Information should be free for everyone. As software developers, we benefit from having access to the underlying code that runs our systems. In the early days of software development, embedded systems were primarily built by engineers in private companies. Embedded systems and software tools to program them were prohibitively expensive.
Open-source software came during a time when most of the computer industry was closed. Sharing code allowed for greater innovation and helped transition the computer industry from a traditional industrial structure to a free and open structure. Not everything can be free and open, but businesses are beginning to see the value in being transparent with what their software does. We’re seeing incredible open source partnerships, better community development, greater software and firmware security, and lower development and operating costs.
In the past, it was nearly impossible to build a functional prototype without software engineers and electrical engineers. This drastically changed with the arrival of Arduino. Arduino is a physical, open source development platform of software and hardware that makes prototyping projects fast and easy. Prototypes built with Arduino are not only easier to develop, but they’re also less expensive and allow everyone from artists to scientists to develop amazing prototypes. It’s important to note that Arduino was developed in an educational environment and is used as an educational tool.
Open-source software gives us the ability to examine and contribute to the way software is developed and managed. Open-source software is the inevitable evolution of the way developers and organizations cooperate to build better hardware and software. To help us understand open-source software, it’s important to see what’s possible.
1. Talk to the cloud
Arduino allows you to create and deploy an IoT project that connects to an online cloud platform. Arduino IoT Cloud literally has near-limitless applications, but some of the more practical things you can do with it include data monitoring through sensors, synchronization and communication between devices, and the use of webhooks for real-time communication and updates.
2. Smart home automation
Arduino provides the hardware and software needed to connect to many peripherals — and that makes it great for home automation. After setting up your system, you can manage all your appliances, lights, remote locks, and more from a single device, such as your phone or over the internet.
3. Advanced Rocket Flight Computer
Who doesn’t want to start their own Space X? Get started by learning how to control the trajectory of rockets with this open-source flight computer. Building one is a snap using the Arduino open-source platform. Projects like these are perfect for educational environments, where educators can show students the practical applications of math, as well as hobbyists who just want to get an idea of what physicists are can lead students and educators together on a path to a greater understanding of math and physics.
4. Microbial bioreactor
The need to develop medicines faster and cheaper has never been more important. This project allows you to grow microbial cultures, perfect for hands-on study of molecular biology. Arduino allows universities and medical companies to quickly and affordably develop enzymes to help study recombinant proteins. Commercial solutions are often too expensive and don’t allow for easy customization.
5. Climate chamber system
Protecting our environment from climate change is a global concern. With projects like a climate chamber system, we can see what the effects are going to look like for organisms, atmosphere, and environment. We can then compare what we see in a climate chamber system to the damage caused by humans. Scientists and ecologists can easily validate their assumptions and search for solutions.
6. Bluetooth-controlled car
We now have the ability to automate most mechanical and electrical things, and this project is a great example. Controlling a car using Bluetooth is a project with incredible scalability, from a small remote control car to a full-sized automobile. With enough tinkering and integrating Arduinoes into a car’s electrical system, you could control your car using a mobile app on a cellphone or other Bluetooth device.
With the open-source Arduino platform, the possibility of building a working prototype is fast and easy. Scientists, educators, hobbyists, and people like you can design, build and prototype projects that were once only limited to engineers and computer scientists. As more software and tools become open source, innovation will help drive the development of new and exciting things.
This is only a small sample of projects currently in development. But these top open source projects reflect a changing culture towards sharing and developing open-source software and hardware platforms. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Android, Linux, Python, Java, and more are perfect examples of open-source hardware and software that has made a profound impact on the way we communicate, develop and share information.
Businesses are beginning to see the value of using open-source software and tools. Open source is simply less expensive for both enterprises and consumers, and those savings in development costs benefit consumers. It gives us better control, stability, and, most importantly, security. Having anybody be able to audit code allows bugs and vulnerabilities to get spotted much faster than proprietary software might with a limited staff. Open-source software has a broad and diverse community around it that provides accessible support.
With all these factors in mind, consider open-source software as you develop your next groundbreaking prototype!