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Open Source Technology Transfer
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  • January 1, 2013
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Everywhere Tech- Technology Transfer
Everywhere Tech’s mission is to facilitate open source technology transfer to help create resilient communities around the world. We do this by connecting universal open source hardware solutions with real-world needs.

Open source hardware is hardware whose 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, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs. — The Open Source Hardware Definition

One of the greatest promises of open source hardware (OSHW) is in allowing local production of goods when and where they are needed. While OSHW is already having an impact in several areas of manufacturing and encouraging local and distributed production, it hasn’t yet been effectively applied to assist communities with the most pressing needs, namely:

  • Underprivileged communities, which often struggle with poverty while having a wealth of natural resources at their disposal.
  • Disaster areas where goods and services that are normally taken for granted are no longer available and become of vital importance: power generators, connectivity, emergency medical devices, transportation, water testing/filtering devices, etc.

Several obstacles stand between open source hardware projects and the communities who need them the most: they don’t know that these solutions exist, they may not understand the language the plans are described in, they may not have the appropriate hardware/software to download and read the plans, they may not have the tools and materials nor the skills to build the devices.

The Everywhere Tech project seeks to address these challenges by facilitating open source technology transfer, with a focus on sharing plans and knowledge instead of delivering fully assembled devices/goods. If the knowledge and skills needed to build devices reside within the communities that use them this will ensure: replicability of the devices, longer lasting devices which can be locally repaired, solutions better adapted to available materials and uses.

2 Comments
Richard Collins

2013-01-16 10:09:41 Reply

Wonderful!!!
I love this very Promethean undertaking… Probably because it both seems like a very big task that has been at hand, awaiting our response for ages, AND completely technologically feasible. This and even a measly internet access to youtube from a sub-$100 pc/laptop for free education (I’ve been supplementing my expensive college experience with free nptel videos over breaks for example) should make up for the small gap that is left between troubleshooting and designing/contributing to OSHW.

I guess this post is my exploratory attempt to answer my own question which is this: Assuming bridging the language barrier isn’t nearly too hard in this world anymore, the biggest point that sticks out seems to be the vast wealth of information and the processing of it into applicable, timely, relevant solutions to real world problems such as disasters. Are you going to develop a set of pre-packaged ideas for each solution (Clean water, waste management, disaster cleanup, rebuilding of communication and transportation, management, etc.) on a tiered system, where you have the quick-and-dirty foxhole McGuiver-ing one’s set of Maslow’s pyramid back together, and then higher-skill-level applications for they who can handle it (professionals in the field) assuming the essentials are taken care of in a very basic level?

I don’t know. A million questions come up in my head, reading this (like how do you teach someone to account for the strength of materials used, and natural variations available in extreme situations). But in exploring these thoughts, I’m sure there’s a billion answers for each one that can come out of the simple combination of time and application.

    admin

    2013-02-01 20:32:06 Reply

    Hi Richard,

    Thank you for your input, your enthusiasm means a lot to me! There are many questions to tackle and we’ll have to get creative :) But I do love your suggestion of a set of modular tools (well, documentation on how to make those tools) which can be reconfigured according to the situation. Please let us know if you have any ideas on how to tackle all these challenges and if you want to get involved with the project. Can you drop us a line about what you’re working on via opensourceeverywheretech@gmail.com?

    Cheers,
    Catarina

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