Hey Python dev! Do you want to make real impact with your work?

At Wevolver.com communities collaborate on open source robotics, 3D printers and drones. The website is growing and we are looking for Python developers to join our enthusiastic team in Amsterdam or London!

Open Hardware is an exciting movement where makers share open source technologies such as robotics, and grow communities to collaborate with. Wevolver wants to grow the impact of this important movement and enable more people to develop high-tech.

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At Wevolver:
We work with the best technical and creative people, who have a lot of autonomy. A qualitative working place is super important to us, as is the social aspect after work when we have food or drinks together.

At Wevolver we highly value collaboration, ‘getting things done’ and owning responsibility. We are an open company with a flat hierarchy and your ideas can have a big influence.
Wevolver is located in a super creative office among design and tech companies in the heart of Amsterdam.
Wevolver has recently won the Social Tech Challenge from Nominet Trust, and is supported Founders Forum.


Is Wevolver something for you?
-Work with the best in the field and become part of a dedicated team.
-Push technology forward! Work on an exciting project with latest technologies.
-Make impact in the Open Hardware movement!

Your Technical Skills:
-Django skills
-Javascript skills, ideally knowledge in any of the libraries we use: AngularJS & D3 
-Experience with REST APIs

And of course you are as excited by open source as we are!

You must be available to work within the Amsterdam area or London.
Interested in this adventure? Send a C.V. with a motivation to info@wevolver.com!

Moving on in the world

Since two weeks we have a great new place to be working on Wevolver!
We share a large space below a railway track with a group of creatives, techies, journalists and others from hard to define categories.
Literally a few meters straight above our heads are the trains to Amsterdam Central station passing over. Luckily we have good faith in Dutch engineering works, yet you might hear some distant rumbling when calling with us from now on.

We are super happy to be here. Somehow this place (called Workspace 6) feels very right. It could be like an offline metaphor for the vibrant interconnected place we want Wevolver to be.
People from various backgrounds mingle here, get inspired by each other’s work, find ways to collaborate or help others out. A mixture between productivity and fun.

And it is not only this single space. This whole area, including a few hundred meters of converted railway tunnels, is buzzing with activity.
Makers, designers and artist from all trades, analog to digital, are working here. When the weather is nice you’ll see carpenters sawing and milling on the pavement, and a folks behind their laptops on the terrace.

This too reflects what we see happening online. Wevolver is part of an ecosystem, both analog and digital, and bridging various trades. And the sum of that ecosystem is bigger then the parts. There are the offline workspaces like Fablabs and Hackerspaces. There are the Open Hardware companies that build a business around selling open products or services, like Ultimaker, which creates affordable high quality 3D printers, or like Arduino which provides a platform for prototyping electronics. There are the open source software programs that you can use for 3D modeling and there are technologies like wikis and forums that allow you to connect and share information.
And here too, this ecosystem as a whole, provides a place to meet people, to learn, make and do stuff and turn ideas into reality. And besides enabling you to be productive, this ecosystem is above all a very inspiring and fun place to operate in.
You can hear we are pretty excited about what is going on; it is great to be part of that world with Wevolver. 

And we are very happy to be working on that in an appropriate space.
Looking forward to see what adventures this will lead to!


25 Apr 2014 / 0 notes / office move movement 

The warm afterglow: A great launch, and exciting new things!

Two weeks ago we officially launched the beta-version of Wevolver and started issuing early access codes to our community. The response has been great and has given us a lot of energy. Thank you all for making our launch successful!


Wevolver was launched at the Arduino Day Amsterdam. An event that we co-organised with Ifabrica. It showcased many inspiring Open Hardware projects, many of which are hosted on Wevolver. Furthermore there were lightning talks by some great speakers such as Jonathan Carter from Sensemakers, and 3D printer and Arduino workshops.

For us this was the perfect environment to bring Wevolver to life! An energetic offline event that mirrors the atmosphere we are creating on the Wevolver website. A combination of technology, creativity and passion. People connecting, learning, and having a good time.

Yes, we will do this again so stay tuned!

We have also had great response to the beta-version of Wevolver. Many of you willing to share their Open Hardware projects and many others visiting the site for accessing the blueprints of Open Hardware such as the InMoov robot.
In coming time many more of those inspiring projects will be put online giving any one access to valuable knowledge for creating high quality products.

In the mean time we have been continuing development to keep pursuing our values of clarity and ease of use. You can expect extended functionality on the mindmap soon.

Richard has been working hard to share all footage from the launch event with nice movies and images. He also finished two nice interviews with people that keep pushing the boundaries of Open Hardware: Gael Langevin, founder of the InMoov robot, and Jonathan Carter from the Sensemakers community. We’re happy to see the enthusiastic reactions to Richards work, and to be featured by our heroes of Adafruit and Arduino on their blogs.

