(04/17/12) Agam Shah
A group of technologists recently established the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHA) to promote the creation and sharing of hardware or electronic designs. OSHA aims to foster growth in the open source hardware movement. Open source hardware is similar to open source software because designs can be applied to commercial applications from which companies can make money. "It has many similar principals of open source software, but differs because hardware is a different beast [with] different methods, formats, and issues than software," says OSHA founder Alicia Gibb. She says OSHA will host the annual Open Hardware Summit conference, which will act as a forum for technology professionals to discuss devices, manufacturing, design, business, and law. "We publish all the files needed to improve, make derivatives, or re-manufacture the things built," Gibb says. Many open source hardware projects are based on the Arduino microcontroller, which serves as a prime example of how open source hardware works. The open source hardware movement also has received support from organizations such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research. "Many open source hardware projects will not be the type of thing that are eligible for copyright protection," notes Public Knowledge attorney Michael Weinberg.
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