openQCM the benefit and challenge of an open hardware project

Quartz Crystal Microbalance openQCM design by Glenda Torres Guizado and 3D print by Sculpteo

Quartz Crystal Microbalance openQCM design by Glenda Torres Guizado and 3D print by Sculpteo

Hi everybody,

This is my first post on the openQCM blog, so I introduce myself. I am Marco, scientific coordinator at Novaetech S.r.l. and now co-founder of the openQCM project the unique open source quartz crystal microbalance. Above all I am a lucky man because I really enjoy my work.

I am the responsible of the open source software for the openQCM project. So I code, mantain the software, fix the issues and funny stuff like that. But above all openQCM is an open hardware project.
[pullquote]“to share  to use or to have something at the same time as someone else” (definition from MacMillan Dictionary )[/pullquote]
“Share” is  a term extensively used nowadays, neverthless it continues to hold an unquestionable appeal. I strongly believe that the great succes of the open source software could be translated in a new perspective about hardware manufacturing. The potentiality is even greater when it comes to hardware for scientific applications. openQCM is exactly something like that, the first open hardware quartz crystal microbalance with applications in a wide range of scientific fields, from chemical and biological sensing to material science.
When I talk about open hardware, I essentially refers to the statement of principle defined by the OSHWA project
The crucial points are
  1. Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design.
  2. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.

Of course the main challenge of an open source hardware is that hardware is a physical artifact, which costs money in order to prototype and manufacture. But the current technological scenario offers exceptional advantages. The 3D printing technology offers the possibility to manufacture the hardware at low cost and high quality. Thanks to Sculpteo we realized the first prototype of openQCM and it is really awesome. Arduino the open source electronics platform provides a low cost microcontroller and an easy-to-use programming language for developing the physical sensor. The union of these main features makes nowadays the open hardware a more reliable project. Moreover, all the sharing features of the open source software can be translated in the open hardware. The positive added value of an open system makes the development faster and more reliable.

[pullquote]“We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible [...]. So there isn’t any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work”. (R. Feynman Copyright © Nobel Media AB)[/pullquote]

The claim #openscience to share knowledge” synthesizes all the main features of openQCM. The open access is definitely a tremendous breakthrough for the scientific community and for the entire modern society.

This blog will be the place where we can share what we are actually doing to realize and develop the open source quartz crystal microbalance openQCM. I will write on this blog always thinking to the Feynman’s words at the Nobel Prize lecture

More info about Marco: personal  thoughts in 140 characters on twitter and professional bio on linkedin