[All Days] Summaries of Learn, Support and Grow Topic Sessions

This thread contains summary of each topic session from GOSH 2018. I will try to concisely summarise each topic session here but please feel free to add/edit if something is missing.

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Faclitators - Lit Lao (Founder, Litchee Lab), Andre Maia Chagas(Researcher, educator using open science equipment), Pierre P (builds Open Science Hardware for public health).

By learn, we mean how the GOSH community learns about itself, the contexts in which it currently operates, and the ways in which OScH impacts society.

We started by discussing the difference between makers and educators. Following perspectives were presented :

  1. Let the students identify what they want and facilitate them to build it, instead of teaching them a fixed set of things.
  2. Learning is hard and we must not intend to make it too simple for the learners (as opposed to point [1]). Instead, we must enable them to learn on their own by constantly challenging them.
  3. Instead of teaching students, we must help them identify and solve the community’s problems. Important skills include empathy, setting goals, finding and working with mentors, etc.
  4. We must build open tools to help educators turn into makers and makers into educators to bridge their skill gap.
  5. A lot of education happens outside the classroom, in complex communities that we must not forget about while building a product for society.
  6. The goal is to eventually make the learner independent, comfortable and motivated to work more and more on open hardware in future.

The next topic discussed was how do we monitor and measure if learning was successful. Following are the five metrics that were proposed -

  1. How well the participants repeat what was covered (least favorite).
  2. How many times the participants use exactly what they learnt in different situations.
  3. How many different original projects they create after the workshop.
  4. How many more people they exchange and engage with in their environment.
  5. How they engage with a new topic an its people in an open way.

Currently, there is a lot of emphasis on rote learning and examinations in traditional educational systems. We must progress towards more organic, realistic and self-developing methods of education and have focus on metrics aligned with the same.

The Journal of Open Hardware is starting a section on Open Hardware Education. Email : tobias.wenzel@embl.de



Leonardo Sehn (CTA) started the discussion by emphasizing the need of continuous and ongoing documentation in open source hardware development. It helps in receiving funding, support, knowledge sharing and acts as a yardstick of quality. He encouraged us to play with and tweak technology to solve our challenges rather than simply consuming it as an end user. He suggested to make ongoing documentation a part of our OSH development workflow.

Clarissa Redwine (Kickstarter) talked about how we can fund science with communities using Kickstarter. Following are the main things to keep in mind while starting a campaign -

  1. Essence - What do you want to make? What is your plan? Why should the community fund you? Show your passion for the thing that you are making. Invite the community to be a part of your journey.
  2. 60% donors are repeat backers. Try focusing on that specific audience and its expectations.
  3. Most projects are $1000-$10000.
  4. On an average, 30% of a project is backed by kickstarter backers and 70% by your community. So, you will be responsible to drive a large part of the traffic and attention to your project.
  5. Create something to share with others. Present it honestly and clearly.
  6. Its an all-or-nothing campaign.

Ideas to have a more succesful campaign/each out to the larger audience -

  1. Create a cultural movement.
  2. Grow with the community and launch multiple kickstarter projects with multiple products.
  3. Show the cool things that backers can do with your project.

Violet(X.Factory, Seeed) talked about X.Factory which is an IoT Hardware enabler that enables makers to go from idea to product(deployment). It provides access to Shenzhen’s wonderful supply chain, prototyping facilities, manufacturing consultation, collaboration with Chinese industries and meeting local communities. It involves the following steps -

  1. Hardware idea
  2. Fusion
  3. Agile manufacturing
  4. Mass production
  5. Deployment
    More details can be found here : www.chaihuo.org/xfactory/
    Github - https://github.com/Seeed-Studio

Extra notes on Leo’s talk

2nd Day GOSH2018

intros by Shannon and Julieta



free open knowledge
software should be free, and the technological knowledge behind it!

linux and internet protocols changing our history
now we have such complex problems, like envtl disasters, that need to be addressed.
there are no single solutions! conscious people that act and react in the face of problems, and envtal monitoring networks seems essential.

we use stuff, without understanding, and with not so much focus - one weather monitoring station in a city of 2million… no way to understand microclimates with this!

Fukushima example!
collaborative science rap (almost)
to help people know where and how to react

a seed of inspiration (RA knows that Robin S. of Hackuarium was key for the DIY geiger counter work there then!)

citizen science synergies will emancipate us!?

Centro de Tecnologia AcadĂŞmica started about then in Brasil, and working on so many different projects - health, envt monitoring, uni connections
But the biggest strength for this movement is not so much the projects, but the spirit! focus on making the fundamental things as best as we can - open and free with full documentation, out to the world!
Methods for documenting everything!

software and hardware on-going documentation
not waiting for the finished version
open access research notebooks
allowing open review (and feedback?)
enabling funding possibilities too (preliminary results to cite already)
Hopes to provide inspiration and talk more throughout this conference - which are key points where there are bottlenecks for documenting??

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here are notes I took on the session…

Leonardo and sharing free open knowledge
Clarissa and Kickstarter
Violet and xfactory

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Guest Speakers - Chiu Chao (OpenTrons) and Jo-an Ho(HAX).

By Grow, we mean that we must aim to grow with respect to local differences, increasing the diversity, scale and impact of the OScH community. In the topic session, we focused on posssible avenues for financial sustainability and growth of GOSH as a community.

Chao started the discussion by sharing lessons from his entrepreneurial journey in a talk titled DIY Hobby to Products. Good things need take time and need you to have passion, humility and determination. Community support (like GOSH) becomes crucial for entrepreneurs and initators when they are trying to build their product. Also, he suggested makers to not be shy or act like a caveman and shut ourselves down to negative feedback. We must ask questions, learn skills, be humble and make mistakes.

Jo-an talked about HAX as a hardware accelarator and the possibilities of collaboration between Open Hardware community and HAX. Following are the key points -

  1. Keys areas of investment for HAX - Consumer, Health, Enterprise and Industrial.

  2. Consumer

    1. Hits are difficult to predict and involve a lot of market and social media research.
    2. Consumer hardware funding is on a 4-year low.
    3. Main reasns for failure - delay in shipping and burning through seed money.
    4. Pivoting their business model (through partnerships or mergers and acquisitions) has proved to be useful.
  3. Health

    1. Fastest growing portfolio as chronic diseases are on the rise
    2. Due to lifestyle choices
    3. Proucts around decentralizing diagnostic devices, remote sensing and data sudy are on a rise.
    4. Some popular fields - surgical robots, patient data, urine sampling, fertility control, female health monitors, etc.

Key points from open discussion -

  1. Does one have to be a unicorn to be successful?
  2. Is VC funding (or even startup in the traditional sense) the right model to seek financial sustainability in the open source world?
  3. We should not only think of growth in terms of money but also community outreach, knowledge sharing, etc.
  4. A model like that ofPublic Lab seems to be viable as they are financially sustainable while being open to the community.

Report on Hardware Trends by HAX - https://hax.co/hardware-trends/