Report on the state of the Open Hardware

The Open Source Hardware data (OSHdata) organization has presented an interesting report on the current state of open hardware. The report presents statistics on different aspects of all the projects that have been certified. By February 2020 (date of the analysis) there were already more than 400 projects. Among others, the authors of the report include data on the commercialization of the projects, information on their creators or the licenses used. The full report is available on the report page of the OSHdata website. Below we present the most interesting ones.

Illustration of the design process of Open Hardware projects.
Open Hardware design process. Autor Nicolas Thomas

Commercialization

One of the key aspects highlighted in the report is the commercialization of open hardware projects. Among more than 400 projects, almost 60% of them currently offer the products developed for sale. In addition, the average price of sale of the products is $211.47 being the price of more than half of them lower than $35. In this first price range you can find products such as sensors, 3D printed parts and USB accessories.

Statistical charts of commercialized Open Hardware products. Percentage of products marketed and sales prices.
Commercialization of Open Hardware projects. Marketed products and its price ranges.

At the other end of the price range we have just under 10% of products that are priced from $1001 to $4950. As an extreme case in some configurations in the case of one of the projects the final product can reach a price up to $50000.

Certification Rate

Another of the most interesting aspects shown in the report is the constant increase in new projects. Every year the number of certified projects grows. It took a total of 289 days to reach the first 100 certified projects. Then 388 days (a little more than a year) to issue the certificates from the 100 to 200 projects. It took 339 days to get from 200 to 300 and finally from 300 to 400 only 197 days.

Chart showing the number of certificates issued annually between 2016 and 2019.
Number of certificates issued annually between 2016 and 2019.

Certification By Country

Currently the certification has a global scope. OSHWA has issued certificates in a total of 36 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

Map with the number of certificates issued by country.
Number of certificates issued by country.

In terms of the total number of certificates issued, the country with the most certificates by far is the United States. Europe as a whole is very close. Countries such as USA or UK have a total of over 600 and 13 certified projects respectively (as of July 2020).

Project types

Each of the certified Open Hardware projects is registered within one of the available categories. Among them the most popular are 3D printing (almost 1/3 of the projects in 2020), electronic components (about 20%), education and IoT.

Chart with the percentage of each type of certified project from 2016 to 2020.
Topic of the certified projects between 2016 and 2020.

About OSHdata

OSHdata is an independent project created 2020 by several members of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA). Its main mission is to analyze and promote the commercialization and adoption of Open Hardware by the industry. In their own words:

We are connecting the dots between projects, products, and people, to help this community grow together. This service is purpose-built to help make tough decisions. Decisions about pricing and margins, which markets to pursue, and trade-offs between business models. 

OSHdata

On the other hand, OSHWA promotes the creation and distribution of Open Hardware and since 2015 it issues its own certification. OSHWA certification guarantees that a given project, including its documentation and source code, is available to be used for any purpose. Bike Pixels is one of the certified projects :).

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Open Hardware is becoming increasingly important in the industry. With the advent of technologies such as 3D printing it is becoming easier for anyone to have access to manufacturing processes that were previously only available to large companies. The amount of open projects is growing unstoppable and throughout 2020 we are seeing a spectacular increase in the number of certified projects. To date (July 2020) only in the United States alone, there are a total of 645 projects (compared to just over 400 at the beginning of the year globally). Next year’s Open Hardware status report will probably show this impressive evolution.


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