Open Hardware Camp in London on December 4

Via Vinay Gupta:

Open Hardware Camp

Collaborative Strategies and Challenges of Making Things the Open Source Way

Organized by: 40Fires in partnership with Nesta

Location: Nesta HQ

Date: 4th of December

Time: 10:00 – 20:00

This is an event to bring key projects, their participants and stakeholders together in the emerging field of Open Hardware development, organized by 40Fires in partnership with Nesta.

The 40Fires Foundation is a forum to develop energy-efficient cars, and other sustainable products, using an open source approach.

The event aims to inform participants about Open Hardware, to be a space to discuss and learn and to explore practical solutions and potential collaborations to help Open Hardware work better, for a better world.


Open Hardware has become the next frontier in innovation, research and the development of computer and electronics hardware and machinery.

It name is derived from Open Source Software, because it is similar in many ways: the hardware is free for anyone to modify and build upon by a virtual community of contributors.

It follows a broader trend to open up innovation, product research and development. This is called by various names including open innovation, open design, crowd-sourcing or co-creation. Needless to say the degree of sharing Intellectual Property varies hugely amongst these concepts and some might argue is at times far away from Open Source.

Today decentralized groups of often hundreds of individuals, not tied into the traditional hierarchy of a corporation, are producing high quality software. However the development of physical objects is a very different proposition. The biggest difference is perhaps that changes, enhancements and modifications cannot be instantly tested. Ultimately, new designs need to be built into prototypes which requires investment.

There are now a number of nascent businesses that are exploring these questions. They are developing new and creative ways to adapt the Open Source approach to the world of hardware, developing chips, mobile phones and cars. There various motivations for companies to use this approach including speeding up innovation, lowering costs and fostering wide spread adoption of the product. Even attracting competition has its advantages – as the number of products being made increases, component costs fall.


Questions the event will address are:

– what are successful strategies to form communities of engineers and tinkerers to collaboratively develop and design hardware;

– how can we foster the creation of an Open Source like ecology where altruistic, pragmatic and economic incentives coalesce in the production of complex physical objects –

– in Open Source the GPL (General Pubic License) has played a key role in binding communities together through ensuring that enhancements are kept ‘open’. How can a GPL equivalent work for hardware and what are the right legal strategies to ensure sustainability of collaboration.


The structure of the event resembles in part a Bar Camp where participants self-organize into groups according to their common interests. At the same time we have invited a few OS hardware projects to present what they do and how.

If you want to suggest a topic for one of the open sessions send an email to info at

There will also be a few tinkerers and makers present who will have chips, sensors, robots and other pieces of electric joinery to build upon.


9.30 – 10.00 am – Registration


10am to 10.15 am – Meet and Greet

Welcome – David Simoes Brown (Nesta), Roland Harwood (Nesta),

Patrick Andrews (40Fires).


10.15 – 11.15 am – Open Hardware Intro: Overview of projects, techniques, business models

Intro and Moderation: Christian Ahlert OpenBusiness/40Fires

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino– The Case of Arduino

Francesco d’Orazio – From Crowd Sourcing, over Co-Creation to Open Hardware

Adrian Bowyer – The RepRap Project and its Community

Q & A


11.15 – 11.30 am– Coffee Break

11.30 – 12.15am

The case of Open Car Design

Hugo Spowers, Patrick Andrews– Riversimple/40 Fires

C, MM,N (TBC) – Jacco Lammers



12.15 – 1.30 am lunch break


1.30 – 3.00 am Open Sessions

Participants can free-form groups according to their interest. For example participants interested in co-creation techniques can gather in one room, as can participants interested in OS car development to discuss topics


3.00 – 3.45 Open Hardware Licensing

Andrew Katz – A framework for open licensing of hardware

Patrick Andrews – 40 Fires

Q & A


4.00 – 8.00 pm Networking and Open Hack Space

This is time for the projects and its participants to network, meet collaborators and also tinker with hardware.

The London Hackspace and others provide room for live hacking of Open Hardware.

TBC – Launch of ‘The Open100’ and re-launch

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