Institute IRNAS, led by GOSHer Luka Mustafa, have posted an excellent blog to their new Medium channel, detailing their process for open hardware development, This is the first of several so we encourage you to follow them! The post is licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 so we’ve reproduced some of the open-focused content below, but you should definitely read the original to see these principles tied into development of the Koruza optical wireless device and other projects.
“Since the beginning of this year we at Institute IRNAS and Fabrikor fabrication lab have started several exciting collaborations with organizations from around the world, helping them bring to life useful products by providing our expertise in open hardware development and manufacturing….We are taking the projects from the idea and research stage to scale manufacturing. To better explain our work flow we prepared the following diagram, where you can see how we work as well as how we’re applying open source principles along the way.
Choosing our default style of working when developing a new product — by open source principles — benefits all parties involved as transparency holds everyone accountable and aligned with agreed values. And it is not only beneficial for us and our clients but for broader community as well.
Openness is what helps us move fast in all stages of the development process.
The initial research phase, when we test an idea, check its feasibility and try out a number of solutions is best done when we can peek into a number of existing products and solutions, learning from each one of them to form our solution. When devices are open hardware, it becomes almost trivial to learn from them.
Building an operational prototype of hardware is an exciting step, significantly empowered with an open hardware systems ranging from Arduino, Raspberry Pi and a bulk of different small modules available online. This immense library of modular solutions, which enables rapid prototyping, is sometimes tedious due to poor documentation of some systems, but significantly faster and more cost effective then other options.
Product development as such is a detailed process when aiming for product manufacturing, having an insight into how existing products are built enables the discovery of best practices, speeding up the development and educating developers in the process.
Also for the after sales activity and users support openness proves itself as beneficial since it leads to direct understanding of the user and makes serviceability of the devices easier, but most importantly, empowers the communication with the developers to collaboratively identify the improvements, changes and features for the upcoming versions.
Openness is not only empowering development and manufacturing process but it is also bringing very practical outcomes for our customers and their final users.
Openess comes together with Total ownership allowing full use and repair of existing products as a complete insight into operation is available.
It ensures the devices are Future proof, since they are are designed and documented such that users are empowered to innovate, explore and upgrade them outside the original specification. The lifespan of devices is extended, their reuse encouraged and their open hardware documentation an enabling component in communication between all parties involved.
It also simplifies collaborative design, bridging the gap between the development, manufacturing and use of a device, enabling evolution of the product to be optimal for everyone involved.”