2014 Open Hardware Summit Rome, Italy


Tinito writes,  ” I’m attending the Open Hardware Summit 2014 in Rome, and I wanted to share a few moments of it. Not actually a “live coverage” due to connectivity issues..”

David Cuartielles talking about the importance of people for the open hardware movement: open hardware is not useful by itself, its people making great things with open hardware, and releasing their project as open hardware, which are actually useful. “I do believe in people”, he says.


Phoenix Perry, founder of Code Liberation Foundation, explains that at the very beginning, computers were operated mainly by women, but later advertisement campaigns were mostly targeted at men, even with offending and misogynous images, like the four-breasted woman used by Sony France to promote the PS Vita. Now they are trying to bring computer programming back to women, with courses and a mentoring program.


Micah Elizabeth Scott from scanlime.org talks about hacking hardware creatively, with a very interesting comparison between the proprietary culture, which she sees as engineering, focused on performance and market requirements, and the open culture, compared to art: it’s more about creativity, knowledge, and more focused on people instead of market. Another great speech!


Albertas Mickenas (technarium.lt) had a very funny, yet really interesting, talk about DIY from the Soviet Union up to the Internet of things. He remembers when in the soviet union everything was crap, and “users had to provide the lifetime warranty”. For this reason, almost every product had public designs and schematics to support people in fixing them, and everyone was a maker, creating products often much better than the commercial ones.


Madeline Gannon and Zack Jacobson-Weaver talking about Robot-Op, a project to open industrial robotics: they developed an universal adapter, and a set of easy to use libraries, to operate industrial robots, allowing to test and use cheap end effectors instead of expensive industrial solutions.


Eric Pan from Seeed introduces the concept of “designing from manufacture”: instead of designing for manufacture, open hardware enables to build project exploiting existing designs, speeding up development time, reliability, and so on. Their Open Part Library is a good example: it allowed the Espruino project to go from design to 4k units manufactured in only 20 days!


Nick Ierodiaconou talks about the Wikihouse and Open Desk projects, which ease production of houses and furniture, bringing manufacturing near final customers thanks to digital fabrication technologies.


Nadya Peek speaking about the importance of components sourcing in open hardware projects: use common parts, avoid end-of-life components, and provide a BoM with detailed information and link to buy needed parts. Their MTM Snap desktop CNC miller is an example to follow!


Adrian Bowyer, creator of the RepRap project, talks about how self-replicating machines can give manufacturing a new life: if we design products that can replicate themselves, their diffusion will be much deeper and faster, creating new possibilities for many people. Another really thrilling talk, with a mixture of superb engineering knowledge and British humor. Loved it!

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