Science can be expensive. But making customized scientific equipment doesn’t have to be. Researchers have compiled economic data on the effectiveness of open source hardware in the laboratory—and the process looks promising. The new study shows that distributed digital manufacturing of open source hardware will make science both cheaper and more accessible. The benefits could be huge: research would cost less, the equipment would improve each year, grant competition would be less inflamed and educational tools would provide better inspiration and instruction. Outside the lab, open source tools could help spur innovation and diversity in the science manufacturing market.
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