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A Catalogue of Civic Open Hardware Projects

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Beyond Modifying Your Honda Civic

Civic open hardware projects are surprisingly difficult to find. Google results are littered with ways to modify your Honda Civic. As a proud owner of a 2000 Honda Civic with just over 108,000 miles, I appreciate this. That said, it's not quite what we're looking for.

The phrase "civic open hardware" hasn't become as common place as "open gov" or "open data", and the phrase "civic hacking" has been passively defined to mean tools that primarily use software.

Defining Civic Open Source Hardware


The word "civic" is a pretty all encompassing term; indeed, a fun challenge is to find something in our lives in which civics to does not play a role. The definition need not be limited to things we normally associate with government. One guiding principle might be that it should involve community and participation.

There has been a fair amount written about defining "civic hacking" (links to articles in the future. For this page, the goal is to have a collection of projects that make use of "open hardware".


The phrase "open source' is the topic of more debate than one would expect, with many nuances and forks. A collection of some general definitions can be found in the links below:

While it is hoped that the list below will elucidate a number of open source projects, there is now a space below for closed, or seemingly closed projects, too.


As for the definition of "hardware", there is an opportunity here to reassert a definition that is not limited to computation. Artifacts such as D-Lab's Bicilavadora, a pedal powered washing machine, certainly employ wares that are hard, and can even be picked up at a hardware store.

The List

Insert your link here, and re-organize as you see fit!

  1. Obviously: Public Lab Tools
  2. John Keefe, Team Blinky, Cicada Tracker
  3. Many Labs
  4. Low-Cost Illuminated Threat Alert
  5. The EyeWriter
  6. Between the Bars a paper based blogging platform for those who are incarcerated.
  7. Timenesia
  8. D-Lab
  9. Environmental Sensing and Visualization, Public Design Workshop
  10. I, Citizen, The Activists Board Game, Museum of Contemporary Phenomena
  11. Mesh Networking, e.g. Byzantium, Commotion
  12. DiY Bio Printer
  13. Particulate Air Pollution Sensor
  14. Sound Generating Protest Flag
  15. Overpass Light Brigade
  16. Pedal Powered Generator
  17. Smart Citizen Project
  18. Open Source Beehives
  19. Global Village Construction Set
  20. Safe Cast
  22. OpenROV Open-source underwater robots for exploration and education
  23. AirPi Air quality sensor shield for Raspberry Pi
  24. openMaterials
  25. Open Source Civic EV Kit

Not, or seemingly not open, but inspiring nonetheless:

  1. Rainforest Connection