Tags: open hardware*

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  1. In the summer of 2016, Lenovo’s Motorola unit did something unusual for an Android phone maker: It announced an ambitious idea for a new kind of phone, and then vowed to stick with it for several years.

    To distinguish the Moto Z from other high-end Android phones, Motorola offered a set of “Moto Mods” that could snap onto the Moto Z’s backside, adding features like a better speaker, a 10x optical zoom camera lens, and a backup battery pack. And instead of just pushing the concept on its own, Motorola turned to accessory makers and entrepreneurs for help, promising that whatever they built would work with three generations of Moto Z phones.

    Eighteen months later, more than a dozen Moto Mods are now available, including a hands-free Alexa speaker, a game controller, a magnetic car dashboard mount, and a Polaroid photo printer. Meanwhile, an accelerator program for independent mMd makers is close to yielding its first product–a snap-on physical keyboard–after more than a year of development. After all this time, the modular hardware ecosystem seems close to paying off.

    But amid broader struggles at Lenovo, it’s unclear how much longer the idea will last. Lenovo has acknowledged that its $2.9 billion acquisition of Motorola from Google in 2014 hasn’t led to smartphone profits as planned, and last month the company confirmed layoffs to the Motorola team in Chicago. Although Lenovo says work on the Moto Z and Moto Mods will continue–and a new version of the phone is rumored for later this year–the company will only speak in generalities about the future.
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  2. Peer production has emerged as a new and relevant way of organising the work of distributed and autonomous individuals in the production and distribution of digital content. Increasingly, the adoption of peer production is taking place not only in the development of digital and immaterial content, but also in the design, manufacturing and distribution of physical goods. Furthermore, Open Design and Open Hardware projects are developed, discussed, manufactured and distributed thanks to digital fabrication technologies, digital communication technologies, advanced funding initiatives (like crowdfunding platforms and hardware incubators) and globally integrated supply chains. This new systemic dimension of work is possible, among other factors, thanks to local facilities like Fab Labs, Makerspaces and Hackerspaces (that can be generally called Maker laboratories), where individuals can gather and form communities with other people, designing and manufacturing together. Generally, these people are referred to as Makers and, while their existence is still an emergent phenomenon, it is widely acknowledged that they could exemplify a new modality of work. We investigated the knowledge, values and working dimensions of Makers in Italy with the Makers' Inquiry, a survey that focused on Makers, Indie Designers and managers of Maker laboratories. This research generated a first overview of the phenomenon in Italy, improving the knowledge of the profiles of Makers; an important step because Makers are usually defined in a very broad way. Furthermore, we investigated their profiles regarding their values and motivations, in order to understand how much Makers engage in peer production or in traditional businesses and whether their working condition is sustainable or not. Finally, we compared these profiles with data regarding traditional designers and businesses and the national context. Given the recent nature of the Maker movement, the focus of this article is on providing a first overview of the phenomenon in Italy with an exploratory analysis and with comparison with existing related literature or national data, rather than contextualising the Maker movement in sociological and political contributions. Far from happening in a void, Italian Makers have a strong relationship with their localities and established industry. Therefore, this is a recent evolution, where Makers work with a broader palette of projects and strategies: With both non-commercial and commercial activities, both peer production and traditional approaches. The activity of making is still a secondary working activity that partially covers the Makers’ income, who are mostly self-employed working at home, in a craft workshop or in a Fab Lab in self-funded or non-commercial initiatives, where technology is not the only critical issue. As a conclusion, we identified current patterns in the working condition of Italian Makers. The data gathered shows some interesting information that, however, could be applicable only to an Italian context. Nevertheless, the survey could be a starting point to compare the same phenomenon in different countries. Therefore, we released the survey files, software and data as open source in order to facilitate the adoption, modification, verification and replication of the survey.
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  3. From test run to main programme
    The series of test runs lead up to the actual launch of the REMODEL programme in October. The main programme will include 10 companies who will combine up to three different modules to fit their specific individual needs, and which will enable them to build a tailor-made business model based on open source principles. By the end of the programme, the company will be able to implement the business model by market testing it on a designated products from their portfolio, as new product or perhaps as a spin-out business unit.

    Documentation and learnings from tests to inform main programme
    The collaboration with Thürmer Tools/TwentySeven will be documented closely, and learnings, tools and methods will be shared with the public from early spring and onwards until the launch of the official REMODEL Open Source Business Model Toolkit, which will be freely available in order for other companies to be able to learn from the generated insights, work methods and results.

    Join us
    Have these themes and initiatives made you curious? We would like to hear from you if your company might be interested in joining the test programme, or the official REMODEL programme this fall.

    We would also be happy to hear from you if you or your organisation is interested in taking part in developing and executing work modules within the programme, and use this work in your own organisation as well. We are still planning both the amount of work modules and the themes they will cover.

