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.
I had the chance to interview newly appointed President of OSWHA Gabriella Levine for Open Electronics magazine. A cool interview with a focus on OSHWA plans and major challenges in Open Source Hardware.
Few words about OSHWA plans, in detail
[SC] What are the overall plans for OSHWA in 2014 – 2015 under your presidency?
[GL]First of all, work on standardization. The definition states what is Open Hardware, but I believe that there needs to be more documentation for people to turn to in order to know HOW to release their work. What are the best ways to release hardware and what are the standards for documentation? There is a lot of work happening on this (especially by Catarina Mota, David Mellis, and Limor Fried). See OSHWA’s “best practices” and Adafruit’s “Open Source Hardware Overview”.
I think of OSHWA’s initiatives is to produce some available documents, like a standard toolkit for releasing open source hardware, that can help companies and individuals understand some of the confusion and loose definitions. One example might be a “laundry list” that can allow companies producing products to document all of the hardware components for that product and how they are licensed.
OSHWA is increasing its public presence, in order to educate people and companies about the fact that there is indeed the option of open source hardware, to clear up some confusion surrounding the definition, to promote OSHWA as a resource for providing support and education and to represent the community. This public awareness will come from planned workshops, educational events, and an international summit this year.
OSHWA will continue to work together and with some advice from attorneys who are open to discussing some of the legal options and licenses available, compile some clarifying documents that can help companies and individual see what some legal options are available for producing and distributing open source hardware.
OSHWA also is in the planning to continue to conduct business surveys to provide data about open source hardware companies, as well as lead more educational programs and summits, possibly including an Open Manufacturing Summit.