Is openspim a good example of open hardware

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The OpenSPIM project is regarded as one of the most prominent open hardware examples, and is definitely the crown jewel in the microscopy community.

It may have been one of the very first projects that was released not only as a paper but also as a website with build instructions, videos, and comments.

However, the OpenSPIM is built on an earlier patent by some of the authors of the paper, but they do not disclose it: images/Pasted image 20230628134833.png

Albeit I do agree that having a patent does not entail competing interests, the Zeiss light-sheet microscope is awfully similar to the OpenSPIM. Is it licensed from the authors of the paper?

Moreover, several parts of the original microscope are badly designed, to the point where the assembly of the microscope is not possible without re-working the tools.

Even after almost 10 years since the paper came out, these mistakes are online. We tried to submit the improved versions, but the maintainers refused to accept them on the premise that "it is a published paper and we can't change the underlying design."

I used the OpenSPIM as the basis for the NanoQNT, the second Dispertech instrument.

However, I think the community should find better examples to bring to the spotlight. I've seen the Flamingo project sometimes quoted, but that's also a mistake. It is like claiming Raspberry Pi is an example of open hardware.


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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