Science can be expensive. But making customized scientific equipment doesn’t have to be. Researchers at Michigan Technological University have compiled economic data on the effectiveness of open source hardware in the laboratory—and the process looks promising.
The new study, to be published in Science and Public Policy, was led by Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering as well as electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech. Pearce says that distributed digital manufacturing of open source hardware will make science both cheaper and more accessible.
Using a syringe pump as an example, Pearce and his team designed a customizable 3-D printed version. The return on investment they calculated is between 460 percent and 12,000 percent.
Listen to Pearce talk about his research: https://soundcloud.com/michigan-tech/open-source-lab-equipment.
And read more about how he and his team calculated their return on investment: http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2015/september/making-difference-open-source-science-equipment.html