Literature/202305251750 open hardware can transform access to lab equipment

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There is a fine distinction to be made between "open hardware" and "DIY" tools. The definition of Open Hardware includes the right to repurpose, sell, distribute, etc. while in many DIY cases it is mostly a "recipe" to be followed in order to get a setup working.

There is also an important aspect to consider, which is the role open-hardware can have in low-resource settings, especially when it is built around Frugal Science principles, or when it is designed to use digital fabrication tools (such as 3D printers) as their manufacturing principle.

In some low resource settings, one of the problems is access to technicians that can troubleshoot and support equipment. It is also worth mentioning that open hardware initiatives seem to be triggered in contexts of high-resources and specifically in countries with a well developed tech/scientific industrial matrix.

images/Pasted image 20230612120402.png

The figure above shows the distribution of countries with a specific definition of how the industrial matrix looks like. Top-right is where both the scientific and technology industries are well-developed, meaning there could be a nice flow of Technology Transfer. Bottom right is where the industrial matrix is complex, but the scientific environment is not very dynamic, and the opposite for the top-left. The rest are countries with fewer resources.

Question: what is the trend? Do we see countries like Australia or New Zealand moving towards the right-quadrant, generating more complex industries over time, or do we see India moving faster in that direction?

A quote I liked:

A technology is deemed to be appropriate when it is “compatible with local, cultural, and economic conditions (i.e., the human, material, and cultural resources of the economy) and utilizes locally available materials and energy resources, with tools and processes maintained and operationally controlled by the local population”

To the question of "Why are Open Hardware projects not more broadly adopted"


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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