Open Source Hardware: What it is and Why it Matters

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Written By Thomas Hanna

Thomas Hanna is a passionate writer for, who is dedicated to exploring and sharing the benefits of open source resources, empowering individuals and businesses alike.

The open source movement has the potential to revolutionize virtually every aspect of modern technology. We have seen the powerful software development community that has been spawned since the advent of open source technology, but the same advantages can be brought to hardware technologies as well. Open source hardware is just as freely available, and it’s just as powerful as free software, but it enables users to develop, customize, and build upon the physical world in ways never before imagined.

Take the Raspberry Pi, for example. This tiny computer brings open source hardware to the forefront by giving users the ability to hack the machine into whatever use they may require. It features a quad-core processor and a graphics card, allowing people to build a computer from scratch, make robots and drones, and even program home automation systems. With its open source nature, it’s no wonder that developers and tinkerers across the world are coming up with innumerable uses for the Raspberry Pi.

Open source hardware isn’t just limited to small projects, either. Open hardware can be used to build full-sized machines, and with the right parts, you can do anything. From building your own drone to creating a wind turbine, the possibilities are virtually limitless. From building a 3D printer to designing a custom gaming console, the movement is ensuring that the world of tech keeps growing and evolving.

What is Open Source Hardware?

Open source hardware is essential for empowering people to tinker, experiment, and create their own solutions to everyday problems. Even for someone with no prior engineering experience or technical knowledge, open source projects make it possible to delve into new realms of technology and can often provide better results than buying pre-made commercial alternatives. Developing a product or device with open source hardware gives users full control over every detail of its design and code – from the physical components of the device itself, to its interface, to the methods and techniques employed in creating the finished product.

Open source hardware can save time and money, reduce product iterations and costs, and make deployment easier. By releasing the source code and plans of a product or device, open source hardware projects make it possible for different people to contribute design elements to the original project and create their own versions of the project – making collaboration more efficient and results more useful. By working together on a shared purpose, teams can create products quickly while also allowing each group to customize the design, helping to bring new and improved products to market faster.

Open source hardware has revolutionized the way many products and devices are designed and created, breaking down barriers and creating new possibilities for innovation. Despite the advantages it provides, open source hardware is still not as widely adopted or understood as it could be – and yet, its potential is great, and its future promise is immense.

Why Does Open Source Hardware Matter?

Open source hardware matters because it opens up technological possibilities to a whole new range of people. It can help reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of hardware products around the world, allowing for a more diverse range of engineers, makers, and hobbyists to contribute to the development of technologies we have today.

Not only does open source hardware promote collaboration and innovation, it also comes with the added benefits of being much more transparent and accountable than the traditional manufacturing models. This increased level of transparency makes it much easier to fix bugs in the system, and ensure that all involved parties are held to the same standards. It also encourages people to actively engage with the community to work on improvement projects, so that their hard work can make a difference to other users around the world.

Open source hardware encourages a more open and honest technological environment, and makes it easier for everyone to access and use the latest in innovative technologies. Beyond that, it also helps to spark creativity and bring about new ideas, and keeps the movement of open source technology alive and vibrant. Ultimately, open source hardware enables people to create, share, and collaborate on projects that can help make the world a better place.


Open source hardware is an exciting phenomenon for many reasons. From the perspective of a hobbyist or professional engineer, open source hardware provides the opportunity to learn the underlying technology design that traditional non-open source devices use, without needing to purchase expensive patent licenses or invest countless hours in to R&D. By enabling engineers from all backgrounds access to the same resources, more talented individuals will be empowered to contribute to a larger pool of ideas and resources.

In addition to providing a more affordable path to technological development, open source hardware collaborations can help to foster a more open and transparent culture of innovation. With the right collaborative structure and commitment to share knowledge and resources, the open source movement can be a powerful force to accelerate innovation in all aspects of modern engineering. Collaborations between individuals, businesses and educational institutions can help foster relationships between different areas of expertise, promoting an elevated level of knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Ultimately, open source hardware has the potential to reshape how technology is created and consumed in the modern world. By enabling access to the technology design that is at the core of many modern devices, it can break down the existing barriers to entry for engineers of all backgrounds, opening up new possibilities for innovation, collaboration, and problem solving. Open source hardware is also a great way to promote and enable more responsible consumption of technology and foster a more ethical and collaborative culture of innovation. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional engineer, open source hardware is certainly worth exploring as a way to make a positive impact on the world.

Thomas Hanna