Review: Open Source Hardware Workshop

- An article by Ines Weigand, CityLAB -

Open Source is not only a software topic! In the context of the EVC's Open Source action field, we also approached the topic from the hardware side.

In the Open Source Hardware Workshop in cooperation with the Technology Foundation Berlin, LED lights were not only designed but also programmed with the Hacking Box and a little knowledge about hardware and electronics. Whether pink, green or color change, pulsating or continuous light, minimalist design or party atmosphere - there were (almost) no limits to creativity.

© Technologiestiftung Berlin

Step by step, the participants were taught basic knowledge of electrical engineering, which they were able to apply directly in the workshop. To this end, components such as microcontrollers, USB adapters, LEDs and connector strips were sent by mail in advance and assembled in a joint video conference. 

From the first plug-in exercises to writing their own codes and colorful prototypes, everyone with and without prior knowledge was able to get involved. 

© Technologiestiftung Berlin

The special thing about it: Depending on the environment in which the participants found themselves, they added their own add-ons. Whether it was a cassette case from the children's room or a bicycle from the workshop, everything could be used, assembled and repurposed. This gave the participants their very own approach to the topic of open source. 

In the end, there were a lot of colorful prototypes that now decorate some of the city's residents, bicycles and the like as flashing disco balls.

With the Open Source action field, we are dedicating ourselves to the many facets of open source software as part of the "Volunteer Capital Berlin" campaign. Open source is no longer just a nerd topic, but also a question of attitude and culture. Coding and using open source means first of all making one's own code publicly accessible. Anyone can view it, copy it, develop it further and leave comments. But the basic idea of open source goes even further: open source raises questions about how resources are handled, about the meaning of intellectual property, about how communities work together, and about digital sovereignty. "Open source is not just a software but a culture, namely that of an open knowledge society in which we share knowledge with each other!" is how Boris Hekele, founder of FixMyBerlin and guest at the first event, sums it up.

The field of action is accompanied by the podcast "Open Source - Building Block of a Democratic Technology Policy?", where the discussions and contributions can be listened to afterwards.

This text was first published on the homepage of CityLAB Berlin, with kind permission of the author Ines Weigand.