Science literacy through community mapping

September 12, 2020

Last year I wrote about a card game that we designed to determine safe and unsafe areas in San Salvador. The game’s premise was simple: to randomize questions and prompt yes/no answers regarding points on a map, all of this done as a physical exercise by using cards. The resulting data points were put used to produce a map of perceptions. At the end of the exercise, participants evaluated the results and validated the perceptions of the community.

This past September I presented this experience at the ECSA 2020 conference. The proposal consisted of using this game as a method of developing scientific literacy among dabblers, that is, one-time participants or people with little experience in citizen science. As they navigate the experience of gathering perceptions and validating them, this process can help them solidify the concept of a hypothesis and the notion of falsifying initial perceptions about a problem. In turn, they can have a more informed view of the problem at hand, which will motivate them to participate in the future. We definitely saw this as a positive outcome of our experience.

You can see the presentation below.


July 26, 2020

Last week we had the opportunity to share some of the ideas behind Open Know-How at the FabXLive conference. Open Know-How is a metadata standard envisioned by Andrew Lamb from Massive Small Manufacturing and developed by a neat group of open hardware enthusiasts.

From the session’s description:

The COVID-19 pandemic was addressed by a surge of open source projects made by makers around the world. As a result of these decentralized and hasty efforts, users have been overwhelmed by a variety of redundant ideas, as well as a lack of complete and standardized documentation. This will be mainly a documentation workshop on which we will explore the Open Know-How Standard.

During the workshop we will learn how to make OKH Manifest files and use it to document and evaluate medical designs for COVID-19 around the web. We will use this information to learn how to effectively discover, compare and select the best projects from a list of devices. As a final activity, we want to discuss the possibility to apply Open Know-How for a wider variety of applications in the maker community.

Check the workshop documentation here.

AWEsome Interview

July 14, 2020

Is it possible to draw socially-minded people into social innovation? How can we scale sustainable solutions in our local settings? Check some of the answers in this video prepared for the Awesome Business Competition.


June 7, 2020

Global Fab Talks was the first event in a series of global conversations on the response displayed by the global Fab Lab network to the pandemic, organized by the Fab Foundation and the Latin American Fab Lab Network.

Collaborative Innovation for Future Resilience

May 21, 2020

I had the chance to share space with the founders of great innovations and other experts on a Virtual Roundtable organized by Wikifactory, in relation to how innovation can build resilience for the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The amount of inventive designs and the grassroots manufacturing happening around the world has brought maker communities into a global spotlight, and now we need to start wondering where do we go from here. Can makers worldwide handle the pressure and requirements of such an important task?

You can watch the video here.


April 27, 2020

Tomorrow, I will be taking part of an event organized by NOVACT (International Institute for Nonviolent Action). The event aims to share experiences on related to the uses of technology in ways that protect human rights and personal privacy.

My participation will represent Appropedia, and will focus on how appropriate technology can be used around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of connecting with real needs in communities.

Más información

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AWEsome Competition Keynote

April 25, 2020

Last month, I had the incredible opportunity to visit Arcata CA to speak about Latin American experiences in technology and community development. The keynote was part of the Awesome Business Competition, an event focused on agriculture, energy and water projects in California.

This was a great personal experience due to the fact that it gave me the chance to reminisce on my personal work over the past five years, as well as the great things that my colleagues have done in this time. The main thread of my professional experience is, basically, that you don’t need to be successful from a personal perspective in order to create impact in the world; perhaps that is even better.

Please take your time to enjoy the keynote and let me know your thoughts over Twitter.

Open hardware from Academia

February 15, 2020

During the first week of February, a group of researchers and users of open hardware in academic contexts gathered in Bath to discuss topics that relate to hardware development, documentation, licensing and the involvement of academia with the open source community in general.

Please check the notes of our sessions at the OHAC2020 Gitlab Repository.

Parking Space Wars

October 17, 2019

This is a story that I wasn’t planning on telling anyone, but I was invited recently to propose a technological project that relates to traffic issues, which are very severe in my city. This brought this to my mind. The story begins with me waking up very early so I could arrive around 6 a.m. every morning to work.

I had a different, but related problem at the same time, due to a lack of parking spots at the office where I worked some time ago. A person bought a new car and decided to start taking my sport, which was conveniently located right next to the office’s entrance.

I was having none of that, so we started this passive-aggresive (but friendly) competition for this parking spot. Soon, a few people followed suit in seeking this parking space, including my boss (who is also one of my best friends). I started then registering data on Twitter to make it a bit more fun. The logic was as follows:

  • A hashtag (#s) to record my departure and arrival times.
  • Another one to register the result (W = win, L = lose).
  • A time modifier in case it was necessary (i.e. I had forgotten to record data on time).

Take this tweet for example, on a day with a loss (they were painful!)

My friend were having a good time with it:

In the end, I used Twitter’s API to fetch and R to analyze the data. Did I learn something? Not really from the data, but from using simple modifiers on Twitter to record activity and results. I think that a useful application can be used to encode situations like those of disaster response.

Metadesign and participation

June 1, 2019

This May I had the chance to develop some ontology work as a workshop at the Creative Commons Summit in Lisbon. The goal was to present some of the ideas on the subject, some of which I have already written about.

The session had a very varied group, which was nice. OSH seems to have a very boad audience that spans various domains: engineers, lawyers, etc. No wonder many of us see it as the next big milestone for the open movement.

My favorite part of the session was when a lawyer at the session (I am sorry, can’t remember you name!) conspicuously said that the idea sounded very much like a proposal for a patent. That was awesome, because it was one of the intentions that I had for this: that a conceptual definition of a thing or artifact could help categorize and .

The second part of the session involved the use of real hardware documentation. A set of predetermined metadata fields was given to each table which participants moved around to sort and define an ontology. This approach helped members with different views around what OSH is to use the terms that were most important to their domain. In the end, what an artifact is can be discussed by those who will make use of it to differentiate and categorize.

If you want to know a bit more about this session, feel free to review the presentation:

Check the session notes as well; these were taken by Lucy Patterson (thank you!).