For those preferring a reciprocal sharing regime, there was no adequate license in this realm, and the use of traditional software licenses quickly showed a number of issues. The reciprocal variants of CERN OHL v2 filled that gap.

Modern hardware licenses all include patent license clauses in their text. They provide reassurance to licensees that any patents held by the licensor covering the hardware design are licensed to them alongside the other rights in the design. The new guidelines reflect this important trend.

Finally, there has been a persistent source of confusion since the early days of open-source hardware licensing, namely the difference between licensing the hardware designs and licensing the resulting hardware. 

The New Guidance

The new guidelines provide clarity by separating the hardware itself from hardware designs.  You can think of this as the difference between a PCB you are holding in your hand and a KiCad file, or a mechanical device and the schematic for that device.  This distinction can become especially important in situations where the designs are eligible for copyright protection, but the hardware itself is not.

The new guidelines also provide a set of best practices to be applied for different types of hardware. The resources on licensing in the OSHWA certification site will be updated shortly to remain compatible with the new guidelines and reflect this shift to a four-pronged approach to licensing, covering:

  • the hardware itself,
  • the hardware design files,
  • the documentation around the hardware, including e.g. user manuals and explanatory materials,
  • any software related to or running in that hardware.

Please read the new guidelines and let us know in the forums if anything is unclear or if you have any comments, requests, corrections, etc. Happy sharing!

OHCA Reflection: Kevin Eliceiri

The Open Hardware Creators in Academia Fellowship was a great opportunity for me and the researchers in my laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to formally explore and implement open hardware concepts in our microscopy development work.

For the last twenty years we have been active in the open source imaging software community but our efforts in the open hardware space have been less formalized and in great need of researching the best practices for our work. While we have been involved in a number of custom microscopy building efforts the dissemination efforts behind these projects largely relied on traditional paper publication which greatly restricts the how the important build process can be shared. When we have tried making our plans available it has been through videos of systems and online part lists that don’t allow other builders to fully observe the build process or share their own adaptions.

We are grateful to the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) for funding and advising on our OpenScan project as a fellow project to allow us to investigate this important problem. Over the last year OSHWA has provide the funding and expert support needed for us to focus on making OpenScan a open source system beyond just the software part. OpenScan is an open source platform for controlling laser scanning microscopes and consists of control software and hardware.

Before receiving the trailblazer award the open source concept in our lab (like most in the imaging community) had largely been applied to the software collecting and analyzing our image data and not the complete system with all the necessary hardware. In our field there was already widespread community support for making the protocols for any published scientific study open and carefully documented but the hardware used for most experiments whether homebuilt or commercial is most cases effectively a black box.

We are very interested in pushing forward in our imaging community the concept of releasing open-source hardware designs using OpenScan as example. Open Source Software has been very impactful in our imaging community (and science overall) but open hardware is still an emerging effort. Lots of groups share drawings of parts but when building complex systems, the efforts have been less. Using the open hardware laser scanning platform known as OpenScan our group over the last year evaluated what are the most relevant best practices from open source software that can be applied to hardware and what are unique open hardware criterion needs that have to be implemented for
successful sharing of open hardware.

As well on a personal note interacting with the many great fellows, mentors and leadership of OSHWA including open hardware perspectives from many different fields has given a bigger perspective on shared challenges between open hardware builds. I’ve enjoyed the many interactions at the in person and virtual OSHWA meetings and hope to stay involved with this community.

Find Kevin’s work

The OHCA Website: https://ohca.oshwa.org/kevin-eliceiri

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-eliceiri-0757064/

Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation: https://loci.wisc.edu/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/i/flow/login?redirect_after_login=%2FUWMadisonLOCI


Open Source Creators in Academia Fellowship Concludes, Delivers Impressive Results

To celebrate the success of this fellowship, we are excited to announce the official launch of the Open Source Creators in Academia website: https://ohca.oshwa.org/

October 24th, 2023 — The Open Source Creators in Academia Fellowship, an initiative run by the Open Source Hardware Organization (OSHWA), fostering collaboration and innovation in academia, has successfully concluded its program, marking a significant milestone in the world of open source. This fellowship, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, brought together some of the brightest minds from universities and research institutions producing open source hardware. We are proud to announce the availability of the fellowship website showcasing the remarkable deliverables from the program.

Over the past two years the Open Source Creators in Academia Fellowship has gathered a diverse group of passionate individuals who are deeply committed to advancing the field of open source creation within academia. These visionaries have diligently worked to develop and share their innovations, contributing to the growth and democratization of technology.

