One of the things I look forward to the most every September is the Open Hardware Summit. From the first year, the Open Hardware Summit has been a critical event for Mach 30 team members to attend, and 2013 is no exception. This year involved a number of firsts for Mach 30 including our first opportunity to speak at the Summit, another speaker mentioning Mach 30 and its work, and meeting makers who are using Open Design Engine to host their project.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the Open Hardware Summit (at least personally) was being included as a presenter. As part of our work to develop export control policies to deal with ITAR and similar regulations, the Export Control Task Force decided to submit a proposal to give a presentation on export controls and open source hardware. The topic was accepted by the Summit organizers for its timeliness (Defense Distributed’s 3D printed gun has thrust the topic into the limelight) and the quality of the task force’s export controls research. I must say the task force did a great job preparing the materials, and I can’t thank them enough for all of their support. And I am happy to report our message of preemptively addressing export controls was well received. For those who missed the presentation, we expect the Summit organizers to post videos of the presentations and we will be sure to share the video as soon as we see it is posted.
No less exciting for Mach 30 was seeing Open Design Engine (ODE) mentioned in someone else’s presentation. Mach 30 friend Amanda “w0z” Wozniak gave another impressive engineering process presentation . In previous years she has discussed the design process, and this year she discussed project management. As part of her presentation, she discussed the importance of project management tools, highlighting ODE for its lightweight setup and ease of use. She went on to create a project (a laboratory EKG pre-amp) in ODE as a living example of the value of sharing open source hardware projects on sites with builtin project management tools. She even found an answer to an unsolved design problem she had been working on as a side effect of publishing her documentation. Thanks w0z for using ODE and sharing your experience!
Last but not least I got to meet Greg Austic and Robert Zegarac in the Open Hardware Summit Demo Hall. Greg and Robert are working on a hand-held, low cost, open source photosynthesis measurement platform called Photosynq. Photosynq is hosted on ODE, and this was the first time I have been able to see (and touch) hardware developed outside the scope of Mach 30 which is hosted on ODE. It was a real thrill to see hardware come to life which was birthed on our project hosting portal. Congrats to Greg and the whole Photosynq team. Keep up the great work.
So, there you go. It was certainly an exciting year for Mach 30 at the Open Hardware Summit. The only thing which could have made it better is if we had fired off the Shepard Test Stand. Hmmm. Maybe next year…