Building research equipment with free, open-source hardware

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Wanted: Graduate students interested in making a solar-powered open-source 3-D printing and distributed manufacturing future. Contact: Professor Joshua Pearce

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Scientists love open-source hardware

Contents

[edit] Building Research Equipment with Free, Open-Source Hardware

Open-source Lab

Pearce, Joshua M. 2012. “Building Research Equipment with Free, Open-Source Hardware.Science 337 (6100): 1303–1304.

  • DOI: 10.1126/science.1228183

[edit] Summary

Most experimental research projects are executed with a combination of purchased hardware equipment, which may be modified in the laboratory and custom single-built equipment fabricated inhouse. However, the computer software that helps design and execute experiments and analyze data has an additional source: It can also be free and open-source software (FOSS). FOSS has the advantage that the code is openly available for modification and is also often free of charge. In the past, customizing software has been much easier than custom-building equipment, which often can be quite costly because fabrication requires the skills of machinists, glassblowers, technicians, or outside suppliers. However, the open-source paradigm is now enabling creation of open-source scientific hardware by combining 3D printing with open-source microcontrollersW running on FOSS. These developments are illustrated below by several examples of equipment fabrication that can better meet particular specifications at substantially lower overall costs.

[edit] Share, and We All Grow Richer

Pearce, Joshua M. Share, and We All Grow Richer, The Analytical Scientist, Issue #0213, Article #301 (2013).

  • Free and open-source scientific hardware has the potential to liberate collective intelligence and cut costs

[edit] Examples

For a collection of free and open-source scientific hardware see this collection on Thingiverse or this for a collection specifically focused on optics.

For more printable open-source scientific equipment see the Learning Category at Thingiverse or any of the subcategories including engineering, math, physics, and biology.

[edit] See also

[edit] In the News