We have open source software, so why not open source hardware? Well… it’s not that simple. It’s actually much more difficult than making open sourced software.
Because when we talk about software, we don’t talk about something made of physical objects, we talk about basically ideas and concepts, that never get out of the digital realm (or don’t usually get out). Making hardware is not easy — there are so many external factors over which you have no control – and usually it requires decent financial investment. So it’s a really big thing when someone actually makes open source hardware.
I bet on the fact that all of us heard at least of one open source piece of hardware. I’ll give you a hint: Arduino. It’s that hardware controller board with sensors and various I/O ports usually used by students/teachers and by anyone who wants a nice platform to apply their creative ideas/projects on. And what makes this open source example better than a “closed source” piece of hardware? I can give you three main reasons:
- It’s cheap! For example, even a preassembled Arduino module usually costs under $50.
- It usually has a programming enviroment evolved from mistakes/bugs. Open source means open to public. That translates into people actively reporting bugs and helping to improve the actual hardware and adding features.
- It’s cross-platform! When the hardware is open source, the software is usually also open source. So it’s also working on multiple platforms(Linux/Windows/Mac).
So, now that we know what’s all about open source hardware, let’s get back to our story.
In the last six years, Apertus has been working on a open source “digital cinematography video camera”. If you paid attention at what I previously said, you will know that hardware with open source don’t usually make a great team together, and this statement is actually backed by the Apertus development team itself:
For 6 years Apertus has been a community-only driven project. People contributed because of personal interest and so the project evolved into several directions over time. But in the end it was anarchy, nobody had any responsibilities and while we had goals we had no means to guarantee we would really end up there. Parts of the project were stagnating because we could not find the people with the required skills.
But yay, the day when everything comes together has finally come! Apertus has announced that they are starting to put all the bits and pieces created in those six years into a manufacturable product! And this product will be the Axiom: a 4K camera that’s able to take virtually any lens mount.
But wait. How will they get the money for funding this brave project so it can finally hit the shelves? The first answer that would come in the mind should be croud-funding (Kickstarter). But there is a problem that is thoroughly explained on their website. So if not croud-funding, and not an investor at the moment for the project, what’s the next step for Axiom?
The truth is we do not know where to go. Maybe we will figure out a way to use Kickstarter, maybe they will change their policy again, maybe they will finally respond to our support emails with a real answer rather than an automated reply with the link to the Kickstarter FAQ. Maybe we will use Indiegogo. The only certain thing is that our campaign will use the all-or-nothing system and that we wont stop just because life isn’t always easy.