While working with @mathew on cutting out some new spectrometer prototypes, an interesting question came up:
What kind of design strategies for DIY Kits are best for community engagement?
There seem to be at least two dimensions to this question:
How easy is it to 1) build your own tool form scratch; or 2) modify the tool?
Apparently, open source hardware designers think about this a lot, and now that I'm tuned into this question, I can see why. The first version of the Public Lab spectrometer was designed to be made out of cheap, readymade items like conduit boxes that are easily obtainable around the world. This can be referred to as a "found object" strategy, which can reduce barriers to getting started. The new version is designed to be cut out of paper, which is more complicated to replicate from the ground up but is arguably easy to modify/add to it with little bits of paper. This can be referred to as a "crafty" strategy".
Which of these two design strategies do you think is most engaging for you, "found object" or "crafty"?
Check out the examples below and answer in the comments!
Two notable hacks on found object conduit box spectrometer housings:
Chris Fastie's "Ebert", from http://publiclab.org/notes/cfastie/2-19-2013/ebert
Scott Eustis' long range flare spectrometer, related note http://publiclab.org/notes/eustatic/07-31-2013/can-we-kick-it-yes-we-can-flickering-flare-signal :
Two notable hacks made from crafty paper spectrometer housings:
Marc Dusseiller's Hackteria version, via Facebook:
Jeff Warren's Oil Testing Kit prototypes, see publiclab.org/wiki/oil-testing-kit