|6782 - thinkcycle-about||17/04/2005 - 19:32:44|
ThinkCycle is an academic, non-profit initiative engaged in supporting distributed collaboration towards design challenges among underserved communities and the environment. ThinkCycle seeks to create a culture of open-source design innovation, with ongoing collaboration among individuals, communities and organizations around the world.
Why Open Source?
Key Article: Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Raymond
Software Movements: Free Software Movement and the Open Source Initiative
Research: Open Source Research Community (MIT)
How does one apply an Open Source approach to Hardware Products and Engineering Design? How can a global community of distributed domain experts and stakeholders collaborate towards evolving solutions to critical problem domains?
That is the driving motivation behind the ThinkCycle Initiative.
At the heart of the community is an evolving database of reasonably well-posed problems and ongoing design solutions contributed by universities, Non-Govermental Organizations (NGOs), companies and the general public. The system is primarily aimed at, but in no way limited to, using the design and engineering skills of the students and researchers in universities worldwide. One scenario is for professors to assign challenges to their students, assist them in working collaboratively with communities and organizations in developing countries while encouraging peer review from domain experts of evolving design solutions archived on ThinkCycle. Motivated teams of students may also work on critical design challenges as independent study projects with their departments. The objective is to document all evolving design solutions, rationale, processes, peer reviews and contributions within a searchable and cross-referenced system. Distributed and shared intellecual property issues are approached by maintaining all contributions for individual projects on the system (more on this issue will be formalized soon, as we work closely with our current ThinkCycle design teams).
Teachers and academics now have a resource for selecting interesting, applied problems while students gain experience in working on challenging real-world projects. Design teams can approach partner organizations for support in extending their work on the field and the development of subsequent products and services. NGOs, practitioners and researchers now have a resource for sharing problems and design challenges, while the general public benefit from open-source access to innovative design, and a new generation of individuals working on problems that matter for the environment and our communities.
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