Open Source Hardware in Developing Countries


Session Title: Open Source Hardware in Developing Countries
Date: March 23, 2017
Attendees (who was there?):

Overview of topic (3-6 sentences):
This was a discussion on how open source hardware is used in developing countries and some of the problem faced with adoption of os hardware vs proprietary options. Some adoption of os tech has been in response to prohibitive costs of closed hardware and software. This makes for sustainable usage and adaption. We discussed the different audiences to increase open source adoption: government, business, higher education. How do we get developing country to contribute their local knowledge from indigenous solutions?


Developing Countries → Majority world

Some problems

In Chile, open source is becoming known but it is difficult to get buy in from administrations

  • no trust in it even though tools have been validated

Brazil ousted open-source technology in lieu of Microsoft

  • In India, the government wanted to move toward open-source, but it received push back from teachers.
  • Case study of Brazil before government change for the Indian government

Getting teachers involved in the community

The microscope at Cambridge may have had a greater acceptance but it still suffers from wide-scale adoption

In Ghana, open-source software and hardware has had a greater adoption because of the prohibitive prices proprietary tools

Three target audience for change:
Business aspect
Government aspect
Higher education aspect

Examples of open-source hardware company sustainability?

Established makerspace in Chile: Rapid prototyping for the environment

  • electronic prototyping
  • 3D printing

Selling point to the government, companies - teach entrepreneurs, locals, indigenous people how to build technologies.

  • Explorada - have time specifically allotted to teach kids about technologies

How do we get the developing countries to contribute instead of just consume or adapt especially with their indigenous solutions?

How do we capture knowledge that has been locally exchanged and passed down but not widely known in wikis, forum?

  • we need to document

We need to get past the idea that hardware is just arduinos, raspi, and code

  • also sometimes local hardware solutions that passes on and shared aren’t labeled as open-source even though it is.

How do we incentivize people to do document solutions?

  • video for replication

Instead of introducing new technology, we can sometimes just work on upgrading solutions