I hope you have gotten as much energy and inspiration from our launch as we do! Now back to work, I’ll keep you posted!

 

17 Apr 2014 / 0 notes

So what is Open Hardware?

Good question with an answer that is not set in stone, so it’s a topic I’ll get back to occasionally.
Many people have slightly different interpretations of the term and it is also used in conjunction with he term ‘Open Design,’ just to add to the confusion.

So as a starter here is how we at Wevolver view Open Hardware:

"Open Hardware is the term used for physical products that are released under a license that allows anyone without asking permission, to use, change and spread the information needed to create them. This means
anyone can recreate the product, improve it or adapt it.
Open Hardware allows for collaborative development. The term describes a wide range of objects; from electronics such as Arduino, to complex products such as robotics, simpler objects like furniture and large objects
like architecture.

The Open Hardware movement is inspired by open source software and how it generated innovation, created an invaluable pool of accessible technology and became a passionate occupation for many people.
We believe in the benefits and potential of Open Hardware and hope to contribute to its spread, and to the development of a significant body of knowledge and technology for anyone to use.”


Now there is a group called the Open Source Hardware Association which has created an Open Source Hardware Definition. It’s introduction starts like this


"Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is a term for tangible artifacts — machines, devices, or other physical things — whose design has been released to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute,
and use those things.”

-and then goes on to address criteria which licenses placed on Open Hardware must comply to. These criteria regard documentation, scope, attribution etc, and you can read the full definition at their website.

Researcher Massimo Menichinelli has lead efforts supported by members of the Open Knowledge Foundation to create an ‘Open Design Definition.’ It is still in development and its current state can be found on Github
The Open Design Definition states:

This is an open source and collaborative project that aims to create a formal (and open!) Open Design Definition, a crucial and missing step towards developing all the other important aspects of Open Design. Please note that we are developing a definition […] and not a license 

I expect that over time these different and still evolving views will crystallize into a mainstream view on what Open Hardware exactly is.
And probably there will also remain discussion around definitions. In the end what people do with it is the most important.

Arduino Show & Tell

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During the Arduino Show & Tell, inspiring Open Hardware projects that involve Arduino technology are being demonstrated and there will be a number of short presentations.

Projects are for example in the field of robotics, Internet of Things devices and interactive installations. Individual Makers and teams can apply to take part as long as their project involves Arduino and is open source.

The Arduino Show & Tell takes place during the worldwide Arduino Day.
Arduino Day is a celebration of Arduino’s first 10 years. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.

Program:

  • 13:00 Opening Show & Tell
  • 15:00 – 16:00 Talks
  • 16:00 – 17:30 Workshops
  • 17:00 Finish

Apply to show your project by sending an email about your project to info [at] wevolver.net

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5 Mar 2014 / 0 notes

We’re hiring!

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Wevolver is a website to host hardware development projects, such as open source robotics, 3D printers and IoT projects. We recently won the Social Tech Challenge from Nominet Trust, and are ready for an exciting year.

Wevolver wants to grow Open Hardware into a powerful movement with as much impact as open source software.
Therefore we want to work with the best technical and creative people. We highly value collaboration, ‘getting things done’ and owning responsibility. Our team consists of designers, front- and backend developers and is located in a creative office in the beating heart of Amsterdam

Is Wevolver something for you?
-work with the best in the field! Become part of a small & dedicated team,
-push technology forward! Work on an exciting project with latest technologies.

Available positions:

Experienced Backend developer:

You are..
-A leader: confident, communicative, collaborative. Good listener
-Having a ‘getting things done’ mentality: Willingness to deliver results and to constantly improve working methods.
-Acting as a team player: Enjoying the collaborative aspect of the startup. No ‘over the hedge’ mentality, taking responsibility.
-Being self reliant. able to make decisions, and to feel ownership for your part of the job.

And of course:
-Django skills
-Javascript skills, ideally knowledge in any of the libraries we use: AngularJS & D3
-experience with REST APIs

Flexible Frontend developer:

You are..
-Collaborative: you like to work in between the technical and creative field, you’re a good communicator
-Punctual: you get stuff done, and care about the details
-Flexible: able to work on rapidly evolving tasks, trying out new things quickly

Plus you have:
-HTML/CSS skills, ideally experience more complex websites
-Javascript skills

In any case you are:
-motivated
-independent
-critical
-able to deliver and make your deadlines

We offer a challenging job. It requires you to work flexible, have many responsibilities and to get the best out of yourself. The reward is to become part of the passionate, dedicated and creative team of Wevolver. This is a place where your ideas will be heard. We work with the latest technologies and we care for quality.

