Open collaborative design/Intro

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Open collaborative design involves applying principles from the remarkable free and open-source software movement that provides a powerful new way to design artefacts, machines and physical systems. All the information involved in the creation of the item is made available on the Internet – textual information, drawings, photographs and 3D CAD models – so that other people can freely re-create that design, or help contribute to its further evolution.

The basis of this development model is a principle called Copyleft.png 'copyleft' which is a way of prescribing the terms of use for creative works so that anyone can freely make use of them or build upon them. Often copyleft licenses state that derivative works must inherit these same terms too, meaning that anything based on the original can also be freely used too. This principle ensures that 'copylefted' items – whether they are designs, text, artwork or computer code – are effectively gifted to humanity, adding to an ever increasing universal 'commons'. And because this principle is to the benefit of everyone, it completely changes the way that people think about contributing their time and effort to these sorts of endeavours.

Open collaborative design is a nascent field that has huge potential to radically change the way we create goods, machines and solutions – not just for personal items but potentially for all the material goods and infrastructure necessary to provide for the needs of the global population.