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Scientists love open-source hardware

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

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

Summary[edit | edit source]

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.

Share, and We All Grow Richer[edit | edit source]

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

Examples[edit | edit source]

Open source scientific hardware is open source hardware used by scientists to do research or for education. This gallery and associated sub-pages are an extension of the book the Open Source Lab, which is about how to make scientific equipment following open source principles. Click on the hyperlinks under the images in this index to go to pages with hundreds of examples.


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

See also[edit | edit source]

In the News[edit | edit source]