Bits and bolts: The past, present, and future of open hardware

Download this eBook"Open source" isn't just a methodology for developing software. It's a way to think about building anything, including the devices that utilize that software. Hardware, too, can be open—easily copied, shared, modified, and improved.

What would the world be like if the objects that surround us became less mysterious, if not only the bits but also the bolts became something into which we could peer? What if the enigmatic black boxes that occupy our desks, our homes, our skies—even our bodies—suddenly became transparent?

During Open Hardware Week at, we asked more than a dozen open-minded technologists to explain how applying open source principles to physical devices is shaping the way we work and play—now and in the future. They answered with so many wonderful things: flashlights made from lip balm, automated pet feeders, computerized guitar pedals, even 3D-printed prosthetics. And for a few dazzling days, we saw how that open world was becoming a reality.

This book collects stories we published as part of Open Hardware Week.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.