Open-Source Hardware Fosters Better Innovation, CEO Says
You've surely heard of open-source software, but did you know there's also something called "open-source hardware"?
Open-source hardware refers to the sharing of information about hardware design and function. It's a way to crowdsource the creation of a product or a device and benefit from the shared wisdom of the group.
One New York-based company, called Bug Labs, offers a modular, open-source platform that innovators can use to build complete, FCC-certified, wireless electronic prototypes in hours for less than $2,000.
The company says that the ability to create new devices not only changes the economics of hardware innovation for consumers, but also has the potential to solve problems plaguing industries like energy and health care. Smart meters for home automation and devices that allow for remote patient care are a few examples.
Peter Semmelhack, CEO of Bug Labs, says the Bug System offers integrated hardware, software and cloud-based solutions that allow customers to leverage the collective power of real-time, connected devices to generate faster and more insightful business decisions and make their product innovation a reality.
Semmelhack gives us a few reasons thatopen source can foster better innovation.
Accessibility — Open-source hardware allows your platform to be more accessible to your consumers. Open-source consumers have more knowledge of the product and more independence in how they use it.
Innovation — Open-source hardware is available for others to modify, remanufacture and redistribute. This allows for improvements to the design of the original product, while creating more possibilities for new products.
Succeed or fail faster — Open-source hardware allows you to bring your product to market in less time for less money. Information on how to develop open-source products is more accessible, which drives competition, in turn driving down cost.
Broad investment — Open-source hardware products are developed and invested in by a large community, not just a select few, so consumers have an incentive to work with a product. For example, in a platform-based system such as Bug Labs, our developer community can create "daughter" products leading to more sales of the original Bug Labs platform.
Collaboration — The open-source movement is fundamentally collaborative in nature, meaning that you are exposed to an increase in ideas, encouragement, inspiration and opportunities for innovation. Open-source lets your imagination run wild, while offering access to technical support from the open-source community. OpenHardwareSummit