Michigan Tech Open Source Hardware Enterprise
Why is this a good idea? See:Building research equipment with free, open-source hardwareContact Dr. Pearce for more info.
 Michigan Tech Open Source Hardware Enterprise
The Open Source Hardware Enterprise (OSHE) will develop open source hardware solutions specifically to address problems of our project partners, while sharing the solutions in the commons. Open source hardware consists of physical technologies designed and offered in the same manner as free and open source software.
Enterprise Team - Michigan Tech Open Source Hardware Enterprise Faculty Advisor - Dr. Joshua Pearce Course Number - * Open Source Hardware - 82335 - ENT 2950 - L33 * Open Source Hardware - 82336 - ENT 2960 - L33 * Open Source Hardware - 85007 - ENT 3950 - L33 * Open Source Hardware - 85008 - ENT 3960 - L33 * Open Source H'dwe Pre-Capstone - 85011 - ENT 3980 - L33 * Open Source Hardware - 85012 - ENT 4900 - L33 * Open Source Hardware - 85013 - ENT 4910 - L33 * Open Source Hardware - 85009 - ENT 4950 - L33 * Open Source Hardware - 85010 - ENT 4960 - L33 Disciplines Needed - All welcome especially need MSE, MEEM, MTE, EE, CS, BA, STC
 Section 1: Development
What type of business, organization, or service will the new Enterprise Team pursue? (1-2 paragraphs)
- The Open Source Hardware Enterprise (OSHE) will develop open source hardware solutions specifically to address problems of our project partners, while sharing the solutions in the commons. Open source hardware consists of physical technologies designed and offered in the same manner as free and open source software. We will follow the design and service model made famous by the open source software company RedHat, which is now valued at a billion dollars. The examples of open source hardware companies like Arduino and Adafruit Industries have shown that the open source paradigm can also be ported to hardware while remaining highly productive and innovative. However, open source hardware is not a business model,in and of itself; it is a driver for innovation in business. The open source paradigm when applied to hardware accelerates innovation and enables companies to move faster and be more flexible than ever before.
- OSHE will build our enterprise by saving our clients money on development of integrated hardware and software solutions, savings which they can then invest hiring superior employees to build their necessary open source infrastructure in a non-propriety, heavily customized and flexible manner.
- The value of the open source hardware movement is clear with some of the leading American manufacturers taking a more active role. For example, Ford Motor Co., not only offers TechShop (an open source hardware group) memberships to employees, but also based their Open XC platform on Bug Labs, when is an open source platform that lets developers create phone apps to interact with Ford vehicles.
- Initially OSHE will focus on five design areas to improve STEM education with open source hardware: i) distributed technologies for recycling waste such as a glass crusher and tumbler, newspaper insulation shredder, and the plastic recyclebot developed by the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Research Group, ii) self-replicating rapid prototypers such as the RepRap 3D printer, iii) open source scientific hardware, iv) open source hardware to assist local food production, and v) the use of digital fabrication of open source appropriate technology (OSAT) through cooperation with industrial research and development and non-profit organizations.
Our mission is to link high school, college, and professional organizations through the development of open source hardware for the betterment of the entire world. Open source hardware consists of physical technologies designed and offered in the same manner as free and open source software. We will stimulate high school students' interest in the fields of science and technology via rapid prototyping education and competition. We will work toward improving i) distributed technologies for recycling waste such as a glass crusher and tumbler, newspaper insulation shredder, and the plastic recyclebot, ii) self-replicating rapid prototypers such as the RepRap 3D printer, iii) open source scientific hardware, iv) open source hardware to assist local food production, and v) the use of digital fabrication of open source appropriate technology (OSAT) through cooperation with industrial research and development, non-profit organizations, and investors. We will work to gain exposure to the industrial world and positively impact the community while conducting ourselves in a businesslike manner with gracious professionalism.
