Open collaborative design/Intro

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Open collaborative design involves applying the highly successful free and open-source software methodology to the design of machines and systems in the physical world and it will be no less than a revolution in the way these are created.

The designs are licensed using a principle called copyleft. This makes them freely available for anyone else use or build upon and any derivations also inherit the copyleft license effectively meaning the design is gifted to humanity in perpetuity. New generations of free and open-source CAD programs will allow people to easily build designs from scratch, or choose from vast libraries of previously created components, assemblies or complete artefacts and evolve them further or customise them for their own use.

These design principles can apply to the simplest things that can be made by individuals, all the way up to large-scale and complex systems of national or global infrastructure. Because the designs are not closed and proprietary, people will be encouraged to contribute knowing their involvement not only benefits themselves but anyone else who chooses to use the results of their efforts.

Creating the designs physically will be fast and easy due to emerging high-speed, flexible manufacturing techniques. As a result the open design ecosystem will effectively become an internet for physical objects — and its impact is likely to be as great as the web has been for information.

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