Status of Digital DIY and of the DiDIY project: some notes from Paris

Last week we presented the DiDIY project, its task, and what we are currently doing, at the Paris Open Source Summit, in the fossA (Free/Open Source Software in Academia) sub-event. More in detail, we briefly introduced, through these slides:

Who else was at POSS2016?

The conference main focus was, of course, Open Source Software, so most of the stands and talks were not about Digital DIY of physical artefacts, or what we call "ABC", that is "Atoms and Bits Convergence". Still, we found several things we will probably look at more closely in the next weeks. The most impressive one, from a purely visual point of view, is probably the "connected, Open Source car" by La Fonderie, shown in the collage above: a car ready for Digital DIY, that lets its owner collect a lot of data, analyse them at will, and tweak several functions, thanks to popular Open Hardware components like Arduino, or the Beagle Board.

DiDIY tractors? Of course!

Less glamorous, but potentially much more important in the long run, are the "autonomous tractor" activities of Matthew Reimer, a Canadian farmer who used DiDIY to hack his tractor, so it can follow and assist him in the fields. Details of Matthew's "tractor hacking" are here and here. As is, that specific DiDIY project may only be useful on very large, flat fields as in Matthew's case. Still, it is a perfect example and application of what we discussed last year in our paper on Digital DIY for self-sustainability of rural areas!

Equally interesting, in the same track, was the OpenBeeLab project, which defines itself as "Open source Beehouse monitoring for and by beekeepers, citizen, hackers, scientists... and even artists"!

Finally, in that different field of DiDIY that is open robotics, we found:

  • projects like Anki, whose goal is to make robotics as easy and ubiquitous as video games by "putting people at the center"
  • the fascinating work happening at INRIA on "soft", that is deformable robots