What is Open Hardware?


Open hardware is a category of devices, often very small and inexpensive, that are licensed so that users are able to use, copy, and adapt them however they want. The hardware design, along with any driving software, are typically all released as an open-source package. Although open hardware is not as well known as open software, there are several promising open hardware projects (e.g., Arduino, FreeRunner), in which users share information about how to build their own boards with the possibility of adapting or modifying them to specific user needs. The wide availability of small, low cost sensors such as accelerometers; gps; pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors; cameras in a variety of spectrums; and even more, makes open hardware a very promising and inexpensive way to both innovate and teach concepts with real-world applications.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below, most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point Please include urls whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks)

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated like - Larry Larry Feb 7, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • The abundance of public explanation of designs based on open hardware fosters creativity and learning in related topics. Also, the fact of having a community that gives you support in your designs makes easier a P2P learning process.- Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The supportive community around open hardware is very active.- Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013
  • One of the reasons of the proliferation of platforms such as Arduino is the easiness for rapid prototyping.- Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • UNED has created several experiments based on open hardware, such as a robotic arm controlled on-line through Arduino. It is built as a remote lab where students send their codes through a Web site and check the robotic arm movements through a Webcam.- Sergio Sergio Aug 9, 2013
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