Taking an Open-Source Approach to Hardware - Instructables in the WSJ
Open-source hardware applies the same idea to physical things. There are a number of recent open-source hardware initiatives, including the Chumby, a clock-radio sized device that runs software "widgets" to display the weather or stream music, and Bug, a system of snap-together modules that can be used to make a variety of computing devices.
So far, the Arduino has been the most successful. In the space of an hour, a layman can make it blink an LED, run a motor or send a temperature reading to a computer monitor. With a little practice, people have been able to do much more.
Using Arduino hardware, tinkerers have recently created everything from a word clock to a radio-controlled lawnmower for a contest hosted by the Web site Instructables.com.
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