Open source hardware consists of physical artifacts of technology designed and offered by the open design movement. Both free and open source software (FOSS) as well as open source hardware is created by this open source culture movement and applies a like concept to a variety of components. The term usually means that information about the hardware is easily discerned. Hardware design (i.e. mechanical drawings, schematics, bills of material, PCB layout data, HDL source code and integrated circuit layout data), in addition to the software that drives the hardware, are all released with the FOSS approach.
Since the rise of reconfigurable programmable logic devices, sharing of logic designs has been a form of open source hardware. Instead of the schematics, hardware description language (HDL) code is shared. HDL descriptions are commonly used to set up system-on-a-chip systems either in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) or directly in application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designs. HDL modules, when distributed, are called semiconductor intellectual property cores, or IP cores.
References and suggested readings:
- Open Source Initiative. The open source definition. http://opensource.org/osd
- The Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology LAB page http://www.appropedia.org/Category:MOST
- Becchetti C, Neri A. Medical instrument design and development: from requirements to market placements. First edition. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2013.
- De Maria C, Mazzei D, Ahluwalia A. Open source biomedical engineering for sustainability in African healthcare: combining academic excellence with innovation. Proceedings of the ICDS 2014, The Eighth International Conference on Digital Society; 2014 Mar 23-27; Barcelona, Spain. p 48–53. http://www.thinkmind.org/index.php?view=article&articleid=icds_2014_2_40_10173
- Pearce JM. Building research equipment with free, open-source hardware. Science 2012;337:1303–4.
- Wijnen B, Hunt EJ, Anzalone GC, et al. Open-source syringe pump library. PLoS ONE 2014;9:e107216.
- Zhang C, Anzalone NC, Faria RP, et al. Open-source 3D-printable optics equipment. PLoS ONE 2013; 8:e59840.