Open Source Machines: New Ideas Are Arriving

by Ostatic Staff - May. 21, 2012

Bring up the term open source to many people, and they'll immediately think of community-driven software projects, but we've covered many open source hardware concepts here on OStatic over the years. And, last year, the official Open Source Hardware (OSHW) definition arrived in version 1.1. Recently, TED fellow Marcin Jakubowski delivered an address in which he discussed the open source blueprints for 50 farm machines, ranging from tractors to harvesters. You can get his thoughts in a video, but these farm-focused ideas are only a small part of the open source hardware scene.

As NPR notes:

"Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, Jakubowski's work enables anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. The effort is part of an overall project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village. Starting cost: $10,000. Call it a 'civilization starter kit."

Meanwhile, just consider the many other open source hardware projects that are up and running. We've covered Arduino, an open electronics prototyping platform; Ben NanoNote, an attempt at open source computers; open hardware designs created during the OLPC project; and the global efforts of open source roboticists

The official Open Source Hardware (OSHW) definition provides these guidelines for open source hardware efforts:

"Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware's source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs."

We'll see what comes of Jakubowski's open source farm equipment ideas, but in the meantime there is no shortage of other hardware-focused community projects that you can get involved with.