What is Open Hardware?


Open hardware is a category of devices, often very small and inexpensive, that are licensed so that users are able to use, copy, and adapt them however they want. The hardware design, along with any driving software, are typically all released as an open-source package. Although open hardware is not as well known as open software, there are several promising open hardware projects (e.g., Arduino, FreeRunner), in which users share information about how to build their own boards with the possibility of adapting or modifying them to specific user needs. The wide availability of small, low cost sensors such as accelerometers; gps; pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors; cameras in a variety of spectrums; and even more, makes open hardware a very promising and inexpensive way to both innovate and teach concepts with real-world applications.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • Open Hardware can be used to create new tool for use in the library - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski
  • Students are seeking experiences that they are not getting the classroom, e.g.- history students are not learning technology in their classes, but they have interests and know that they need better tech skills for the job market. Libraries have an opportunity to fill this gap, and to apply our values of incusion and equity to this work. - askeyd askeyd Nov 2, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • add your response here
  • add your response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • Tools can be developed and very easy reused in different spaces. - patrick.danowski patrick.danowski
  • Libraries can achieve two ends at the same time. One is creating a new paracurricular learning stream for students; they want to engage with these technologies and need a place to do it that offers both materials and guidance. A nearly inevitable outcome of this is that library staff begin to see ways to use such devices to supplant and/or improve upon vendor-supplied devices in use in our space, e.g.- temperature and humidity sensors. Patrick noted this above, as well. The sky is really the limit. - askeyd askeyd Nov 2, 2016
  • These type of devices will allow libraries to prototype different technology driven applications and tools in the library environment, particularly where staff have developed their coding skills. - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?