The fellowship program, which was initiated with the goal of advancing open source research in academia, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing, has achieved remarkable outcomes, including but not limited to:

  • Innovative Designs: Participants have designed cutting-edge open source solutions in fields ranging from robotics and electronics to museum studies and environmental monitoring.
  • Open Source Resources: A wealth of educational materials, guides, and documentation has been created, making open source more accessible to the broader academic community and beyond.
  • Community Building: The program has fostered a global network of open source enthusiasts, encouraging collaborative research, idea exchange, and support.
  • Increased Visibility: The fellowship has increased the visibility of open source research in academia, contributing to the global conversation about open science and technology in academia.

To celebrate the success of this fellowship, we are excited to announce the official launch of the Open Source Creators in Academia website: https://ohca.oshwa.org/. This platform will serve as a hub for the resources generated by the program, including hardware designs, research papers, and guides on utilizing open source in academia.

The website features a rich repository enabling researchers, students, and technology enthusiasts to access, use, and build upon the work of the fellowship participants. It will be a valuable resource for those looking to embrace open source solutions for their academic, research or industry projects and partnerships.

OSHWA is incredibly proud of the work accomplished by our fellows and the community that has grown through the fellowship. This program has served to push boundaries of what it means to create within an academic setting and how we can move forward for a more collaborative and open future. 

For more information and to explore the deliverables from the Open Source Creators in Academia Fellowship, please visit https://ohca.oshwa.org/.

The Open Hardware Creators in Academia program was made possible with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: https://sloan.org/

Contact Information: Alicia Gibb Seidle, founder and executive director, OSHWA. Email us at info@oshwa.org

About Open Source Creators in Academia Fellowship: The Open Source Creators in Academia Fellowship is an international initiative that brings together talented researchers and academics to collaborate on open source projects. With a mission to promote open science, innovation, and knowledge-sharing, the program empowers participants to create, document, and share their open designs and research findings. Through collaboration and community building, the fellowship aims to make open source accessible to academics.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/open-source-hardware-association

Twitter: https://twitter.com/oshwassociation

Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@oshwassociation

2023-2025 OSHWA Board Nominees

Become an OSHWA member today to vote on nominees!

This year, we have 4 open seats on the OSHWA board. Board members will hold a 2-year position. Once board members have been chosen by the OSHWA member community, the board will appoint a President, VP, and Secretary. As every nominee answered “Yes” to having 5-10 hours a month to give to the board, we did not include that question in each nominee’s data. Board responsibilities include fundraising, advising on goals and direction, and carrying out compliance of the organization’s purposes and bylaws. Please find details of our election process here.

The vote will be open on Oct. 17th-23rd. Members will be emailed a link to vote. Here are the nominees in no particular order:

Nadya Peek

Why do you want to be on the board?

I strongly believe in creating and maintaining technology that supports personal agency. To this end, I support the development and maintenance of tailorable, reusable, modular, extensible, and accessible technologies. I support the use of this technology for any (unintended) purpose; I believe that robust technological infrastructure is critical for supporting a diversity of ideas and applications. Open Source Hardware plays a crucial supporting role in working towards these goals by establishing and advocating for best practices around sharing, documentation, and collaboration. I would like to serve on the board of the Open Source Hardware Association, as I believe it to be an organization uniquely suited to advancing open standards for technology design, manufacturing, use, and dissemination.

What qualifies you to be a board member?

I am running for re-election to the OSHWA board, where I have served several terms. I have been an active open source hardware developer for almost two decades! I develop open-source hardware machines, controllers, and software in my group Machine Agency at the University of Washington. I’m an engineering prof and teach digital fabrication and physical computing. My group shares their research widely—besides academic publications and conferences we also can generally be found at things like Hackaday Supercon, Crowdsupply Teardown, RRFs, and CCC. I got my PhD at MIT in the Center for Bits and Atoms, where I helped set up many fab labs and makerspaces. I have helped organize the OSH summit many times and love the community we bring together there. I think I am qualified to be on the board because of my technical expertise and my experience with community organizing, fundraising, and promoting OSHW.

What is your personal DEI+J (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) statement?

A major goal of mine is broadening the participation of women, racially underrepresented people, and people from disadvantaged socioeconomic statuses in engineering and particularly Open Source Hardware. As a woman engineering professor of mixed race and ethnicity, this matter is of both professional and personal importance to me. To achieve this, I dedicate time to organizing events to address structural racism at my workplace, to mentoring groups who have historically been excluded from engineering, and to policy making efforts that can further goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In these actions, I bring my experience in hardware communities outside of the global north and leverage my position of privilege and power as a professor at a public US university to bring about change. I value and support the past inclusion efforts of OSHWA such as the Ada Lovelace fellowship, and would work to further them were I to be elected to the board.

