Breakout Sessions

By popular demand, this year at the Open Hardware Summit, we are devoting the last section in the day to breakout sessions. Breakout sessions can be facilitator-run panels, discussions or workshops. When buying your ticket, please select the Breakout Session of your choice, descriptions are below. For the full schedule of the day, please click here.

Note: Your selection will be used to assign rooms at the venue and plan the session, so please consider it final.

Documentation, Distribution, and Community Building for Open Hardware

Facilitators: Britta Riley, Josef Průša, Taylor Hokanson, Zak Homuth

You’ve designed a great piece of open hardware, but don’t stop there! Even the best designs will fail if they are communicated poorly. We’ll describe some of the challenges specific to OH documentation, including concrete examples and solutions developed by our panelists.

Open Source Hardware Legal Frameworks

Facilitators: Melba Kurman, Tim Engelhardt, Rachel Vaugh

This session explores the disruptive potential of open source hardware licenses to act as an “un-patent” as well as open hardware legal frameworks. The presenters will delve into practical intellectual property issues at stake for inventors, including university inventors and explore strategies for external entrepreneurs and businesses that wish to work with university inventions. There will further be discussions of EU legal frameworks around open hardware as well.  The second part of the session covers from a more general perspective the legal background of Open Source Hardware models. The presenter will discuss how the wide range of products and the specific intentions of Open Source Hardware producers and users influence the legal framework that needs to be created for the Open Source Hardware idea to work. He will compare and contrast various modes of IP protection available to businesses and inventors (such as patents, designs, trade marks, copyright) and how they fit for the purposes hardware producers and users wish to achieve.


Challenges and Opportunities for Open Hardware for Infectious Disease Detection

Facilitator: Nancy Burgess, CIV

The biological community is developing quick molecular assays for disease diagnosis where tests previously required extensive resources and time. The open hardware community may aid this revolution by developing the companion hardware to facilitate access to and the broad use of these molecular assays. The purpose of this breakout session is for the Department of Defense’s Joint Science and Technology Office to begin dialogue with the open hardware community. The current challenges and opportunities in disease diagnostics and detection will be presented followed by a facilitated discussion. Session attendees are encouraged to bring their ideas and questions.

Open Hardware in Education

Facilitators: Brian Evans, Paulo Blikstein, Timothy Marzullo, Jon Santiago

This breakout session provides a forum for sharing the ideas, products, and methodologies of education and open hardware. Through presentations, demonstrations, and group discussions we will investigate open hardware as a framework for the physical objects, tools, or devices that promote creative pedagogy. We will look at open hardware as a strategy for encouraging responsible appropriation, remix, and reuse through the free sharing of ideas; the resources and environment needed for successfully teaching and learning open hardware; and whether or not the models of hackerspaces, makerspaces, and fablabs can be adopted in our educational settings to facilitate experimentation, discovery, and learning.

What Open Hardware Needs from the Cloud

Facilitators: Rob Faludi & Jordan Husney, Digi 

Let’s put our heads together about what the cloud can provide for open hardware! Many open projects provide value from creating connections. They gather data, provide ambient displays of remote information or create physical output based upon remote commands. Open hardware also talks back to us—tweeting, chatting, networking and even phoning it in to reach us in a more human way.
In this breakout session the creators of the XIG open-source wireless device gateway will lead a discussion on how the cloud can better serve open hardware projects. We’ll talk about output devices and what cloud services might provide them with interesting data feeds. We’ll discuss the difficulties in managing extensive sensor data and what cloud services might make that easier. There will be a conversation about compelling human communications protocols and how to extend them to devices. Remote hardware management and over-the-air upgrades are a part of this conversation, as well as what standard services could be useful to all types of connected projects. Please come brimming with opinions and ideas and we’ll have a great conversation about creating innovative services for our community!

Hacking materials: easy and affordable solutions for DIY and open hardware projects

Facilitators: Catarina Mota, Nick Vermeer

In this demo lab we’ll describe, demonstrate and allow participants to play with a variety of both high tech and low tech materials, such as: quantum tunneling composite, conductive adhesives, electrotextiles, thermosensitive pigments, conductive plastics, shape memory polymers, photochromic pigments, polymers and textiles. We’ll also discuss more mundane materials such as different types of plastics, materials appropriate for digital fabrication, advantages and disadvantages of some industrial materials, and where to source all these.

