In recent years, the growth of open-source hardware has gained traction, especially with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It has given rise to a new wave of makers and innovators who are creating affordable, accessible, and customizable devices. One of the latest additions to the growing open-source hardware is the Open Muscle, an open-source biometric sensor under the CERN Open Hardware License.
Open Muscle is a prosthetic sensor suite that detects forearm muscle contractions using a low-cost sensor system. The sensor system is made up of pressure-sensitive sensors, magnets, and Hall effect sensors, which are used to build the piston mechanisms. The system also utilizes an ESP32-S2 chip for wireless connection, ADC sampling, and processing.
The Open Muscle project is released under the CERN Open Hardware License, a permissive license that enables developers and makers to use, distribute, and modify the hardware without any legal restrictions. The CERN Open Hardware License is a strong copyleft license that protects the integrity of the hardware and ensures that the hardware remains open and freely available.
The CERN Open Hardware License requires the hardware to be made publicly available, including all the design files, schematics, and source codes. It also obligates the creators to provide a Bill of Materials (BoM), which lists all the components used in the hardware, including their suppliers and part numbers. This ensures that anyone who wants to replicate or modify the hardware can do so without any difficulty.
Open Muscle has several benefits that make it a breakthrough in open-source hardware. Firstly, the use of low-cost sensors makes it affordable for people who need prosthetics but cannot afford the expensive commercial options. Secondly, the open-source hardware and software allow for easy modification and customization, which is not possible with proprietary hardware. Thirdly, the project’s release under the CERN Open Hardware License ensures that the hardware remains open and accessible to everyone.
The Open Muscle project is an excellent example of the possibilities of open-source hardware and the CERN Open Hardware License. The license has allowed developers to create affordable and accessible hardware, which can be easily replicated, modified, and distributed. The Open Muscle project, in particular, has the potential to help people with disabilities, who need prosthetics but cannot afford commercial options. The project’s success is a testament to the power of open-source hardware and the importance of open licensing.
Open hardware licenses are a set of legal frameworks that enable the sharing of hardware designs, specifications, and related materials. These licenses apply to physical objects, such as electronic devices or machines, and aim to encourage collaboration, innovation, and transparency within hardware design and development.
Open hardware licenses are similar to open source software licenses, in that they grant permission to users to view, modify, and share the designs and specifications of a hardware product. They also typically require attribution to the original author or authors of the work, and may have other conditions, such as copyleft provisions that require any derivative works to be licensed under the same or similar terms.
Some of the most popular open hardware licenses include the CERN Open Hardware License, the TAPR Open Hardware License, and the Solderpad Hardware License. These licenses have varying terms and conditions, so it is important to review and understand the specific license that applies to a particular hardware design.