Open Source Hardware will revolutionize the way we learn Electronics
At CircuitsToday , our vision is to freely distribute electronics knowledge. Now that means, we want any one with an interest in electronics to learn as much as he would like. We make this easy by giving away free content in the form of practical circuits and theoretical explanation. In a way we can be called as an but not exactly! We have not associated this website with any open source movement so far. For all these years we were focused on developing analog circuits and theory of basic electronics concepts and we are not done yet! We will still continue our expedition in the analog world but at the same time we are looking forward. We see things are changing!
What’s on the cards?
We are on way to launch a new Q&A platform on CircuitsToday with a modern user interface. The software development is going on and we will be back with new QA section in the coming months. This QA platform will be having a neat, modern user interface. We also expect it to be well built, so that spammers wont disturb our discussions.
Open Source Hardware (OSHW) movement is what I am talking about. It’s not a new concept, many of you guys may already be involved (or aware of) in this movement. For the newbies who still find a little confused with OSHW terminology, I will give a briefing. Open Source Hardware is pretty same in concept with Open Source Software movement. In the case of operating systems, Linux is open source where as Microsoft Windows is not! If you go for Linux – you will get it’s source code and you can modify the operating system on your own ideas and you can redistribute the same. In the case of Windows, you wont get its source code and any attempt to modify/tweak Windows is considered illegal because their source codes are protected by IP (Intellectual Property) laws and patents. Similar is the case in hardware. You are not supposed to tweak/modify an Apple Iphone. Even an Iphone is considered illegal. No way you will ever get the design schematics of it’s hardware! In the case of Open Source Hardware, you will get access to complete documentation (layouts, schematics, software codes) of the device you purchase and you can modify the device on your own (to any extent) and you can freely redistribute the device (in your own brand name). I hope you now got an idea about OSHW movement. It’s quite interesting – rite ?
Now comes the questions – where can I find an open source device ? How can I work upon it? How can I buy one? The best example I can suggest now is about Arduino . Arduino is a single board micro controller (using Atmel AVR) – which can sense it’s surrounding environment using many sensors (to get input) and control many output devices (based on input) such as lights, motors and actuators. It’s an open source project and all the documentation is available in their website ( http://www.arduino.cc/ ). You can either buy the hardware or you can make your own by assembling the circuitry as given in the website.
Now Arduino – is just one kid of the many out there. You can read about 13 OSHW companies that make over 1 million US Dollar revenue here :- Now that article has a great 5 minute video by Limor Fried – the founder of AdaFruit – (an OSHW educational products vendor in USA). I am listing the video below here for your easy access. Do watch!
Okay! Now we have got some basic knowledge about OSHW and the many products/companies involved in this movement. What you feel or think about it now? What I feel is, it can revolutionize the way we learn hardware, the way we approach hardware, the way we make hardware. Just like open source software movement revolutionized the way we learn software – this movement will definitely democratize the way we learn hardware. What I see is people making embedded systems – just like they make softwares independently.
Seeing this as a great initiative towards the future of electronics education, we are also going to be a part of OSHW movement. From here on, you can expect content from our side focused on OSHW. As part of this we are going to make our website a part OSHW movement and with time we will rework on all our existing circuits to meet the quality standards of an OSHW website. This “rework” basically means, we will test all of them once again, correcting its errors and fine tune it, make photographs and videos of working prototype and finally a PCB layout will also be added to each and every circuit. This will be a long process and it will take lots of time. We respect your valuable feedback on every circuit we publish and we will be grateful to you all.
Let’s work together to build a great community!