Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) recently held its Open Hardware Summit in Boston. For me this is one of the few times during the year that I get to hear about open source hardware projects directly from creators and users. It's also a fine time to play with some tech on location and network with people that have the DIY bug. Public Lab was in the mix with Jeff Warren talking up his reverse engineered toaster design for OSHWA's new certification process and Bronwen Densmore wielding the new community microscope kit. Here's some of my fave moments at the summit:
One of the top reasons to go to an Open Hardware Summit is to get the badge. This year Drew Fustini of OSH Park was on hand (with his purple nail polish!) handing out the smart purple boards sporting an ESP 32 and e-paper display. The pic at the top of the page shows Drew bootloading my personal badge (woot!). More details about the badge here.
Pre-Summit Workshop by Reaccion
Mario Gomez of Reaccion in El Salvador led an exciting workshop on creating a circuit board DIY style using a silkscreen template and solder paste. There were lots of tiny parts, but it was a great intro on how to operate without a pick-and-place machine. We were excited to watch our work bake in a toaster oven while Mario and his partner Emilio Velis explained their board's use as an open mesh network that can be used in an emergency situation by sending a color to someone else's unit. The colors would have an agreed upon meaning prior to an emergency, making this a simple system for communication. This workshop idea actually originated from a discussion led by Emilio at a recent Public Lab Barnraising in NJ organized around crisis convening, so it was nice to see it happen.
I remember when Jewelbots was just getting started on Kickstarter and I desperately wanted to wear one of the bracelets. The only problem is that I couldn't find a friend that lived close enough to me to trigger fun. Anyway, this wearable is now a thing making STEM everyday vocabulary. The bracelet encourages youth to learn Arduino programming and have fun connecting with friends. During the summit CEO Sara Chipps did a demo showing off the fine blinky, and now I'm wanting one all over again. Considering I talked my husband into attending the summit, I may now have a friend willing to connect?
Hackster's Open Source Love
Sometimes you need to be reminded of why you got involved with the open source community, and Hackster.io co-founder Adam Benzion did a fine job with his talk comparing the community with a "green park". Some of my fave principals he mentioned:
- You don't actually "own" the community
- Content is why people visit your park
- Get rid of trolls, no matter how brilliant
- Never break any law, or good taste or trust
- Don't be a beggar, money is existential
- Do good in this world. Diversity is everything!
Don't you wish everything worked this way? Of course being on this path and earning a living can be challenging, but the work being shared around the world is spectacular. More of this for the future, please.
After Party at Artisan's Asylum
Anyone into making should visit Artisan's Asylum in Boston--it's a giant makerspace filled with any craft, tech or art you'd imagine. Unapologetically, I spent most of my time talking environmental monitoring with Public Labber (and Artisan's resident) Don Blair (@donblair), so I'm lacking pics. Don is famous for working on the Riffle monitor and it was just great to share past tales, as well as new stories about the water monitor he is currently constructing. I did find time to visit SCUL bikes and witnessed the tweaking of a colorful twist of metal with bright tires for member "PastryQueen". People are still wondering how you climb up on these tall rigs. Also, I spotted the most adorable 2" mini video game arcade done by TinyCircuits, famous for TinyDuino. If you ever need small parts, you know who to poke.
Well, that's the wrap-up for this year. Trust me there was so much more, but I was listening so intently that I didn't manage to get photos. So, just know there were discussions on open hardware economics, processes for making almost anything, neural networks for Arduino, a Programmable-Air device and open source cosplay. Hope to see you next time since all levels of open hardware are welcome.
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