The COVID-19 pandemic has created chaos in many areas of business besides healthcare. Hardware developers have worked hard to make open source technology to support frontline services, but despite their best intentions, the hardware doesn’t always feel so open. This interesting information came to us from EurekAlert! in their article, “Tech giant technology is ‘open source’ for the pandemic, so why does it feel so closed?

Recently a paper was published by a group of physicists from the University of Bath in The Design Journal. According to the group, the pandemic has highlighted flaws in a system that forces research groups around the world to start from scratch every time a tweak needs to be made to an existing instrument, simply because they can’t get their hands on the original designs.

Open source hardware is when the design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.

Melody K. Smith

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