October 26, 2012 AT 6:04 am

An Open-Source Kit Of Parts, For Making Any Gadget From Scratch

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An Open-Source Kit Of Parts, For Making Any Gadget From Scratch.

The move towards DIY digital fabrication–from MakerBot to Fab@Home–is an undoubtedly great development for consumers. But one thing it’s missing is a standard system for modeling and exchanging components. If 10 people upload a design for a replacement bolt for a chair, odds are you’ll get 10 slightly different designs. While the world has the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) devoted to regulating specifications, tolerances, and standards of consumer goods, the digital fabrication community is fractured when it comes to a universal standard.

Enter OpenStructures, a Belgian project that aims to establish a standard grid for developing and sharing models. OpenStructures is “a modular construction model, where everyone designs for everyone on the basis of one shared geometrical grid,” the OS team explains. “It initiates a kind of collaborative Meccano [an English Erector Set--eds.] to which everybody can contribute parts, components and structures.” Simply put, OS offers a universal language for people who design and fabricate objects, ultimately leading to a cleaner, faster user experience.

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