The mechanics of sharing physical design information: an appeal for global cooperation

Jon Kuniholm of the Open Prosthetics project and the Shared Design Institute launches an appeal for collaboration for a global infrastructure for open design communities.

Please use our Ning Forum discussion to respond.

Jon Kuniholm:

“I’m particularly interested in the mechanics of sharing physical design information, and I’d like to get some wiki-based discussion going on the specifications for an open source software suite of tools to make this easier, including CAD software.”

Here are additional details:

we are using a collection of free and open tools to make this happen, including the [ wiki], the [ main site], the [ social network], the [ Google Group], our Google Code page for the [ Myopen Project], our [Instructables page], and probably 15 more we forgot. It’s not perfect. As we said in the blog post on Ning, “if you are a master programmer and looking for a challenge, we’d love for someone to help us build a fantastic Sourceforge-type project management and collaboration tool with social networking capability, as well as the next generation of collaborative open source CAD tools to drive this and other open design projects.”

There’s already stub for a page on the [ CAD problem], which would be great, but is likely a much more challenging problem that is a separate issue. That said, as Mako Hill pointed out to us, perhaps an open source CAD program could make some headway if it offered a collaborative aspect in the same way that Google Docs does, causing users to overlook its limitations. I would call the availability of a free and open CAD package a near second to the problem of overall project management, organization and communication between participants.

First, not much is going on towards fixing this problem. The discussion consists of vague pleas [… like this one] without good documentation. Let me first say that I think that solving this problem is one of the first things I’d try to solve if we had the resources to do it, because it is a solution to the meta issue of how collaboration on open physical design for any underserved market happens, and represents a tool for the core mission of our non-profit, [ the Shared Design Alliance]. It would also increase the impact of so many of the other things we’re trying to do. In order for the overall mission to succeed, and for us to facilitate efforts similar to those of Open Prosthetics on behalf of some other underserved market, we’ll need to have an integrated package of tools that solves as many of our problems as possible.”

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