I missed the Open Hardware Summit but by all accounts Bunnie Huang’s talk, “Why the Best Days of Open Hardware are Yet to Come” was an inspiring vision of a future where the little guy can compete with the tech giants.
Currently, open hardware is a niche industry. In this post, I highlight the trends that have caused the hardware industry to favor large, closed businesses at the expense of small or individual innovators. However, looking 20-30 years into the future, I see a fundamental shift in trends that can tilt the balance of power to favor innovation over scale.
The scene is set for the open hardware ecosystem to blossom over the next couple of decades, with some hard work and a bit of luck. The inevitable slowdown of Moore’s Law may spell trouble for today’s technology giants, but it also creates an opportunity for the fledgling open hardware movement to grow roots and be the start of something potentially very big. In order to seize this opportunity, today’s open hardware pioneers will need to set the stage by creating a culture of permissive standards and customs that can scale into the future.
I don’t think there’s a video of the talk, but you can read his blog post summarizing the talk or download bunnie’s OHWS slide deck.
Open Hardware Summit co-chair Alicia Gibb brought a wonderful surprise to this year’s event – handcrafted silver pendants made by her father, James Gibb. This is my new favorite necklace! James cut each of ten Open Hardware logo gears to make these beautiful pendants, wouldn’t you like one? Show support in the comments if you’d like to see these made more widely available.
Naturally, the logo design files are available in every imaginable format at the official OSHW logo repository.
News From The Future: QR Code Coins…
The Royal Dutch Mint have produced a limited edition of QR Coded coins to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Mint in Utrecht. The silver 5€ (image below) and the gold 10€ will be issued on June 22, 2011 when the Mint promises that if you scan the code “…you will be surprised at what you’ll see”. The code scans as http://www.q5g.nl and at the time of writing resolves to the Royal Dutch Mint’s non-mobile site. It will be interesting to see just how scannable the code really is in practice, given that the larger of the two coins is only 33 mm in diameter.
By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics
A mathematical haircut makes an unambiguous statement to the world that you love math. Here, Nick Sayers is sporting a rhombic coiffure with interesting geometric properties.
The obtuse angles of each rhombus meet in groups of three, but the acute angles meet in groups of five, six, or seven, depending on the curvature. In the flatter areas, they meet in groups of six, like equilateral triangles, and in the areas of strong positive curvature they meet in groups of five, but in the negatively curved saddle at the back of the neck, there is a group of seven.
To make your own, Nick suggests you use a rhombic paper template starting at the crown, work outwards, and make aesthetic decisions about the 5-, 6-, or 7-way joints depending on local curvature. This instance of the design was cut by Hannah Barker after a test version a couple of months earlier by Summer Makepeace.
Unless your application is critical, cheap liquid paint stripper from the hardware store (not the gel, paste, or color-changing varieties) is a fine substitute for commercial acrylic solvent cement. Comparing one MSDS to another, we see that each product is about 75 wt% dichloromethane (AKA methylene chloride), which is the “active ingredient” that softens the plastic and allows it to weld. Purpose-made acrylic solvent is a bit thinner, in my experience, and evaporates a little faster, and contains trace amounts of acrylic monomer that may result in a slightly stronger bond, but for most practical purposes I have not found these qualities to justify paying twice as much for it.
Whenever there’s an available surplus of watch parts it seems that makers tend to gravitate toward constructing vehicular creations: motorcycles, mopeds, etc. We’ve covered these kinds of slick, brassy machines in the past, and Blogger user 2nde VIE (2nd Life) follows where other such makers left off, but then veers into creature territory. He uses the discarded parts to make clockwork owls, turtles, and other entities bearing a whimsy that’s all their own. [via Recyclart]