Open-Source Lab

Open-Source Lab

How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs

1st Edition - October 4, 2013

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  • Author: Joshua Pearce
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124104860
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124104624

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Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Scientific Research Costs details the development of the free and open-source hardware revolution. The combination of open-source 3D printing and microcontrollers running on free software enables scientists, engineers, and lab personnel in every discipline to develop powerful research tools at unprecedented low costs.After reading Open-Source Lab, you will be able to: Lower equipment costs by making your own hardware Build open-source hardware for scientific research Actively participate in a community in which scientific results are more easily replicated and cited

Key Features

  • Numerous examples of technologies and the open-source user and developer communities that support them
  • Instructions on how to take advantage of digital design sharing
  • Explanations of Arduinos and RepRaps for scientific use
  • A detailed guide to open-source hardware licenses and basic principles of intellectual property


All laboratory personnel- everyone involved with science and technology research in academia, industry, and government. Specific audiences include chemists/chemical engineers; biologists/biomedical engineers; physicists; mechanical, and civil and electrical engineers.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword


    1.1 Standard Disclaimer



    Chapter 1. Introduction to Open-Source Hardware for Science


    1.1 Introduction

    1.2 What is Open Source?

    1.3 Free and Open-Source Hardware


    Chapter 2. The Benefits of Sharing—Nice Guys and Girls do Finish First


    2.1 Advantages of Aggressive Sharing for the Academic

    2.2 Overcoming Challenges of Open-Source Research

    2.3 Why Should You Share and Be Nice Anyway—The Theory

    2.4 Industrial Strength Sharing

    2.5 The Fate of Hardware Vendors: Innovate or Die

    2.6 Concluding Thoughts


    Chapter 3. Open Licensing—Advanced Sharing


    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Learning from Software: Software Rights

    3.3 OSHW Licenses

    3.4 Open Source Hardware Association Definition

    3.5 Best Practices and Etiquette for Using OSHW

    3.6 Continued IP Challenges

    3.7 Summary and Conclusions


    Chapter 4. Open-Source Microcontrollers for Science: How to Use, Design Automated Equipment With and Troubleshoot


    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 The Open-Source Microcontroller Family

    4.3 Getting Started with an Arduino Microcontroller

    4.4 Working with the Arduino

    4.5 Example: The “Polar Bear” Open-Source Environmental Chamber

    4.6 Concluding Thoughts and Additional Reading


    Chapter 5. RepRap for Science—How to Use, Design, and Troubleshoot the Self-Replicating 3-D Printer


    5.1 Introduction to REPRAPS

    5.2 Building a REPRAP

    5.3 Software

    5.4 Printing for the First Time


    Chapter 6. Digital Designs and Scientific Hardware


    6.1 OpenSCAD, RepRap and Arduino Microcontrollers

    6.2 Physics: Open-Source Optics

    6.3 Engineering: Open-Source Laser Welder, Radiation Detection, and Oscilloscopes

    6.4 Environmental Science: Open-Source Colorimeters and pH Meters

    6.5 Biology: OpenPCR, Open-Source Centrifuges and More

    6.6 Chemistry: Spectrometers and Other Chemical Research Tools


    Chapter 7. The Future of Open-Source Hardware and Science


    7.1 Introduction to the Future

    7.2 The Impact on the Scientific Brain Drain/Gain

    7.3 Acceleration of Technological Evolution

    7.4 Open-Source Research in the Future

    7.5 Concluding Thoughts



Product details

  • No. of pages: 240
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2013
  • Published: October 4, 2013
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124104860
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124104624

About the Author

Joshua Pearce

Joshua Pearce
Dr. Joshua M. Pearce received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. He then developed the first Sustainability program in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education as an assistant professor of Physics at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and helped develop the Applied Sustainability graduate engineering program while at Queen's University, Canada. He currently is an Associate Professor cross-appointed in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Michigan Technological University where he runs the Open Sustainability Technology Research Group. His research concentrates on the use of open source appropriate technology to find collaborative solutions to problems in sustainability and poverty reduction. His research spans areas of electronic device physics and materials engineering of solar photovoltaic cells, and RepRap 3-D printing, but also includes applied sustainability and energy policy. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and is the author of the Open-Source Lab:How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs.

Affiliations and Expertise

Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, USA

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