Tag Archives: michael

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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The Definitive Makerbot Open vs Closed Source Discussion

I did my best to document all the different points of view that are relevant to the open source hardware world but are spread all over the interwebs.

The original Makerbot founders.

This post got big, fast. Really big. After the jump you can find key quotes from Bre Pettis, Zachary Smith (Hoeken), Adrian Bowyer, Josef Prusa, etc.

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Pandora Handheld – A Tiny Open Source Portable Computing System

The Pandora is a community-designed portable computer. It’s a marvelous combination of open source hardware and software.

It’s a combination of a computer and a portable gaming console (that’s why it has the D-pad, gaming buttons, and a full qwerty keyboard). It can play games, run a full desktop (multitasking!) and access the internet. Most importantly, nothing is locked down. The entire thing is open source. Thousands of units have shipped to happy customers and production has finally caught up to all the pre-orders. You can get one for about $550.

More after the jump.

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Crowd Funding Dump

So, apparently the JOBS Act¬†officially sanctioned “crowdfunding” (yes it’s a real word now).

The catch is that “investors” can only work with “issuers” through the services of a “portal” which has to be registered with the SEC. What this means is that Indiegogo and Kickstarter will have some competition and we’re about to see a lot more innovative ideas pitched (more or less) directly to the public.

Anywho…that’s fascinating and all…but what will it do for open source hardware? I dunno; lets find out. Assuming there’s enough activity (seems like a safe assumption) the Crowd Funding Dump (CFD) will become a regular feature on Openalia.

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Michael Wineberg and Public Knowledge Ahead of the Curve

We’ve all read It Will Be Awesome If They Don’t Screw It Up. Right? If you haven’t read it, go ahead and do that now.

Michael Wineberg is the staff attorney at Public Knowledge, an organization that represents the public’s interests in open access to technology and information. He/they recently put on an event intended to bring political¬†representatives, the public, and open source hardware together for an introduction (and maybe group hug if the mood is right). It was called OH/DC and hopefully we’ll see some media come out of it.

Cat Johnson at Shareable has a nice interview with Mr. Wineberg in which he explains Public Knowledge’s strategy of meeting with representatives BEFORE any legislation affecting open hardware is considered.

What Wineberg and Public Knowledge are doing is fantastic. It seems inevitable that open sourcing manufacturing tools (like 3D printing) will start to cause corporations heart burn sooner or later (they are people after all). I for one really hope the community has gotten out ahead of them and demonstrated the benefits of open source before something along the lines of the RIAA emerges and tries to go after people sharing open hardware designs.

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