Wendy Ju

Why do you want to be on the board?

I have found it very fulfilling to be an OSHWA board member from 2021-2023. I specifically enjoyed working to help get the Trailblazers program started and helping OSHWA apply for NSF funding from the Platforms for Open Source Ecosystems call. For the coming term, I want to continue to grow the role that OSHWA plays in creative entrepreneurship and to work on initiatives to help open-source solutions that encourage the reuse of e-waste.

What qualifies you to be a board member?

I am an Associate Professor of Information Science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City. I teach a graduate course in Developing and Designing Interactive Devices. My research focuses on designing interaction with automated systems; I frequently use interactive technologies to prototype the future. I have developed and shared curriculum to teach Arduino and Raspberry Pi in the context of making interactive musical instruments, far-out Mp3 players, and robots of many flavors.

What is your personal DEI+J (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) statement?

The fields of engineering, computer science, and STEM greatly benefit when they draw people from different racial, geographical, and socio-economic backgrounds. Increased access to the tools of production can be transformational to people from underprivileged backgrounds, and so I am committed to break down barriers and address inequity.

Andrew Quitmeyer

Why do you want to be on the board?

I deeply love open culture and find the thought of locking up information from other human beings to be viscerally disgusting. I love building things and documenting them and sharing them back with the world, and have been trying the best I can to help build silly or useful things I can contribute to our collective understanding. I would like to be on the board because I see it as another layer of service I can provide to the Open Source community. My other goal is to continue trying to make connections between the various open source communities I have worked with, and being on the board would help me to better serve as a bridge of information and opportunities between groups.

What qualifies you to be a board member?

I served as an inaugural member of the GOSH community council (which seems to be a somewhat analogous position to this like-minded group), and I have been working as a member of GOSH to help host big events like their conference in Panama. I have also been a member for many years now and participated in the voting and discussions when I can. My personal work of creating and sharing stuff, combined with my experience in academia, industry, conservation work, and non-institutional groups gives me a robust background of not only just hardware experience, but also experience in things like finding sponsorship, legal stuff (getting sued for millions by patent trolls), and policy. I have also cultivated a nice network of communities and friends that I proselytize open source hardware to constantly! 🙂

What is your personal DEI+J (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) statement?

My core draw to open source philosophies comes from its ability to disrupt existing power dynamics. I have never been interested in things that are only available to “elite” audiences whether this is certain types of art, hardware, hobbies, etc… Instead, I’ve noticed my joy derives from the liberation of these concepts and activities such that everyone can play.

Thus I take this core belief into my own work on the social side of things as well. There are massive power structures (many visible, but many obscured) that exist in our society to prevent many from getting the opportunities I have been afforded (white, cis, abled, straight-passing guy). I work to channel my energy towards fighting back against these power structures by creating new opportunities for those who would not have been able to receive them. A key reason I quit my job as an academic professor was that I found that despite the significant backing of a large institution and decent salary, very little of these resources were able to get funneled towards people who could actually make use of them. Instead the way things were structured, at the end of the day most of what I was pushing my energy and resources towards was doing more to reinforce the power structures already established. I found I could actually give back more to society making a paltry salary and volunteering 80% of my time towards causes that would be otherwise overlooked.

My goal is to use the privileges I have to identify these power structures and to fight against them, and then in turn put in work to creating paths that support marginalized persons to act and speak as they would like to.

Katherine Scott

Why do you want to be on the board?

I’ve been on the OSHWA board off and on for a number of years; and have served as one of the more active board members. My interest and affiliation with OSHWA started shortly after its inception, and I believe that over the past decade we’ve laid the groundwork necessary to finally become a larger and better funded open source organization. The world, and more importantly larger NGOs and government organizations, have finally become more amenable to open-source philosophy and practice; we’re at a pivotal time for both open source and OSHWA. I would like to continue serving on the board (or as a volunteer) to help see the organization through this period. My professional role, as a developer advocate for the open-source software and hardware project ROS (Robot Operating System) puts me in a unique position of being able to serve both communities and advocate for our shared ambitions for the future.

What qualifies you to be a board member?