Source of Funding
- Grants (e.g. Ford Foundation)
- Crowd sourced funding (e.g. Kickstarter)
- Reducing costs of equipment for MTU faculty internally. Example: Dr. Pearce is currently building a sophisticated PV materials characterization device, which needs a filter wheel. A commercial filter wheel costs $2500. Dr. Pearce provides $2000 to OSHE to fund both the development of prototypes and a filter wheel for his lab. Preliminary work shows that a filter wheel can be fabricated using an Arduino and RepRap 3-D printer for less than $100. Dr. Pearce receives a 20% discount on his filter wheel and the ability to make future filter wheels for an astounding 96% discount. The designs are then open sourced so everyone else both at MTU or in the greater scientific community can have that same discount. This both ensures that the next time Dr. Pearce needs a filter wheel he will pay much less either by making the OSH version, which presumably would evolve to be even better in the open source design community or even if he chose a commercial version the price pressure from the open source community would help restrain price-gouging and profiteering on scientific equipment.
- Companies - primarily SMEs. For companies our approach will be to design and build an OSH product for less than they would spend on standard proprietary solution - and then offer that design into the open source community to have assistance with future improvements and support.
- Open source hardware competitions, call for solutions such as http://www.innocentive.com/ or http://www.openideo.com/
 Section 2: Educational Component
- What will MTU students learn by being part of the new Enterprise team? (2-3 paragraphs)
Enterprise is education had by doing. Students develop and execute business plans, acting as key stakeholders in their business. The open source hardware initiative has the whole spectrum of manufacturing to draw business plans from. Initially the focus will be limited to development of high value products (e.g. scientific equipment) from rapid prototyping and reuse of waste materials (e.g. glass, plastic and newspaper), but will expand into development of equipment to assist in local food production and open source appropriate technology for the global community. All of the designs will be open source, that is, they will be licensed in such way as to insure non-exclusivity. The designs will be the property of humanity.
Students will learn business imperatives by developing not only business plans, but also by designing, building and operating hardware that produces the objects of those business plans. The use of open source design in business is expanding rapidly and MTU students will gain first-hand experience with existing open source hardware and software solutions, learning the power and shortcomings of these offerings while developing their own solutions. They will employ knowledge and skill from their educational specialties towards the production of demonstrably working designs that produce high value products. Students will learn to work in multiple specialty functional groups, while also taking part in the overall operation of the business, just like a real manufacturing operation.
- How will students’ learning outcomes be measured? (1-2 paragraphs)
Delivery of the business plan. (They all take part in poster sessions where they present their project and outcomes.) Delivery of reports and prototypes to project partners -- and both formal (surveys) and informal feedback from the project partners on the student work. Delivery of open source designs and monitoring feedback from the open source community. These can include posting 3-D printable designs on Makerbot Industries' Thingiverse, OSAT on Appropedia, scientific equipment on Public Laboratory, software on SourceForge or GitHub and general designs at Make Magazine's Make Projects.
- From what disciplines will students come to join the new Enterprise Team?
ME, MSE, ECE, MTE, Econ, CEE
- What is the ideal number of students to begin the new Enterprise Team?
 Section 3: Finances
- Include preliminary operational budget for one year
- Discuss possible departmental or unit support for the proposed new Enterprise Team (1-2 paragraphs)
We have already submitted a grant for two of the projects that would cover preliminary operating expenses.
 Section 4: Computing and Space Considerations
- Discuss both first-year and long-term computing needs and office/workspace needs (2-3 paragraphs)
Initially, the team will need access to five computers and 3-D printers to start and then expand as projects continue. Initial computers could come from MTU discards brought back to life with less heavy/faster open source software (e.g. Linux).
Ideal space would include both an office for 5 people (e.g converted faculty office or close packed grad student office) - that could house the computers and the 'clean work' e.g. 3-d printing and a dirty space the size of a small lab (several hundred square feet) for doing projects like the newspaper shredding recycling.
The Enterprise team will also make use of existing facilities on campus such as the machine shops, characterization laboratories, and MOST's lab following standard protocols.
 To Apply
- Create a User Account here on Appropedia (see upper right hand corner of page)
- Post a Digital Resume -preferably with pics of past projects on your user page - or a link to your website.
- When complete send link of your userpage to Dr. Pearce via email.
 Useful things to read
| This page was developed by the Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab. |
and is part of our collection of Open Source Appropriate Technology on Appropedia.
Submit an OSAT design for the MOST 3-D Printers for Peace Contest and win a free 3-D printer.