Open source hardware refers to computer and electronic hardware that is designed in the same fashion as free and open-source software. Open source hardware is part of the open source culture that takes the open source ideas to fields other than software. An example of this is the Simputer project.
Some of the impetus for the development of open source hardware was initiated in 2002 through the Challenge to Silicon Valley issued by Kofi Annan . Because the nature of hardware is different than software, and because the concept of open source hardware is relatively new, no exact definition of open source hardware has emerged.
Because hardware has direct variable costs associated with it, no open source software definition can directly be applied without modification. Instead, the term open source hardware has primarily been used to reflect the use of free/open source software with the hardware and the free release of information regarding the hardware, often including the release of schematics, design, sizes and other information about the hardware. In anyway, it includes the hardware design and element distribution on the motherboard (i.e. a notebook where one can replace elements).
With the rise of reconfigurable logic devices, the sharing of logic designs is also a form of open source hardware. Instead of sharing the schematics, HDL code is shared. This is different from free/open source software. HDL descriptions are commonly used to set up SoC systems either in FPGAs or directly in ASIC designs. HDL modules, when distributed, are called semiconductor intellectual property cores, or IP cores.
Notable projects and collectionsEdit
- The RepRap Project: An open source, self-replicating 3D printer
- Fab@Home - An open source Desktop manufacturing system
Computers and Computer ComponentsEdit
- Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple I/O board and a development environment that implements the open source Processing / Wiring language.
- OpenSPARC is a project with an already created UltraSPARC T1 multicore chip by Sun Microsystems. Sun's OpenSPARC
- Open OEM - Project to build the first open source computer 
- OpenRISC is a group of developers working to produce a very high performance open source RISC CPU.
- OpenBook - tablet design positioning between $100 laptop and consumer Tablet PC which wants allow tablet usage to masses by high volume production
- Simputer - handheld computer aimed at developing countries
- LEON is an open source 32-bit RISC CPU.
- Open Graphics Project aims to design an open architecture and standard for graphics cards.
- BalloonBoard.org produces open arm-based development boards, aimed at OEMs and Further Education.
- ECB_AT91 - Single-board computer based on the Atmel AT91RM9200 ARM9 processor (180MHz).
- Open Hardware (OH) is a project in which hardware designers share their work by disclosing the schematics and software (drivers) used in their designs. Open hardware designers meet, discuss what they are doing and ask each other for assistance in finding parts, or seek ideas to solve design problems. OH is also an opportunity to exhibit designs, so some may learn from what others have done.
- OpenCores is a foundation that attempts to form a community of designers to support open-source cores (logic designs) for CPUs, peripherals and other devices. OpenCores maintains an open-source on-chip interconnection bus specification called Wishbone.
- Opencellphone.org - also called 'TuxPhone'
- OpenMoko - open phone framework (first use case: FIC neo1973, expected in Q1, 2007)
- OScar (open source car) : OScar is the first attempt to design an entire car using open source principles.
- Open Source Velomobile Development Project : build your own velomobile
- RONJA - Open source Free Space Optic system, DIY in a garage, 10Mbps full duplex/1.4km
- Neuros "Open Source Device" an open source set-top box type device designed to serve as a low cost Linux "media center"
- Chumby - 'Glancable' information device
- OpenStim: The Open Noninvasive Brain Stimulator
- gEDA - full GPL'd suite of Electronic Design Automation tools.
- OpenEEG - creating a low cost EEG device and free software to go with it. 
- Open-rTMS - creating a low cost rTMS device and free software to go with it. 
- Daisy - An open source MP3 player 
- OSMC - An open source Motor Control project, meant primarily for robotics but applicable to low-power electric vehicles and other uses 
- openECGproject - developing an open source, low cost, and clinically functional electrocardiography solution. 
- Free Hardware Design - Past, Present, Future by Graham Seaman
- Free hardware projects
- Open source
- Open source software
- Free software
- Open design - open-source physical design with a wider focus
- Open content
- Free content
- Electronic design automation
- Lee Felsenstein, founder of the Homebrew Computer Club, based on Ivan Illich's Tools for Conviviality
- vlsi chip design and development
- Open Directory: Computers: Hardware: Open Source
- The open-source Electroencephalography project
- Openhardware's Kernel Accelerator Device
- Debian Open Hardware at Open Collector
- Embedded Linux/Microcontroller Project
- OpenBook Project - open hardware and open software tablet project
- Freedom CPU
- Gaisler research
- Sun's OpenSPARC
- DebianWiki page about Open hardware.
- Open-source fusor research
- Open Circuits wiki
- Open dildonics
- open source LEON2 processor
- Wired:Open Source Everywhere
- Open Hardware
- Neuros Open Source Approach to Hardware... Newsforge
- Homebrew and How the Apple Came to Be by Stephen Wozniak
- Simply RISC S1 Core (EETimes article)
- OpenTech - compiling open hardware designs and free design tools to one package for hardware designers.
- The Open Prosthetics Project- A Prosthetics designed with open source principles.
- The Open Source Gift Guide: Open source hardware, software, and more for the holidays!
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