Open source hardware is taking off. Hackerspaces are spreading like wildfire (we'll see thousands, potentially tens of thousands, of these spring up in the next five years). To help this revolution zoom, we need an online system that standardizes and simplifies the description of the processes used to make the hardware. For example: Marcin over at openfarmtech has composed a replication document for partners developing the LifeTrac II open source tractor (see inset pic). It's a great effort, but so much more should be done.
So, what would a new system look like? Some ideas (drawn from a very similar system my team and I built 5 years ago -- it enabled globally decentralized printing of complex documents with exacting levels of quality):
- Specification standardization and conversion to standards. Quality checks on the files to ensure completeness.
- Process automation to simplify production. Step 1, 2, 3, etc. This could even include a ticketing system so more than one group could coordinate their activity.
- Bundles of automated quality control processes to ensure that the steps in the production process are done correctly.
- Lots more...
So, for anyone ready to get in front of the MAKER REVOLUTION (akin to the agricultural and industrial revolutions), this is the project for you (or me, if someone wants to fund it).
Adafruit Industries (a maker company) adds: There are a few options…
- Wikis of all shapes and sizes (we like dokuwiki)
- Make: Projects
The big challenge is making documentation as part of the product and project. Each summer we’re asked if we have interns or jobs available and each year we say “document some projects you’ve made and send us links” – unfortunately not many have rallied to do this.