open source hardware

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Make Things 'Til You Make It at Colorado's "Blowing Things Up Lab"

Recently while reading a tweet from the Blowing Things Up Lab, I learned about Emily Daub, a maker and college student who designed a running shirt that helps runners be more visible to motorists—my daughter is a runner so this sounds like a great idea to me. The shirt is photosensitive which cause the light intensity of the fabric to change in ambient light. According to Emily Daub, "If you run at night, this is for you. This lights up as it gets darker outside on two independent photocells and no microcontroller!" In this interview, I ask Emily more about this fantastic invention...

Michigan Tech Engineering Team Joins Open Source Ventilator Movement

Press Release | Michigan Technological University | March 20, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the research community is looking for solutions. In addition to work on vaccines and medicine, medical technology is needed. In severe cases of COVID-19, the disease attacks the respiratory system, and one of the major bottlenecks in treatment is having enough ventilators. The open-source hardware community wants to change that. Joshua Pearce...an open-source hardware expert and co-editor-in-chief of HardwareX [explained] that 3D-printed lab hardware and other open-source tech can be cost-effective and encourages design improvement. "Even complex medical devices are not outside the realm of possibility anymore."

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MichiganTech Professor, Student Help Bring Medical 3-D Printing to Nicaragua

Press Release | Michigan Technological University | November 17, 2015

With all the technology we have today, there are so many possibilities. The whole world can collaborate and create open-sourced information to help develop thousands of scientific uses for various new technologies like 3-D printing. Enabling the Future is an organization that is doing just that. It is a global network of passionate volunteers using their 3-D printers, design skills and personal time to give the world a “helping hand” with free 3-D-printed prosthetic hands for those in need.

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Modified Open Source Laser Cutter Prints 3-D Objects from Powder

Press Release | Rice University | February 22, 2016

Rice University bioengineering researchers have modified a commercial-grade CO2 laser cutter to create OpenSLS, an open-source, selective laser sintering platform that can print intricate 3-D objects from powdered plastics and biomaterials. The system costs at least 40 times less than its commercial counterparts and allows researchers to work with their own specialized powdered materials. The design specs and performance of Rice’s OpenSLS platform, an open-source device similar to commercially available selective laser sintering (SLS) platforms, are described in an open-access paper published in PLOS ONE.

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NCSU Hosts One-Day Introduction to Open Source

Christine Hall | Foss Force | February 1, 2017

It’s something of a grand experiment and it’s being being hosted this weekend on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. What it is might be called a miniconference, but let’s not call it that. “Mini” indicates smallness, and there’s nothing small about this event, even if it is only a single day affair. Let’s call it a full fledged conference. The students attending will like that. It’ll make them feel important and so grown-up — which they are, actually...

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New Open Source Program Director Supports Students' Passions at the Rochester Institute of Technology

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is well-known for its work in open source software through [email protected] In April 2014, RIT started to offer a minor in free and open source software. Students work on several different open source projects in their GitHub organization. One of the courses in the minor, Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Development, has students work with the One Laptop per Child XO laptops. Students create games that help teach New York and Massachusetts fourth grade math curriculum. Dan Schneiderman is the new head of the [email protected] program at RIT...

Nigerian Inventor Creates Computer That Can Smell Explosives and Cancer Cells

Peter Pedroncelli | AFK Insider | September 1, 2017

Nigerian inventor Oshiorenoya Agabi has designed and developed a computer that can identify the smell of explosives and cancer cells through a combination of neurons and silicon. The Nigerian neuroscientist, who is based in Silicon Valley, unveiled his incredible invention at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania this week...

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Obliterate the Cost of Consumer Products with Open Hardware

If you're looking for free and open source designs to replicate on your desktop 3D printer, you have about two million choices. Because the open source ethic is rooted so deeply in the 3D printing community, many of the consumer products you would normally buy are already among those millions of predesigned products. You can download the designs and save a lot of money. My group has shown in studies in both 2013 (on a self-built 3D printer) and 2017 (on an out-of-the box 3D printer) that peer-to-peer sharing prosumers (producing consumers) gain an incredible return on investment: > 100% at minimum and more likely ~1000% by 3D printing products to offset purchases only once a week...