About Wevolver:

Wevolver recently launched a beta-version of the website that enables communities to host Open Hardware projects to make them accessible for a broad audience. We work with exciting communities in fields as Robotics, 3D printers and Drones. Recently we were awarded with funding and support of Nominet Trust, allowing us to pursue our mission of making hardware more open.

Our technology:
-Python (Django) & NGINX
-Javascript, Angular.js, D3.js

What you can expect when working with us:
-cool office in the heart of Amsterdam, shared with design and 3D printing companies
-good lunch (including the famous “broodje zeedijk’)
-after work drinks
-work with talented people like yourself/

Interested in working with us? Send a C.V. with a motivation to bram[at]wevolver.net

(your new office?)

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5 Feb 2014 / 0 notes

Wevolver winner of Social Tech Challenge by Nominet Trust and FFFG.

I’m super happy to announce that Wevolver has been chosen as one of the winners of the ‘Social Tech, Social Change’ challenge by Nominet Trust and Founders Forum For Good. The prize includes funding to continue development on Wevolver, as well as support by mentors and the network of both organizations.
As of this writing we are on Schiphol Airport to catch a plane to Oxford, UK., where the kick-off for this program will take place, and we are very excited to be meeting those two inspiring organizations and start working with them.

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For me this video about Nominet Trust says a lot, and Wevolver fully agrees with their statement “we believe in the collaborative power of the internet.” (O and as well when they say “the internet is an amazing place”)
Nominet Trust invests in and support projects committed to use the internet to make society better. As the UK’s leading social tech funder, they bring together, invest in and support people to make imaginative use of technology to address complex social challenges. Since 2009 Nominet Trust has invested 19 Million pounds. At Wevolver we are especially honoured and grateful by the support of Nominet Trust for our Amsterdam based organization, since only 3% of funded projects are outside the UK. More details in this infographic.

Founders Forum For Good brings together digital entrepreneurs (I guess that’s us) with the leaders of social and environmental organisations to accelerate how we tackle major social issues and inequalities at scale. Launched in June 2013, Founders Forum For Good builds on the unique capabilities within Founders Forum, the community for the best global entrepreneurs, established eight years ago. FFFG has teamed us up with Charles Mindenhall, co-founder of Blenheim Chalcot, to provide mentorship, and we are looking forward to working with Charles.

Since this is the first post of 2014 I’d like to take the opportunity to wish our followers and supporters all the best for this year. We will work round the clock to launch our version1.0 and support the growth of the Open Hardware movement. The team at Wevolver is very excited about the opportunities this year will bring, stay tuned!

17 Jan 2014 / 0 notes

Mozilla and Hardware

Last month I joined nearly 1,500 web experts, journalists, artists, educators and hackers for the fourth annual Mozilla Festival in London, — the biggest one yet. The program contained three packed days of brainstorming and building ‘the future of the web.’ The mostly interactive sessions at ‘MozFest’ covered areas such as web literacy and education, robotics and circuitry, open gaming, privacy, and open technology.

I went over to London because I had seen there was a track dedicated to ‘making the web physical’ and I wanted to participate and see how Open Hardware is connected to the open source software movement. Though Open Hardware was only one of 9 tracks during the festival, I still think it is a strong signal that it is present at all during this web and software event organized by Mozilla, which besides the creator of the Firefox browser is a strong advocate for an open Internet.
I found it really interesting to see that such a huge name in the field of open source software as Mozilla is acknowledging the rise of Open Hardware and considers it important and relevant for its community. It also hints that Mozilla sees that the web is extending beyond the screen to physical objects.

Being there on the ground it was great to meet so many software engineers being or becoming genuinely interested in hardware. Hardware can learn a lot from software and if Mozilla jumps in that is very important sign as well as a promising force to boost the movement.

On top of that, seeing the passion of the Mozillians and the sheer number of enthusiasts that joined the event from all over the world, really made me hope that Open Hardware could lead to such a community too.
For one reason it is greatly inspiring to be part of such a group, and secondly because they represent a powerful force that can achieve global impact. Therefor I hope Wevolver could become, or become part of, a ‘Mozilla for Hardware.’

Mozilla states its mission as “to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web”. Translating this to the development of physical objects surely makes sense.
So let’s promote openness, innovation & opportunity in the creation of hardware!

Open Hardware, hype or happening?

Is it hype or happening? Recently I was talking with my friend Richard about Open Hardware. We often refer to it as the Open Hardware Movement. Yet we actually weren’t sure how much really happens, and if, beyond a lot of talking, Open Hardware is really making impact. Is it a phenomenon of substantial size, is it actually happening beyond a few ‘poster projects.’
So I did a little background research to see how many Open Hardware projects I could find, and what I could learn from that. I shared my findings at the Fabfuse2013 Conference.

