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Open-design movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RepRap general-purpose 3D printer that not only could be used to make structures and functional components for open-design projects but is an open-source project itself
Uzebox is an open-design video game console.[1]
Bug Labs open source hardware[2][3]
Zoybar open source guitar kit with 3-D printed body[4]

The open-design movement involves the development of physical products, machines and systems through use of publicly shared design information. This includes the making of both free and open-source software (FOSS) as well as open-source hardware. The process is generally facilitated by the Internet and often performed without monetary compensation. The goals and philosophy of the movement are identical to that of the open-source movement, but are implemented for the development of physical products rather than software.[5] Open design is a form of co-creation, where the final product is designed by the users, rather than an external stakeholder such as a private company.



Sharing of manufacturing information can be traced back to the 18th and 19th century.[6][7] Aggressive patenting put an end to that period of extensive knowledge sharing.[8] More recently, principles of open design have been related to the free and open-source software movements.[9] In 1997 Eric S. Raymond, Tim O'Reilly and Larry Augustin established "open source" as an alternative expression to "free software", and in 1997 Bruce Perens published The Open Source Definition. In late 1998, Dr. Sepehr Kiani (a PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT) realized that designers could benefit from open source policies, and in early 1999 he convinced Dr. Ryan Vallance and Dr. Samir Nayfeh of the potential benefits of open design in machine design applications.[10] Together they established the Open Design Foundation (ODF) as a non-profit corporation, and set out to develop an Open Design Definition.[10]

The idea of open design was taken up, either simultaneously or subsequently, by several other groups and individuals. The principles of open design are closely similar to those of open-source hardware design, which emerged in March 1998 when Reinoud Lamberts of the Delft University of Technology proposed on his "Open Design Circuits" website the creation of a hardware design community in the spirit of free software.[11]

Ronen Kadushin coined the title "Open Design" in his 2004 Master's thesis, and the term was later formalized in the 2010 Open Design Manifesto.[12]

Current directions

Open Source Ecology, open source farming and industrial machinery

The open-design movement currently unites two trends. On one hand, people apply their skills and time on projects for the common good, perhaps where funding or commercial interest is lacking, for developing countries or to help spread ecological or cheaper technologies. On the other hand, open design may provide a framework for developing advanced projects and technologies that might be beyond the resource of any single company or country and involve people who, without the copyleft mechanism, might not collaborate otherwise. There is now also a third trend, where these two methods come together to use high-tech open-source (e.g. 3D printing) but customized local solutions for sustainable development.[13] Open Design holds great potential in driving future innovation as recent research has proven that stakeholder users working together produce more innovative designs than designers consulting users through more traditional means.[14] The open-design movement may arguably organize production by prioritising socio-ecological well-being over corporate profits, over-production and excess consumption.[15]

Open machine design as compared to open-source software


The open-design movement is currently fairly nascent but holds great potential for the future. In some respects design and engineering are even more suited to open collaborative development than the increasingly common open-source software projects, because with 3D models and photographs the concept can often be understood visually. It is not even necessary that the project members speak the same languages to usefully collaborate.[citation needed]

However, there are certain barriers to overcome for open design when compared to software development where there are mature and widely used tools available and the duplication and distribution of code cost next to nothing. Creating, testing and modifying physical designs is not quite so straightforward because of the effort, time and cost required to create the physical artefact; although with access to emerging flexible computer-controlled manufacturing techniques the complexity and effort of construction can be significantly reduced (see tools mentioned in the fab lab article).


VIA OpenBook reference design CAD visualisation

Open design was considered in 2012 a fledgling movement consisting of several unrelated or loosely related initiatives.[16] Many of these organizations are single, funded projects, while a few organizations are focusing on an area needing development. In some cases (e.g. Thingiverse for 3D printable designs or Appropedia for open source appropriate technology) organizations are making an effort to create a centralized open source design repository as this enables innovation.[17] Notable organizations include:

See also



  1. ^ "Uzebox - The ATMega Game Console". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28.
  2. ^ "Evaluation + Tools + Best Practices: BugLabs and Open-Source Hardware Innovation". Worldchanging. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  3. ^ "First Pics of Bug Labs Open-Source Hardware". TechCrunch. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  4. ^ Sorrel, Charlie (2013-03-28). "Zoybar | Gadget Lab". Wired. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  5. ^ "Open collaborative design". AdCiv. 2010-07-29. Archived from the original on 2019-06-29. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  6. ^ Nuvolari, Alessandro 2004. Collective Invention during the British Industrial Revolution: The Case of the Cornish Pumping Engine. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 28, nr. 3: 347–363.
  7. ^ Allen, Robert C. 1983. Collective Invention. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 4, no. 1: 1–24.
  8. ^ Bessen, James E. and Nuvolari, Alessandro, Knowledge Sharing Among Inventors: Some Historical Perspectives (2012, forthcoming). In: Dietmar Harhoff and Karim Lakhani eds., Revolutionizing Innovation: Users, Communities and Open Innovation. Cambridge: MIT Press. Pre-Print: Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 11-51; LEM Working Paper 2011/21. Available at http://www.bu.edu/law/faculty/scholarship/workingpapers/documents/BessenJ-NuvolariA101411fin.pdf Archived 2013-02-28 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Vallance, Kiani and Nayfeh, Open Design of Manufacturing Equipment, CIRP 1st Int. Conference on Agile, 2001
  10. ^ a b R. Ryan Vallance, Bazaar Design of Nano and Micro Manufacturing Equipment, 2000
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-10-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Alexander Vittouris, Mark Richardson. "Designing for Velomobile Diversity: Alternative opportunities for sustainable personal mobility" Archived 2012-09-16 at the Wayback Machine. 2012.
  13. ^ J. M Pearce, C. Morris Blair, K. J. Laciak, R. Andrews, A. Nosrat and I. Zelenika-Zovko, “3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development”, Journal of Sustainable Development 3(4), pp. 17-29 (2010). [1]
  14. ^ Mitchell, Val; Ross, Tracy; Sims, Ruth; Parker, Christopher J. (2015). "Empirical investigation of the impact of using co-design methods when generating proposals for sustainable travel solutions". CoDesign. 12 (4): 205–220. doi:10.1080/15710882.2015.1091894.
  15. ^ Kostakis, Vasilis; Niaros, Vasilis; Giotitsas, Chris (2023-06-30). "Beyond global versus local: illuminating a cosmolocal framework for convivial technology development". Sustainability Science. ISSN 1937-0709.
  16. ^ Thomas J. Howard, Sofiane Achiche, Ali Özkil and Tim C. McAloone, Open Design And Crowdsourcing: Maturity, Methodology And Business Models, International Design Conference - Design 2012, Dubrovnik - Croatia, May 21–24, 2012.open access
  17. ^ Pearce J., Albritton S., Grant G., Steed G., & Zelenika I. 2012. A new model for enabling innovation in appropriate technology for sustainable development Archived 2012-11-22 at the Wayback Machine. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 8(2) Published online Aug 20, 2012. open access
  18. ^ "Elektor FAQ Elektor". Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  19. ^ "littleBits: DIY Electronics For Prototyping and Learning". Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Home". Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  21. ^ "Open Source Ecology". Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Solar cells". Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Home". Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  24. ^ http://www.applied-sciences.net/library/data/zoetrope-wind-turbine.pdf [bare URL PDF]
  25. ^ "Wind Turbine". Retrieved 16 April 2015.