Open Human Augmentation Focus of Penguicon 2015 Conference

The Penguicon 2015 theme is human augmentation. The lines between science fiction and reality are growing thinner because of bright minds and innovators who focus on improving people’s lives. For instance, prosthetics that once cost thousands of dollars can be now printed with open source designs for less than a lunch for four at a decent restaurant. We’re even controlling them with impulses from our brains! People are either wearing devices that make them more powerful, efficient, or aware—or implanting tech directly into their bodies. As we become more like machines, we’ll explore some of those emerging technologies and talk to people who are actively developing them, like e-NABLE...

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Open Is the Solution to Improving 21st Century Education

Much of the Internet runs Linux and open source software, yet in most of our schools—whether PK-12 or higher education—Linux and open source software are given short shrift. Linux has made serious inroads on hand-held devices, the desktop, and the Internet of things (IoT) that use platforms such as Raspberry Pi, Galileo, and Arduino. Despite this astounding growth, a relatively small number of secondary and post-secondary schools offer technology training that prepares students for increasingly in-demand technical skills. The growth of the maker movement and the concurrent interest in STEM skills, which include coding and ethical hacking, may provide a much-needed impetus to change this trend. The problem for most schools is finding the mentors and exemplars of this paradigm...

Open Source Tech Revolutionizes Water Pollution Testing Equipment

Press Release | Michigan Technological University | August 5, 2015

High nitrate levels in water cause the dead zones in the world’s largest deltas. Using too much nitrogen fertilizer wastes resources and leads to nitrate in runoff and water wells and an excess of nitrate in drinking water is a health hazard to infants and harmful to many animals. Current portable nitrate testers range in price and accuracy, from ballpark data at low price points to several hundred dollars for a handheld photometer. This new design is palm-sized, interfaces with a free Android app, costs less than $65 to manufacture and uses green chemistry for a safer and more accurate testing procedure. “This is a Popeye-approved reagent methodology,” Pearce jokes, adding that the enzyme used in the test kit is found in spinach and other leafy greens. “We’re replacing a toxic heavy metal with something that you eat every day in your salad.”

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Researchers At Carnegie Mellon University Use Open Source 3D Printers To Rebuild Damaged Hearts

Press Release | Carnegie Mellon University | October 23, 2015

As of this month, over 4,000 Americans are on the waiting list to receive a heart transplant. With failing hearts, these patients have no other options; heart tissue, unlike other parts of the body, is unable to heal itself once it is damaged. Fortunately, recent work by a group at Carnegie Mellon could one day lead to a world in which transplants are no longer necessary to repair damaged organs. "We've been able to take MRI images of coronary arteries and 3-D images of embryonic hearts and 3-D bioprint them with unprecedented resolution and quality out of very soft materials like collagens, alginates and fibrins," said Adam Feinberg, an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Rice U. Lab Creates Open-Source Optogenetics Hardware, Software

Press Release | Rice University | November 7, 2016

Nobody likes a cheater, but Rice University bioengineering graduate student Karl Gerhardt wants people to copy his answers. That’s the whole point. Gerhardt and Rice colleagues have created the first low-cost, easy-to-use optogenetics hardware platform that biologists who have little or no training in engineering or software design can use to incorporate optogenetics testing in their labs. Rice’s Light Plate Apparatus (LPA) is described in a paper available for free online this week in the open-access journal Scientific Reports...

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Social Medicine 2.0—Can You Use Crowdsourcing to Give Your Medical Device a Leg Up?

Nigel Syrotuck | MDDI | July 7, 2017

Online crowdsourcing communities are a game changer. These platforms allow anyone to appeal to the entire connected world for support or participation. They get many of us to participate—Kickstarter processed just shy of $500 million dollars in 2014. Most interesting, at least to me, are platforms for crowdsourcing information. These make up the next generation of online forums, ranging from chat forums to open source hardware development...

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The Story of Ultimaker: 3D Printers with Open Source DNA

Today we're seeing open hardware projects and businesses succeed for the first time in history. Why, and what do they look like? The story of the Ultimaker and its user community proves that being open is in fact sustainable and may even go a step further to say that that sharing and collaboration are genuine routes to innovation. Let's go back several years to a makerspace in Utrecht, a big city in the Netherlands. The founders of Ultimaker, a premium 3D printer manufacturer, were inspired by the potential of 3D printing, and experimenting with the open source designs of the RepRap project...