Tag Archives: app

AtFAB – Open Source Furniture

AtFAB is hoping that you will think about having your next table, chair or shelf cut out on a CNC machine.

Their furniture is licensed under a Creative Commons non-commercial license, so you can do whatever you want with it as long as you don’t sell it. If you want to sell it, they seem open to the idea of giving you an individual commercial license.

Balancing openness with the inherent need to pay for hardware development is tricky. For example, AtFAB will give you the DXF files for the furniture, but only after you exchange a couple emails and sign up for their mailing list. That seems fair, especially considering they have a nifty little app that lets you change some of the parameters in the files before you download them. You can stretch the chair out into a bench or adjust the cutlines to account for different material thicknesses.

Open design has been around just as long as open hardware, and the two have a lot of overlap since you need something physical to design on. That being said, I’m split on whether or not it makes any sense to “design” open hardware. On the one hand it never hurts to make something look prettier. On the other hand, open source designs tend to be utilitarian (because they tend to be cheap and require as few manufacturing steps as possible) so trying to “design” them starts to look an awful lot like trying too hard. An angular little chair is still an angular little chair after you paint an orange stripe on it.

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NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge

NASA is, like, totally still relevant. Word.

They sponsored the International (Intergalactic?) Space Apps Challenge as a way to encourage people to take all the stuff NASA offers for free and turn it into something the average person could actually use.

The “hardware” section includes the following challenges:

  • Suborbital Payload for Citizen Science (exposed or pressurized)
  • Low Cost Space Guidance System
  • SERVIR Open Hardware Camera Project
  • Handheld Hardware for Citizen Science
  • BakerFaire
  • WeLoveData Challenge
  • Nairobi Robotics

Yes, one of those is a project to figure out how to bake and eat bread in microgravity. Hey, you try celebrating without cake and see how you like it. Anywho…

Most of the solutions are software-based. Of the solutions chosen for global judging we’ve got one where you make a ring (for your finger) out of the 3D model of some satellite orbits. There’s also a project to make an open source underwater robot for exploring, you know, under water. They link it to space by (again) developing the software tool(s) that will allow for processing the data sent back by a remote rover.

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