Humanitarian Open Source Hardware
Open source hardware has led to amazing developments and innovations in hardware at an unbelievable pace. Within the last few years, the OSHW community has harnessed the capabilities of all types of sensors, power supplies, batteries, and communications to create technology that people outside the community would never have dreamed possible. In the humanitarian world, there is a huge need for technology, specifically open source technology, to address critical areas in humanitarian work. The needs are often very specialized and the budgets are typically small, but the potential impact could affect many lives. In the talk, I will be going over my experience with OSHW in Safecast as a response to the Fukushima disaster in Japan. I will also discuss my experiences working with the United Nations (UNESCO) in developing an open source weather monitor and the International Atomic Energy Agency developing a crowdsourced radiation monitor. These devices would never have existed without OSHW and they required very close collaboration between engineers and domain specialists such as climate scientists.
Akiba works at FreakLabs and is one of the founders of Tokyo Hackerspace. He’s also a researcher at Keio University, done extensive work with Safecast for radiation monitoring, and designs devices for UNESCO and the International Atomic Energy Agency. His interests lie in open source sensor networks and their applications. When he’s not working on “serious” things, he likes collaborating on art/dance projects. Recently he’s taken an abnormal interest in farming as well.