    Eager to discuss? Contact Programme Director Christian Villum
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  4. We do our best thinking and creating behind open doors.
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  5. While RISC-V is not the only open ISA in existence, it's the only one poised to advance in a hurry. The RISC-V Foundation, which directs the development and adoption of the ISA, has some pretty big donors like Oracle, Western Digital, HP, Google, IBM, and Nvidia. I can think of a couple prominent chip manufacturers missing from that list. It seems that the big players have figured out that as with software, hardware will develop faster and better out in the open. Oh and also, you won't have to pay anyone to use it. A project like this hasn't been conquered any sooner because of the difficulty and cost involved in development. Now that an open result is actually what the big companies are after, the development money is rolling in.

    RISC-V also has plenty of backing in the academic world. From its incubation at Berkeley to the over 35 University projects worldwide aiding in its development, there's no shortage of brilliant minds working on the project.
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  6. Summary: This project will involve a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of “designed global, manufactured local” (DGML) products from an ecological economics perspective. We will conduct a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of 2-3 DGML technological solutions (e.g. a house, an open source 3D printer, a wireless data transmission, field sensor node). LCA will include an assessment of the energy and material uses of the product from cradle to grave, including during its use and operation. This will be compared against the life-cycle of a conventional technology. Different states will be distinguished, such as extraction of materials, production, transport, disposal of equipment, and the environmental impacts of each assessed. For the assessment, the CML 2 baseline 2000 will be used. Qualitative assessment will be based on observations of the application of the technology, interviews and focus groups such as farmers or makers. Technologies will be compared according to three key criteria for sustainability: (a) “autonomy”; (b) “resilience”; (c) “ecological adaptability”. The end result will be an actual comparison of the environmental and social costs and benefits of the applied technologies, as well as the development of a prototype approach for an ecological-economic evaluation of any DGML solution. Last but not least, this task will provide research and policy proposals in relation to the environmental performance of DGML products, and their implications in terms of resource and energy use, as well as their sustainability in a possible future of resource scarcity and altered environmental conditions.
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  7. Crowd Supply (previously) is an extremely effective platform for funding open source hardware development, boasting twice the success-rate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo; it is also the birthplace of the proclamation of user rights, an outstanding document that lays out the rights of users to explore their hardware, use it independent of any subscription, use it with any other service or hardware, use it indefinitely without fear of remote kill-switching, to transfer it to others, to freely discuss it, to use it privately, and to be informed of security issues.

    Two new Crowd Supply projects highlight the role of the proclamation in promising us new, better, more open and more free systems on which to build our information age.

    The first is Open V, "The World's First Open Source RISC-V-based 32-bit μC":
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  8. Showers are great, but pouring hot and almost drinkable water down the drain is not. Besides the obvious costs to the environment and your bills, there is also a conscious on unconscious psychological cost anytime you create waste.

    To solve this problem we created Showerloop. It's a shower that collects cleans and reuses the water in real time while you are showering. So now you can shower for as long as you like without wasting precious resources.
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  9. Ron Paulk you have "invented" a workbench years ago, OK.
    And for years you are beating a dead horse!
    In every youtube video "Ron Paulk: Designer of the Paulk Workbench"
    "Ron Paulk: Designer of the Awsome rolling Wayntraintoolbox"
    "Ron Paulk: Designer of the Whaterver Station"
    For this reasons i had cancelled my subscription to your youtube channel.
    I always waitet for "as seen on TV". I cant hear it anymore, its so annoying!
    act like Apple!
    You also copied parts from other workbenches an claim
    that you invented all alone.
    Benchdogholes an Clampingholes and all this
    things where inventetd long long before you lived.
    Do you have a patend on this workbench?
    Ok, mtilemans workbench is a simillar AND IMPROVED design.
    His workbenchsize is much better for the Homeworkshop, yours for the professional.
    He should mentioned your workbench in his instructable, OK.
    IMHO on this instructable (helping) site is no place to take money for plans.
    Takeing money for an explanation, an instructable, an plan is not helping, its selling!
    I hope he puts the Plans online again, i consider to build it for my small garage.
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  10. In the two years since it was founded, MyMiniFactory has gradually built a community of some 100,000 users who share and discuss their 3D print designs via a searchable database. This is a model that we’ve seen elsewhere, but two factors set MyMiniFactory apart from its competitors.

    The first is an emphasis on curation; every file that is submitted to the site is printed and tested by staff to check that it meets a certain standard.

    “For the market to grow, one thing that is needed is quality,” explains Preumont. “There are so many reasons for a print to fail, so you really want to make sure it’s not due to the files.

    “It can be on the machine, it can be on the filament, it can be on yourself, it can be on the power plug, whatever — not on the files. We want to offer quality and reassurance, through the best possible files.”

    The second tenet of MyMiniFactory is openness, both in terms of its approach to technology and to the remit of the site’s designs.
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