We recently had the opportunity to attend the first Front Range Open Hardware Symposium in Boulder, Colorado hosted by the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA).
The evening began with a Show and Tell where various exhibitors were able to show their wares, talk about the companies, and share about future features and products.
Our team was there printing with NinjaFlex through a Flexystruder equipped to our newest 3D printer, the TAZ 4. While we were the only 3D printer company in attendance, every table had an interesting story to tell and we were so impressed by the level of sophistication in all of the projects.
Then the event transitioned to a panel discussion hosted by OSHWA Executive Director Alicia Gibb that answered a wide range of questions such as, "What is open source hardware?" and "What are the advantages or benefits of open source hardware?"
The panel also focused on specific issues, such as the importance of public access to research conducted with taxpayer dollars and the value of being able to learn from and replicate (non-confidential) taxpayer-funded research. Overall, each company boasted stories of rapid innovation thanks to engaged open source communities.
The event featured a special appearance by U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, whose district we are headquartered in, as well as a host of Colorado Libre / Open Source Hardware companies and approximately 50 members of the public. Colorado open source companies included:
- Open Tech Collaborative,
- Road Narrows Robotics,
- Great Scott Gadgets,
- Sparky’s Widgets,
- Mach 30, and
- Aleph Objects (us).
The Front Range Open Hardware Symposium was absolutely successful, and in the spirit of openness, Alicia Gibb of OSHWA wrote a thorough blog post offering ideas on how others can host a similar event with elected officials in their area. Here's a quick snapshot of Alicia's tips:
- Contact your representative,
- Set up a way to RSVP,
- Communicate with stakeholders,
- Contact OSHWA for handouts,
- Rent equipment and host the event, then
- Thank stakeholders.
Read the full blog post on OSHWA's website under the blog post entitled, How to Host a Symposium with your Congressperson.
We are excited about this event because it suggests there will be many to come as open source companies in Colorado continue to thrive and attract new startups. We hope you will be able to join us next time!