5 open source hardware products for the great outdoors

Here's some equipment you can buy or make yourself for hitting the great outdoors, no generators or batteries required.
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14 facts about OpenStack Newton

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When people think about open source hardware, they often think about the general category of electronics that can be soldered and needs batteries. While there are many fantastic open source pieces of electronics, the overall category of open source hardware is much broader. This month we take a look at open source hardware that you can take out into the world, no power outlet or batteries required.

Hummingbird Hammocks

Hummingbird Hammocks offers an entire line of open source camping gear. You can set up an open source rain tarp...

An open source rain tarp from Hummingbird Hammocks

An open source rain tarp from Hummingbird Hammocks.

...with open source friction adjusters

Open source friction adjusters from Hummingbird Hammocks.

...over your open source hammock

An open source hammock from Hummingbird Hammocks.

...hung with open source tree straps.

Open source tree straps from Hummingbird Hammocks.

The design for each of these items is fully documented, so you can even use them as a starting point for making your own outdoor gear (if you are willing to trust friction adjusters you design yourself).

Openfoil

Openfoil is an open source hydrofoil for kitesurfing. Hydrofoils are attached to the bottom of kiteboards and allow the rider to rise out of the water. This aspect of the design makes riding in low wind situations and with smaller kites easier. It can also reduce the amount of noise the board makes on the water, making for a quieter experience. Because this hydrofoil is open source you can customize it to your needs and adventure tolerance.

Openfoil, an open source hydrofoil for kitesurfing.

Openfoil, an open source hydrofoil for kitesurfing.

Solar water heater

If you prefer your outdoors-ing a bit closer to home, you could build this open source solar water heater created by the Anisa Foundation. This appliance focuses energy from the sun to heat water that can then be used in your home, letting you reduce your carbon footprint without having to give up long, hot showers. Of course, you can also monitor its temperature over the internet if you need to feel connected.

An open source solar water heater from the Anisa Foundation.

An open source solar water heater from the Anisa Foundation.

Wrapping up

As these projects make clear, open source hardware is more than just electronics. You can take it with you to the woods, to the beach, or just to your roof. Next month we’ll talk about open source instruments and musical gear. Until then, certify your open source hardware! 

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Michael Weinberg
Board President of Open Source Hardware Association, Executive Director of NYU Law's Engelberg Center for Innovation Law and Policy, maker of poorly made things.

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