Open Hardware in Voice Telecommunications

Facilitators: Alexander Chemeris, Xavier Carcelle

This one-hour breakout session will be focusing on telephony hardware both VoIP and GSM appliances that now are underneath any of our voice and data communications worlwide.
The first talk will be presenting the “XiVO IPBX OpenHardware” (a full-open telephony solution for SOHO) by his lead engineer Xavier Carcelle. XiVO IPBX OpenHardware is a full telephony solution (hardware and plug-and-dial software) for SOHO keeping the openess of the appliance for customers, users and developers. The second talk “The open hardware GSM Base Station Transceiver project” will be presented by Alexander Chemeris. This talk is a first public presentation of a new open hardware project – GSMbase station transceiver for OpenBTS, an open-source software for GSM base station. This project is a perfect fit for the growing demand for communications in the developing world. If you want to learn more about OpenHardware in voice telecommunications, please come to this session!

Real time programming with Arduinos using WebSockets

Facilitator: Justin Mclean

This session looks at how to interact with Arduino hardware directly from a web browser using the WebSocket protocol and the Socket.IO javascript library. We’ll take a brief look at the WebSockets protocol, turn a few LEDs on and off and progress to creating graphs that react and update in real time to environmental sensors. Showing how easily software applications can be written that work on a wide range of platforms (desktop and mobile) that can interface directly with open source hardware.

Spurring Creativity in the Marketspace: An Evolutionary Model of Social Hardware

Facilitators: Emanuela Prandelli, Gianmario Verona and Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo

Despite the increasing diffusion of OSHW in business activities, their nature, 
impact, and evolutionary trajectories have not been fully investigated from an 
economic viewpoint. This study attempts to provide an evolutionary model of 
open platform development and governance through the in-depth analysis of 
Arduino business model and, in addition, of 16 case studies like SparkFun and 
Bug Labs. Our study identifies two main crucial drivers for governing OSHW: 
open platform dependency and user entrepreneurship. In addition, it provides 
insights on how to favor the diffusion of social hardware in order to spur 
creativity and support technology progress in the marketspace.

Fast forward from alpha- Agile Open Hardware Manufacturing 

Facilitators: Ian Lesnet, Eric Pan

Not everyone wants to etch PCBs and solder surface mount parts. Manufacturing bridges the gap between hardware hackers and communities of firmware, software, and documentation developers who want to get involved. The production process can be treacherous however, and there’s lots of obstacles to success.

In this session, Eric Pan (Seeed Studio) and Ian Lesnet (Dangerous Prototypes) discuss manufacturing for open hardware developers, covering four potential routes to production and the materials required. Attention is devoted to the barriers facing open hardware manufacturing. The session concludes with a proposal for a community-based open components library, to ease the process of turning ideas into tangible products.

Learning By Doing 

Facilitators: Nicolas Villar, Yury Gitman & Joel Murphy, Dan Steingart, Matt Sinclair, David Rosales

This session will focus on real world examples of open hardware and the problems, pitfalls and opportunities such projects present. It’s general theme is the notion that involvement in open hardware at this moment in time inevitably involves a step into the unknown, with few assurances as to how the final product will work out. Our projects are all works-in-progress, and we will welcome discussion on how they might be modified and improved.

Nicolas Villar: “Taking .NET Gadgeteer Out of the Lab”
Yury Gitman & Joel Murphy: “The Making of an Button-sized Heartbeat Pulse Sensor that’s Arduino Plug’and’Play and otherwise awesome.”
Dan Steingart: “Science with Open Hardware”
Matt Sinclair: “DIY Reverse Engineering and the Redesign of Existing Products”
David Rosales: “Meet Meta Watch”


Facilitator: Sam Sayer & Laine D’Augustine

MAKEability characterizes a system, platform or facility. A level of MAKEability corresponds to a system or facility’s functional flexibility and openness for experimentation. We’ve defined a few metrics to help measure MAKEability, and in this workshop we will ask each attendee to test the metrics against a system or facility with which they are familiar. We will then break into small groups and assess the effectiveness and usefulness of the MAKEability metrics, and then reconvene and discuss our findings.

Interfacing Electronics and Computers Using Python and Data Acquisition Hardware

Facilitators: Dale Short & Calvin Ball

Ditch proprietary LabView and learn how to write your own open source
programs to control National Instruments Data Acquisition (DAQ)
hardware! This is a useful tool for any project where a computer
needs to control and sense its environment with high precision. As
Makers—not computer scientists—Dale and Calvin are eager to share
simple Python routines that will be accessible to both novice
programmers and more advanced Python users. The majority of the
session will be a live walk-through of connecting a sensor and
actuator to a DAQ and creating a routine to record and plot data.