Few hardware companies would dream of giving up their design secrets, but for a growing niche of entrepreneurs, doing just that is a pillar of their business.
The open-source hardware movement is migrating from the garage to the marketplace. Companies that follow an open-source philosophy make their physical designs and software code available to the public. By doing so, these companies engage a wave of makers, hobbyists and designers who don’t just want to buy products, but have a hand in developing them.
“Patents still work as an incentive for some people, but for a growing number of companies, sharing is more lucrative and fulfilling,” said Alicia Gibb, executive director of the Open Source Hardware Association.