Open Source Hardware (OSHW) movement is what I am talking about. It’s not a new concept, many of you guys may already be involved (or aware of) in this movement. For the newbies who still find a little confused with OSHW terminology, I will give a briefing.
Open Source Hardware is pretty same in concept with Open Source Software movement. In the case of operating systems,
Linux is open source where as Microsoft Windows is not!
If you go for Linux – you will get its source code and you can modify the operating system on your own ideas and you can redistribute the same. In the case of Windows, you won’t get its source code and any attempt to modify/tweak Windows is considered illegal because their source codes are protected by IP (Intellectual Property) laws and patents. Similar is the case in hardware. You are not supposed to tweak/modify an Apple Iphone. Even “jail breaking” an Iphone is considered illegal. No way will you ever get the design schematics of its hardware! In the case of Open Source Hardware, you will get access to complete documentation (layouts, schematics, software codes) of the device you purchase and you can modify the device on your own (to any extent) and you can freely redistribute the device (in your own brand name). I hope you now got an idea about OSHW movement.
It’s quite interesting – right ?
Now comes the questions –
where can I find an open source device ?
How can I work upon it?
How can I buy one?
The best example I can suggest now is about Arduino.
Arduino is a single board micro controller (using Atmel AVR) – which can sense it’s surrounding environment using many sensors (to get input) and control many output devices (based on input) such as lights, motors and actuators. It’s an open source project and all the documentation is available in their website (http://www.arduino.cc/). You can either buy the hardware or you can make your own by assembling the circuitry as given in the website.
To know more about arduino, I suggest you read an article written by the author Anish -Arduino for Beginners
Now Arduino – is just one kind of the many out there.
Let’s work together to build a great community!