In terms of my academic background I hold undergraduate degrees in both computer engineering and electrical engineering, and a masters degree in robotics and computer science. Professionally, I have been an open source contributor and advocate for my entire career. I have co-founded two reasonably successful startups and have worked at a number of others; all at the intersection of hardware and software. Presently, I am a developer advocate at Intrinsic, an Alphabet subsidiary, focused on democratizing robotics. In practice, my job entails acting as the developer advocate for the Open Source Robotics Foundation’s two big open source projects Robot Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo. My practical experience in this role, and in my previous roles, provide me with a deep understanding of how to effectively operate open-source organizations. I am often the board member bringing practical open source community experience to bear at OSHWA. On a daily basis I find myself working with a number of other open source orgs, like the OpenCV foundation and the Drone Code Foundation, and acting as intermediary between the broader open-source community.

What is your personal DEI+J (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) statement?

I take diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice very seriously, and believe that part of OSHWA’s role is to act as a megaphone and stepping stone for marginalized and oppressed communities. I’ve seen first hand how open source can be used to address inequity, highlight the contributions of marginalized groups, and act as a bridge into technology for those from underserved communities. In our previous efforts at OSHWA – from putting together the summit, to distributing grant funds – we’ve made every effort to cultivate the talent of, and represent the important contributions from, marginalized groups and individuals. I hope to continue these efforts, and further expand our practices for years to come.

Ramon Roche – Video Application

Why do you want to be on the board?

I want to continue supporting the aerial robotics industry, by establishing the validity of open hardware.

What qualifies you to be a board member?

I’ve been working with Pixhawk for the last 7 years, currently leading the program creating open hardware and open standards for the drone industry.

What is your personal DEI+J (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) statement?

Respect for the rights of others means peace.

Nikolas Kameník

Why do you want to be on the board?

I want to be on the board of the Open Source Hardware Association because I believe in the power of open source to democratize technology and empower people to create and innovate. I have a passion for open source hardware and have been involved in the community for many years. I am also a strong advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and believe that the open source community should be a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone.

The Open Source Hardware Association is a keystone organization that supports and ensures the success of open hardware in academia, industry, and finally – but perhaps most importantly – individual passion projects which have future potential to educate and help others. The association does this by providing resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy for open hardware. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in the open hardware movement, and I am committed to working towards that goal.

Seven years ago, I left my career in the space industry as a research analyst, moved to Prague, and have since fully been applying myself to keeping additive manufacturing accessible through open source ideals at Prusa Research. I now am looking to extend my passion beyond 3D printing, into broader domains of open source and apply my experience to help open hardware succeed at every scale of its application.

I am confident that I can make a positive contribution to the Open Source Hardware Association and help to advance the open source hardware movement. Thank you for your consideration.

What qualifies you to be a board member?

Prior to moving to the Czech Republic, I was the Finance Manager of the NewSpace conference, where for three years I helped organize an annual event with 50+ sponsors and several hundreds of attendees. As an appointed advocate of the Space Frontier Foundation I aspired to progress commercial involvement in the space industry, furthering political strategies for the success of the space startup ecosystem.

Shortly after moving to Prague, I was provided an opportunity to help Prusa Research and I have continued to be involved with the company in every way possible. I’m proud to have had a role in the company’s growth from less than 50 to now more than 800 employees and am currently helping lead a team of 73 people. In addition to overseeing the development of several of our internal software systems, I also gather the experiences of our many hundreds of thousands of active users across all channels, present reports to all departments within the company, ensure effective communication, and endeavor to achieve the greatest satisfaction possible for every user of our open source software and hardware.

My previous experience working with a non-profit in the United States and now as a manager in a successful open source hardware company, uniquely positions me to help ensure the integrity and success of the Open Source Hardware Association. I believe that my involvement in the open source community, as well as my skills in management, communication, and advocacy; make me an ideal candidate for the board. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the success of the association and to help advance the open source hardware movement.

What is your personal DEI+J (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) statement?

I believe that the open-source movement should be a beacon of accessibility, welcoming everyone irrespective of their background, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. Simply striving for inclusion is not enough, each individual should also know and feel they are valued. I aspire to speak for underrepresented voices, and wish to help keep open source as a realm that truly embraces the diversity of human experiences, as all should.

Open-mindedness has always been one of the key qualities which I try to apply in every situation. One of my most favorite aspects of my current work is having the opportunity to travel and attend many events every year. I love the openness and inclusivity fostered by everyone at RepRap Festivals, Maker Faires, and other open source events and conferences. I also often attend and support LGBTIQA+ events and charities with my partner.
On social media, I am usually found under the username of nik0tron and my enthusiasm for meeting and talking with people about their passions and projects has no limits. I consider myself to be exceptionally accepting of alternative views, as long has they do not restrict the freedoms, success, or happiness of others.