Open Toolchain Foundation

Most of the heavy lifting to enable democratizing digital fabrication processes is done through open source software. Despite this, there are many challenges related to the uses of software across stages of the design and manufacturing workflow, for example, when transferring bits from design software to a 3D printer or a laser cutter, or even among software for the same purposes.

With this in mind, the Open Toolchain Foundation (part of the INTERFACER Project) organized a kick-off workshop at Fab City Hamburg. At the workshop, we discussed some of the possible work streams for the organization and ways to collaborate with other actors from the open software and hardware movements.

Pieter Hijma (HIWW) is one of the leading voices behind the Open Toolchain Foundation.

Some ways to be involved in this project are:

Credits: OTF

Towards Open Source Patents

These past months I had the pleasure of collaborating with the FAST team from Western University by discussing possible ways to automate the process of applying the OSHWA Certification to open source appropriate technology projects in a way that makes sense for documentarians working on Appropedia.

What is the OSHWA Certification?

Members of the open hardware community have discussed over the years to define open hardware consistently. Some of these efforts are the Open Hardware Definition, a piece that has paved the way for other communities to open their creations. Most importantly, it has helped to clarify cases where products are advertised as open hardware but lack proper documentation or supporting materials.

One of the most important steps in this direction was the OSHWA Certification. This program reviews individual projects to ensure that a project complies with the open hardware definition and some minimum documentation requirements. This certification is done at no cost and is supported by community members.

Automating the certification process

Our research consists of a tool to automate the certification by pulling metadata directly from Appropedia’s API to attain two goals: 1) to ensure that the documentation is complete, aiding the process of fulfilling the requirements of the certification form, and 2) to reduce the time required to request the certification.

Our tool (still under development) can reduce the time used to fill out the certification form by 62%, making this a viable alternative to integrate the documentation work with the certification. Furthermore, it helps documentarians to verify the quality of their knowledge product while facilitating knowledge transfer to others who will know exactly where to find pieces of documentation.

Read the article here.

Documenting and assessing open innovation

In the past, I’ve explored the uses of data models in various aspects related to documentation. More specifically, how actionable knowledge can be extracted during the documentation process and repurposed. Some examples are here and here, both in the context of open works. Some of this work materialized in, for instance, supporting the Open Know-How specification, an initiative led by the Internet of Production Alliance.

Over the past couple of years, we had the chance to support the Global Surgical Training Challenge, an initiative by the Intuitive Foundation and supported by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, MIT Solve, Challenge Works, and Appropedia Foundation. Our role consisted in aiding the processes of documentation and organization of knowledge.

One of the goals of this work is to help others as they evaluate the training modules being produced, a work that I conducted alongside my colleagues Julieta Arancio and Diego Torres. In this case, we proposed to use the documentation’s data model as a tool for evaluation. The premise is that organized knowledge can help guide the creation process. The teams can teach surgical training in any way they see fit, using low-cost simulators and knowledge content. Still, the existence of documentation guidelines can help as a self-assessment guideline to communicate their ideas more easily.

One of the resulting boards of the co-creation workshop with some of the Challenge stakeholders.

We recently published an article titled Documenting and assessing open innovation: co-creation of an open data model for surgical training in the fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation. This issue was focused on the evaluation of citizen science. For this reason, we expound on the value of using data models for evaluation in innovation processes that are decentralized, a common occurrence in citizen-led research processes.

Final notes on the Green Web Fellowship

For the past year, I took part in the Green Web Foundation Fellowship program, which focused on the GWF goal of a carbon-free Internet. Alongside other great members of my cohort, we explored and studied together how the Internet’s physical infrastructure and uses correspond with negative environmental impacts. As the year closes, I am happy to share some of the products of my work during this time.

Fellowship project: Digital sustainability guide

My project was aimed at addressing the knowledge gap prevalent among tech workers, especially in developing countries. As the main driving force for digital infrastructure and software, it’s important that the people behind this work are aware of the consequences of their work at a global scale, including some of the repercussions that are visible locally.

My guide, available on Appropedia, will guide you through the important aspects to consider when evaluating your employer’s digital infrastructure and practices.

Fellowship blog

You can read the blog posts we developed during the fellowship on which I share some of the ideas explored during this past year.


I had the opportunity to present my work during re:publica, in Berlin.

Branch Magazine Article

I wrote an article for Branch Magazine to expound some thoughts regarding the view of critical thinking and conscious education alongside the open movement, as a view that guided my work in this fellowship.