There isn’t a strict definition of it (the Open Design definition is as of this writing at version 0.3), and it it is hard to control how open a project actually is, thus I have to rely on the judgement of the project owners themselves. The best directory I could find is the one maintained by the P2P Foundation.

In total I found +700 projects in the directory, spread across categories as electronic components, consumer appliances, furniture, mobility, housing and space transportation. Quite some of the projects in the list seem to have parted, and there are some projects listed twice. Yet it is a substantial bigger amount then the list gathered in 2009 by open-innovation-projects.org which listed 128 projects.

Here is how the projects are divided between categories:

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Compared to the statistics researcher Kerstin Balka drew from open-innovation-projects.org in 2009 I see that the “production and machinery’ category is much bigger. I can imagine this relates to the large increase of open source 3D printers and tools like laser cutters. 

For me it was also really interesting to know what kind of online tools these projects use to host their projects and collaborate on their content.
I took a sample from the +700 projects across multiple categories. As expected a large amount of projects use a wiki as their main tool for hosting their documentation. Surprisingly an even larger amount, over 50% of all projects, simply use a website to share their documentation, or just have a website without easy access to documentation. Often there is very little possibility to collaborate on the content of the project. For me his showed the relevance of developing the Wevolver application once more.

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Still I couldn’t really answer my question “is Open Hardware happening?” It was difficult to distill how active projects really were, how many people were contributing, and how much the products developed in those projects were actually being put to use. I think this shows that Open Hardware is still in its infant stage at least, and it will be something we will just have to keep our eyes on.

Today I came across an interesting post by the Making Society in which the author shared a talk she gave at the Open Hardware Summit at MIT. It was titled “The State of Open Hardware Entrepreneurship 2013” and shared her findings on a research into Open Hardware producing companies.
I would advice to read through the whole post yourself, yet I want to share one of her slides which shows a steady increase in startups in the Open Hardware space.

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source: makingsociety.com

While I concluded it was hard to grasp the actual size of the so called Open Hardware Movement, going through so many projects again was really inspiring and again showed me the value of this phenomenon. It makes me just really curious to see where this is going.

3 Oct 2013 / 0 notes

Observe, Hack, Make.

As I look up from my 3D printer across the campsite I see a small rocket being launched. Next to me a guy is adjusting his drone quadcopter, and a bunch of kids are staring intensely at their laptop screens. 

I’m at OHM2013, which stands for Observe, Hack, Make, and it is a festival/conference drawing in over 3000 hackers from all over the world to a polder north of Amsterdam. I am here to demonstrate the 3D printing of an open source robot called InMoov

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The main reason we participated in the festival was because we just wanted to experience it. These influential hackercamps take place in the Netherlands every 4 years. This edition promised to show a much greater presence of the ‘maker scene,’ and of Open Hardware.

In this event we collaborated with the newly launched Fablab of Alkmaar, a nearby city. They had brought in even more 3D printers, so on the site we had access to six 3D printers at once. We fired them all up, distributed files from the InMoov robot across them and started printing. In the meanwhile we continued assembling already printed parts of the robot from last ‘print sprint’ at Protospace Utrecht 

We surely attracted a crowd. Lots of software geeks are really interested in fiddling with hardware, and showing them the possibilities of designing and printing stuff got us talking all day long.

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Only at the end of the day we were able to take a walk around the camp and see what others were working on. The site was huge, and the whole place had some sort of futuristic / post-current-western-society feel. Tents everywhere were filled with laptops, servers, cables and of course people doing things with them..

There were people launching self made rockets, people flying drones and there were many large tents which hosted talks on various topics such as internet security, property rights, distributed networks etc..  I only could attend one, though it seemed really interesting to me that these were the people thinking, talking about, and fighting for privacy rights, civil liberties and freedom of information.  WIRED reported on this movement, and see also this article by the MIT Technology Review which makes the case that “Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties.” Which in a way is no surprise considering the understanding what technology can do, both positively as in harmful ways, helps to take a stand in this debate.

I was quite happy I’m (being it only skin deep) sort of part of this, having some view on what is happening and having some experience with fiddling with both digital and maker technologies. I think it really broadens your world view, your understanding of how products (whether software or hardware) work, and gives you come more control in using, adapting and improving them. 

That might very well be one of the most valuable aspects of the Open Hardware movement: More people being able to feel what it means to understand technology, use it and change it to your needs. And how the ability of products to be hacked and opened is a valuable asset. The makers motto “If you can’t open it you don’t own it” certainly rings true in that perspective.

In any case I think it is promising we saw so many geeks and hackerspaces already being involved in Open Hardware.

O yeah we didn’t finish the robot, there are too many parts in there, yet we did make good progress, and are looking forward to the next opportunity to connect a bunch of printers together and start making.

10 Aug 2013 / 1 note