Open source hardware flagged as model of the future

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Open source hardware flagged as model of the future

Simon Quicke

The concept of open source is well established in the software world but there are signs that there efforts being made to transfer that approach to the hardware sector.

The idea of open source hardware works by developing and sharing details of circuit boards right up to the idea of giving away devices to users for nothing.

The current champion of 'free' is author Chris Anderson who has just published a book on the way that economic models are changing pointing out that hardware is the next natural extension of the open source movement.

"You're likely familiar with the concept of open source software, but the new idea of extending that to hardware- from circuit boards all the way up to consumer electronic gadgets like Google's Android phone- is just now emerging," he writes in Free, the future of a radical price.

"The way most open source hardware companies work is this: All the plans, printed circuit board files, software, and instructions are free and available to all. If you want to build your own (or, even better, improve on a design), you're encouraged to do so. But if you don't want the hassle or risk of doing it yourself, you can buy a pre-made version that's guaranteed to work," he adds.

Some of the companies that have started in this space are making their money through license and certification fees that they charge the resellers that make and sell the boards.

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