Open source hardware refers to computer and electronic hardware that is designed in the same fashion as free and open-source software. Open source hardware is part of the open source culture that takes the open source ideas to fields other than software. An example of this is the Simputer project.

Some of the impetus for the development of open source hardware was initiated in 2002 through the Challenge to Silicon Valley issued by Kofi Annan [1]. Because the nature of hardware is different than software, and because the concept of open source hardware is relatively new, no exact definition of open source hardware has emerged.

Because hardware has direct variable costs associated with it, no open source software definition can directly be applied without modification. Instead, the term open source hardware has primarily been used to reflect the use of free/open source software with the hardware and the free release of information regarding the hardware, often including the release of schematics, design, sizes and other information about the hardware. In anyway, it includes the hardware design and element distribution on the motherboard (i.e. a notebook where one can replace elements).

With the rise of reconfigurable logic devices, the sharing of logic designs is also a form of open source hardware. Instead of sharing the schematics, HDL code is shared. This is different from free/open source software. HDL descriptions are commonly used to set up SoC systems either in FPGAs or directly in ASIC designs. HDL modules, when distributed, are called semiconductor intellectual property cores, or IP cores.

Notable projects and collectionsEdit

3D PrintersEdit

Computers and Computer ComponentsEdit




Other ProjectsEdit

  • RONJA - Open source Free Space Optic system, DIY in a garage, 10Mbps full duplex/1.4km
  • Neuros "Open Source Device" an open source set-top box type device designed to serve as a low cost Linux "media center"
  • Chumby - 'Glancable' information device
  • OpenStim: The Open Noninvasive Brain Stimulator
  • gEDA - full GPL'd suite of Electronic Design Automation tools.
  • OpenEEG - creating a low cost EEG device and free software to go with it. [3]
  • Open-rTMS - creating a low cost rTMS device and free software to go with it. [4]
  • Daisy - An open source MP3 player [5]
  • OSMC - An open source Motor Control project, meant primarily for robotics but applicable to low-power electric vehicles and other uses [6]
  • openECGproject - developing an open source, low cost, and clinically functional electrocardiography solution. [7]


See alsoEdit

External links Edit

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