Over the last few years, society has undergone an amazing change in its relationship with technology and with its uses and manufacturing processes. The movement pioneered by Richard Stallman more than 25 years ago when he created the Free Software Foundation, made way for a flourishing culture in the development of Open Source Software, which continued to grow until it became a basic part of our lives and an essential tool for thousands of companies.
Soon, the idea that knowledge should be shared freely began to carry into other areas. In 2001, the diffusion of music, literature, cinema and art in general was granted legal backing in the way of licences, making it easier for information to be exchanged, and for the public at large to participate more freely in that exchange. The concept of "Open Culture" was born.
As part of this open culture, some electronics enthusiasts,engineers and technicians began to publicize freely their electronic designs and control software, to help others make good use of the time put into developing a project. They also believed that others might contribute towards improving their designs by correcting any flaws and by adding new functions to the designs.
In parallel with this Open Source Hardware movement, several communities which defend a different form of technology have been created all around the world .Groups dissatisfied with technology´s present artificial restrictions are trying to improve and mend electronic devices which have certain defects designed deliberately by some technological companies. Movements such as iFixit, Instructables and Hackaday reflect this concern with the understanding and adapting of the devices we possess.
Soon, and thanks to the proliferation of programming environments of simple microcontrollers such as Arduino, advanced electronic instrumentation such as that designed by Dangerous Prototypes or Gadget Factory, and open 3D printers such as RepRap and MakerBot, to mention just a few Open Source Hardware projects, we´ll be able to operate in our homes authentic miniature factories capable of creating technology invented and developed by ourselves or by anyone around the world.