A chat about Open Climate with Open Future

In May, some members of the Open Climate Team (Shannon Dosemagen, Evelin Heidel, Alex Stinson, and Michelle Thorne) had the opportunity to sit down with the people from Open Future to chat about our work in bringing awareness of openness to tackle climate issues.

Banner with the words Open Climate
By Shannon Dosemagen (CC-BY 4.0)

You can see the write-up that they kindly prepared after our chat below.

re:publica workshop: Sustainability, Accountability and Power

One of the results of my work as a Green Web Foundation fellow was a workshop at re:publica, a festival in Berlin focused on digital culture. The workshop title was Sustainability, Accountability and Power: What Remote Work Means for the Gig Economy Emissions.

The description is as follows:

This workshop will discuss how learning about the digital services footprint can empower workers from the Internet gig economy in developing countries to act toward the reduction of Internet emissions. Critically reflecting on sustainability in digital services must begin by including those who experience the effects of climate change the most.


The workshop involved participants in evaluating their organizations’ digital carbon footprint to create awareness in developing countries regarding the global impact of digital-based business models.


SolariseCon 2022 was a day packed with conversations about the concept of solarpunk, a movement focused on the reimagining of a carbon-free future. From the organizers of the event:

Solarpunk imagery tends to conjure up visions of solar panels and wind farms, but this only showcases large-scale projects. What does the path towards a fossil-fuel free future look like? How might we consider decentralisation of power, in quite literal terms? Could we—and should we—consider pathways to facilitate energy-independence and autonomy at a community level?

SolariseCon 2022 Poster
SolariseCon 2022 Poster CC-BY-SA 4.0 Commando Jugendstil

During this event, I had the chance to share common views with the great Barbara Schack from the Internet of Production Alliance, Prof. Joshua Pearce from Western University, and moderated by Francesco Verso, to discuss feasible views of the future regarding appropriate technology, and most importantly, the use of solar energy.

Redes de ciencia abierta y colaboración

El 3 de diciembre participé en un panel organizado por CIACIAR enfocado a redes de ciencia abierta y cooperación.

A continuación dejo la grabación del panel.

Episodio de Diseño y Diáspora

Recientemente tuve la oportunidad de compartir con Mariana Salgado de Diseño y Diáspora sobre algunos de los elementos de mi trabajo en Appropedia, así como experiencias sobre mapeo comunitario y diseño social.

Emilio Velis es un ingeniero industrial salvadoreño que se transformó en diseñador social. Nos cuenta en la entrevista sobre este pasaje, sus proyectos y sus intereses. Ha trabajado en temas de diseño para el ámbito comunitario que van desde facilitar el diseño de hardware en comunidades hasta usar juegos de cartas para el mapeo social.

Es el director ejecutivo de la Fundación Appropedia diseñando métodos y herramientas para que otras personas documenten sus proyectos, que van desde conocimiento práctico sobre un tema hasta proyectos físicos. Por ejemplo, actualmente uno de sus proyectos es apoyar a los equipos que documentan la Competencia Global de Entrenamiento en Cirugía.

Según Emilio, diseñar es mapear y documentar, por eso le pone mucho cuidado a estas prácticas. Cuando el diseñador mapea, puede entender cuál es el valor de lo que se genera, más allá de lo que se imaginó. Le apasiona pensar cómo se puede extraer y transmitir el conocimiento tácito que surge en los proyectos de diseño.

En esta entrevista hablamos de:  #sostenibilidad, #licencias, #prevención, #violencia, #prototipos, #juegos, #laboratorios, #fablabs, #makerspaces, #espaciosdehacedores, #tecnología

Espero que disfruten el episodio.

Defensa del territorio

Gracias a una amable invitación del Centro Nacional de las Artes de México, formé parte de las Jornadas de Autodeterminación Digital, un evento orientado a la discusión sobre el concepto de autodeterminación, un elemento clave de la identidad personal y social.

El panel en el que participé se enfocó en la defensa de territorios y tuvo a personas muy interesantes, con las que discutimos cosas como la definición de territorio en la era digital, la defensa del territorio en distintos ámbitos y contextos socioculturales y el impacto de las tecnologías, tanto positivo como negativo.

Cuando pensamos en digitalidad asumimos una bondad concatenada a la globalización y la universalización del conocimiento y los modos de conocer. Lo mismo sucede con las nociones de territorio y las formas de defenderlo. En esta mesa pondremos en cuestión los lugares comunes usados para pensar el territorio desde los hacktivismos y sus efectos en la autodeterminación de las comunidades.

Descripción del evento

A continuación dejo el enlace al evento.

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