By Hermes Huang of the Understanding Open Hardware and Citizen Science Project
• The Understanding Open Hardware and Citizen Science Project, working in Indonesia, Thailand, and Nepal, is based on the premise that science practice is often inaccessible in the Global South due to high costs related to acquiring hardware, accessing educational institutions, and hiring professional services.
• Planning for three international open source hardware (OSHW) for science workshops is underway. The workshops aim to form an experimental model for community-based workshops to build DIY science laboratories. The project will also conduct research about these workshops, their participants, and the effects of the workshop outputs.
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Our team has hit the ground running, as we move forward on our project looking at the way open source hardware can enable open science at the community level in South and Southeast Asia. Our project, conducted in partnership with the House of Natural Fiber Foundation (HONF) of Yogyakarta (Jogja), Indonesia, is based on the premise that science practice is often inaccessible in the Global South due to high costs related to acquiring hardware, accessing educational institutions, and hiring professional services. Since 1999, HONF has moved seamlessly across the traditional boundaries of science, art, and education while building a local and international network of people who are not only collaborators within a network, but considered friends and family. HONF has experimented with collaborative efforts in education, fabrication, design, and science. The growth of this network over the last 15 years represents great potential for open science practice influenced by the experiences of individuals representing various disciplines across art, science, and the humanities. These years of experience will allow HONF to take the next steps in engaging partners around Asia to foster Do-It-Yourself (DIY) open science communities.
The activities in our project are two-fold: (1) The production of three international open source hardware (OSHW) for science workshops, coined ‘OSHW Bootcamps’, and (2) research about these workshops, their participants, and the effects of workshop outputs.
The production of these workshops is intended to form an experimental model for community-based workshops to build DIY science laboratories. We are bringing together people who are interested and passionate about science to design and co-create prototype science laboratories using local and low-cost materials. Three workshops are currently planned in Indonesia (September 2015), Thailand (April 2016), and Nepal (November 2016) with our growing network of partners including the House of Natural Fiber, Karkhana “make break innovate”, Makerspace Thailand, FabCafe Bangkok, Chulalongkorn University, and others.
On the research side, we are interested in the experiences of these workshops’ participants. We will measure how the designs and schematics produced in these workshops are accessed, downloaded and iterated upon, and re-shared with others across Asia and the world. The workshops and their outputs will be documented and designs will be openly available for people to use.
The first OSHW Bootcamp starts next week in Jogja from September 1-10 as part of the larger Transformaking Summit. The workshop will be facilitated by our research team, a team from HONF, and expert technical advisers in order to create a learning and experimenting environment that will help the participants understand their Indonesian context, build camaraderie, and gain technical skills in science research and fabrication. We are bringing together 10 participants from Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Estonia, Malaysia, and Kyrgyzstan to work with HONF to design and start building a science laboratory that can enable experimentation on a variety of problems affecting communities in Jogja. Our participants represent a variety of backgrounds ranging from economics to engineering to art, and represent a variety of organizations including WAFT Lab, Proximity Designs, and fellow OCSDNet project, Kyrgyz Mountains Environmental Education and Citizen Science.
We invite you to follow us, as we kick off our first bootcamp next week at oshw.honf.org.
Find out more about our project at http://ocsdnet.org/projects/hita-ordo-natural-fiber-honf-foundation/.