Sewing Circle Mentality In Technology
How many times have you used a pattern, a recipe, or done a craft, and changed a couple of the ingredients or the materials to fit your needs? Well, it's no different with hardware.
Many companies are selling components (like a 3D printer) and then give the schematics, diagrams, and programming code away for free. We've seen this recently with the open-source loom (OSLOOM) and with Burda-Style's open-source sewing. Giving away the schematics may not seem like a profitable idea, but it is!
This "free-style" approach gives you, the consumer, all the information you need to make whatever modifications you want to your device. Of course, like anything, you'll need the skills and knowledge to make these modifications.
Luckily, learning about open-source hardware is only a click away, as part of the open source "code of honor," as I like to put it, is to build a community around the product. Think of it like a sewing circle of mechanics and engineers, everyone has their own agenda but is also there to help and contribute. As long as you reach out, you'll never be left alone.
Above: Limor Fried's Minty Boost, a DIY USB Charger for cell phone.
Recently, LadyAda (Limor Fried) and Phil Torrone (Senior Editor of Make Magazine) spoke at a fast paced technology talk called Foo Camp about what companies are making money using open-source hardware methods. Watch Below: