Open source appropriate technology

Open source appropriate technology ( OSAT ) is an appropriate technology designed in the same fashion as free and open-source software . OSAT refers to, on the one hand, technology designed with special consideration to the environmental, ethical, cultural, social, political, and economic aspects of the community it is intended for. On the other hand, OSAT is developed in such a way as to allow their designs to be used, modified and distributed freely. [1] [2]


Open source is a development method for appropriate technology that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. Appropedia is an example of open-source appropriate technology. There anyone can both learn how to make and use of the patents. At the same time anyone can also add to the collective open-source knowledge base by contributing ideas, observations, experimental data, deployment logs, etc. It has-been Claimed que le potential for open-source-appropriate technology to drive applied sustainability is Enormous. [3] The built in continuous peer-reviewcan design, better reliability, and more flexibility than conventional design / patenting of technologies. The free nature of the knowledge of this technology, particularly for those technologies, which does not require a large degree of scale of manufacture. Finally, OSAT also enables the end to predatory intellectual property lock-in. This is particularly important in the context of technology focused on connecting suffering and saving lives in the developing world .

The “open-source” model can act as a driver of sustainable development . There are (at least) three good reasons: [4]

  1. It enables production as well as consumption;
  2. It enables localization for communities to provide local solutions;
  3. It can be “free”, an important consideration for developing communities. [5] following the lateral scaling concepts of Jeremy Rifkin . [6]

Ethical considerations

for solutions Many Researchers, companies, and academics do work on products Meant to assist sustainable development . Vinay Gupta has suggested that these developers agree to three principles: [7]

  1. I will not allow any human being to be deprived of life-giving technology by the profit motive.
  2. Any works that I will be able to do in the future.
  3. I will not use the law to slow the pace of innovation.

The ethics of information sharing in this context has been explored in depth. [8] [9]

Support in the literature

  • It has been investigated how open sharing of designs, specifications, and technical information can enhance effectiveness, widespread use, and innovation of appropriate technology. [3]
  • OSAT has been proposed as a new model of enabling innovation for sustainable development . [10]
  • OSAT has been claimed to assist in the development of medical technology for the developing world. [11] [12] [13]
  • It has been requested that the sharing of design processes, appropriate tools, and technical information enables more effective and rapid development of appropriate technologies for both industrialized and non-industrialized regions. [14] In addition, it is claimed that this sharing will require the appropriate-technology community to adopt open standards / licenses, document knowledge, and build on previous work. [14]
  • OSAT can be used to generate renewable energy [15]
  • OSAT in ICT [16]
  • OSAT and peer production [17]

In education

  • At the university level, the use of open-source-appropriate technology classroom projects has-been shown to be successful in forging the connection entre physics and social benefit: [18] This approach Has the potential to use university students’ access to resources and testing equipment in furthering the development of appropriate technology. Similarly OSAT has been used as a tool for improving service learning . [19] [20] MIT has completed a study on the usefulness of appropriate technology education and its relation to OSAT. [21]
  • It has been proposed that the evolution of the open-source 3D printers can enable a new method of development for OSAT [22] [23]

Open source scientific equipment

  • Open source hardware for science can also be considered OSAT. Hundreds of scientific tools have been developed and shared. Recently (2014) open source labs have been proposed. [24]


Appropriate technology is designed to promote decentralized , labor-intensive , energy-efficient and environmentally sound businesses. [25] Carroll Pursell says that the movement declined from 1965 to 1985, due to an inability to counter advocates of agribusiness, large private utilities, and multinational construction companies. [26] Recently (2011), several barriers to OSAT have been identified: [27]

  • AT seen as inferior or “poor person’s” technology
  • Technical transferability and robustness of AT
  • Insufficient funding
  • Weak institutional support
  • The challenges of distance and time in tackling rural poverty.

See also

  • Applied sustainability
  • Appropedia
  • Appropriate technology
  • Engineering for Change
  • Open design
  • Open manufacturing
  • Sustainable development


  1. Jump up^ Joshua M. Pearce, “The Case for Open Source Appropriate Technology,”Environment, Development and Sustainability, 14, pp. 425-431 (2012)
  2. Jump up^ Pearce, JM (2014). Free and open source appropriate technology. inThe Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization, 308.ISBN 9780415782265
  3. ^ Jump up to:b A. J. Buitenhuis, I. Zelenika and JM Pearce, Open Design-Based Strategies to Enhance Appropriate Technology Development “, Proceedings of the 14th Annual National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance Conference: Open , March 25-27th 2010 pp. 1-12
  4. Jump up^ Never Cascio, “Open Source, Development and Design”
  5. Jump up^ Zelenika and JM Pearce,Innovation Through Collaboration: Scaling Up Technological Solutions for Sustainable Development,Environment, Development and Sustainability16 (6): 1299-1316 (2014). doi:10.1007 / s10668-014-9528-7
  6. Jump up^ Rifkin, Jeremy. The zero marginal cost society: The internet of things, the collaborative commons, and the eclipse of capitalism. Macmillan, 2014.ISBN 978-1137278463
  7. Jump up^ Vinay Gupta, “Starting an anti-patent-abuse appropriate block political technology?”
  8. Jump up^ Shea, P. (2014). Community arts and appropriate internet technology: participation, materiality, and the ethics of sustainability in the digitally networked era.
  9. Jump up^ Bentley, CM (2014). Exploration information ethics for inclusive open development. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries.
  10. Jump up^ Pearce J., Albritton S., Grant G., Steed G., & Zelenika I. 2012.A new model for enabling innovation in appropriate technology for sustainable development. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 8(2), pp. 42-53, 2012
  11. Jump up^ Amy Kapczynski et al. “Addressing Global Health Inequities: An Open Licensing Approach for University Innovations” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 20 (2005): 1031-1114.
  12. Jump up^ Stephen M. Maurer, Arti Rai, and Andrej Sali, “Finding Cures for Tropical Diseases: Is Open Source an Answer?”, PLoS Medicine 1, no. 3 (December 2004): 183-186.
  13. Jump up^ Sinha, SR and Barry, M., 2011. Health technologies and innovation in the global health arena. New England Journal of Medicine, 365 (9), pp. 799-782.
  14. ^ Jump up to:b Joshua M. Pearce and Usman Mushtaq, ” Overcoming Technical Constraints for Obtaining Sustainable Development with Open Source Appropriate Technology ,” Science and Technology for Humanity (ICT-STH), 2009 IEEE Toronto International Conference , pp. 814-820, 26-27 September 2009
  15. Jump up^ Louie H. Experiences in the construction of open source low-tech off-grid wind turbines. In2011 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting 2011 Jul 24 (pp. 1-7). IEEE.
  16. Jump up^ Pscheidt, M. and van der Weide, TP, 2010. Bridging the Digital Divide by Open Source: A Theoretical Model of Best Practice.
  17. Jump up^ Rocco, GR, 2015. Developing Maker Economics in Post-Industrial Cities: Applying Commons Based Peer Production to Mycelium Biomaterials.
  18. Jump up^ JM Pearce, “Teaching Physics Using Appropriate Technology Projects,” The Physics Teacher, 45, pp. 164-167, 2007
  19. Jump up^ Joshua M. Pearce, “Applying for a Tool for Service Learning in Sustainable Development”,Journal of Education for Sustainable Development,3(1), pp.45-53, 2009
  20. Jump up^ S. Murphy and N. Saleh, “Information literacy in CEAB’s accreditation criteria: the hidden attribute”, InProceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Innovation and Practices in Engineering Design and Engineering Education, 2009. Hamilton, ON July 27- 29, 2009
  21. Jump up^ Crane, Amanda J.An investigation into and recommendations for appropriate technology education. MIT. 2011
  22. Jump up^ Kentzer, J .; Koch, B.; Thiim, M.; Jones, RW; Villumsen, E. An open source hardware-based mechatronics project: The replicating rapid 3-D printer, Mechatronics (ICOM), 2011 4th International Conference, 17-19 May 2011.doi:10.1109 / ICOM.2011.5937174
  23. Jump up^ J. M Pearce, C. Morris Blair, KJ Laciak, R. Andrews, A. Nosrat and I. Zelenika-Zovko, “3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development,” Journal of Sustainable Development 3 (4), pp. 17-29 (2010)
  24. Jump up^ JM Pearce,Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs, Elsevier, 2014.
  25. Jump up^ Hazeltine, B .; Bull, C. (1999). Appropriate Technology: Tools, Choices, and Implications . New York: Academic Press. pp. 3, 270. ISBN  0-12-335190-1 .
  26. Jump up^ Pursell, Carroll. “The Rise and Fall of the Appropriate Technology Movement in the United States, 1965-1985”. Technology and Culture,Vol 34, No. 3: 629-637 (July 1993)
  27. Jump up^ I. Zelenika and JM Pearce, “Barriers to Appropriate Technology Growth in Sustainable Development,”Journal of Sustainable Development 4(6), 12-22 (2011)


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