What is Open Hardware?


Open hardware is a category of devices, often very small and inexpensive, that are licensed so that users are able to use, copy, and adapt them however they want. The hardware design, along with any driving software, are typically all released as an open-source package. Although open hardware is not as well known as open software, there are several promising open hardware projects (e.g., Arduino, FreeRunner), in which users share information about how to build their own boards with the possibility of adapting or modifying them to specific user needs. The wide availability of small, low cost sensors such as accelerometers; GPS; pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors; cameras in a variety of spectrums; and even more, makes open hardware a very promising and inexpensive way to both innovate and teach concepts with real-world applications.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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