Crucial Shareware: Open Hardware Addresses Environmental Problems
The concept of open hardware, like open software, aims to freely share all the necessary knowledge for building usable electronic devices, and participants range from innovative students to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
Protei, a worldwide collective of technology students, has designed an autonomous, mini-sailboat drone to ply the ocean and mop up oil spills, gather information on marine life in crisis, and clean up floating plastic trash. The Protei boats were originally designed to respond to the BP 2010 Gulf oil spill crisis. Trailing oil-absorbing booms, the drones can sail even in a storm to help with cleanup, unlike conventional ships concerned with crew safety.
Similarly, collaborating volunteers in Japan responded to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 2011 meltdown by building stationary and mobile radiation monitors.
Source: Scientific American