GOSH Manifesto and projects from open science hardware community highlighted in Digital Social Innovation Toolkit

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Congratulations to two projects from the open science hardware community, involving several GOSH attendees, on being selected as part of six case studies from the European Commission-funded Digital Social Innovation Toolkit. The GOSH Manifesto also gets a mention in terms of best practices for design of open science hardware.

The case studies are reproduced below from the DSI Toolkit by DSI4EU, licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0. The partners in the project included Waag Society, Nesta and Supsi.

Koruza

Koruza is a DIY-friendly wireless optical communication system that offers a cheap and open-source alternative for connectivity in urban environments, connecting locations at up to 150 meters distance.

The device is a solution to the challenges of the cost of fibre installation and other infrastructure in dense urban areas. It provides an alternative for urban communities who want to create a local and independent internet infrastructure and local internet based services. Koruza has up to 1Gbps capacity – enough to support a large number of moderate internet users – and can be used to build large wireless networks.

The DIY version of Koruza device features a modular design with 3D-printed components designed in OpenScad, an open-source 3D modeling software. It is available to order as a kit, while the assembly instructions and technical documentation are released online for free. Researchers and indeed anyone with an interest – can replicate the device easily, understand its operation and modify it for their own purposes.

The Koruza project was developed by IRNAS, the Institute for Development of Advanced Applied Systems, in Maribor, Slovenia. The institute’s mission is to develop open-source and affordable systems that can solve real problems by empowering the masses. Since 2015, its founder Luka Mustafa has been a fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation, which allowed him to work full-time on the development of Koruza.

Key DSI features

Koruza device is also distributed as a scientific DIY kit meant for researchers who are able to replicate, understand and modify it in order to gain the necessary skills in equipment construction. It has been designed starting from the analysis of a missing tech solution in the field of fibre communication and the problems of connecting dense urban areas. The project is supported by the local community organization WlanSlovenija Development that helps to apply a vast scientific knowledge to the creation of effective and affordable systems.

OpenDrop

OpenDrop is an open hardware-based design for microfluidics analysis. Microfluidics is the study of how fluids behave and can be controlled at the very smallest levels.

The device uses recently-developed technology called “electro-wetting” to control small droplets of liquids. Using this technology, users can carry out digital biology experiments in the lab and in their own home. While the uses of the OpenDrop are currently quite specific and niche, its significance lies in the principles of openness, accessibility and collaboration which lie behind it. Inspired by other equipment like the DropBot and Microdrop software, OpenDrop was designed with a DIY and low-cost approach, and is part of a larger ecosystem of digital biology initiatives whose aim is to make digital biology and lab automation accessible to people. It was designed in accordance with the best practices for Open-Source Hardware (OSHWA) and the GOSH (Global Open Science Hardware) Manifesto.

The development process is continually shared and facilitated by the project leaders through presentations at public events, through involving different communities and initiatives, and through organizing interdisciplinary workshops. Initiated and developed in Switzerland, the project is currently at its second release and has been developed through the collaborative efforts of an international network of organisations and communities of biohackers, scientists and artists. Thanks to this collaboration, its applications now spread beyond science to fields such as art, music, games and education. The project was initiated by Urs Gaudenz (Gaudilabs) and developed by several communities including hackteria | open source biological art, BioFlux and digi.bio.

Key DSI features

Open Drop only uses standard and widely available components, materials, and production processes. The assembling does not rely on parts that are not available to individual customers or processes that require expensive setup costs. The fabrication is also accessible: the design files and software required to operate the hardware are released under open licenses. The development is shared and facilitated by the project initiators through the presentation in public events, the involvement of different communities and initiatives, the organization of interdisciplinary workshops.

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