Building Open Source Hardware

Building Open Source Hardware is a very very practical reference guide on the nuts and bolts of going from a maker project to a growing business.  Alicia has brought together a great description of the state of the art.

She doesn’t have all the answers yet – no-one does. But this book is the start of an enormous change in the way we make things. Turning the open source hardware movement into a radical open source decentralised manufacturing system.


New Years Resolutions and Fitness Tracking

Gadget Guru is a short weekly radio show on World Radio Switzerland that I do with Tony Johnston.

Here’s the show from January 6th, 2015:

A few links from this show:

If your new years resolution is to get fit there’s no better way than eat less and move more. Technology can’t (yet) stop you eating but it can help with the moving, so here are some of the fitness trackers you can get from Fitbit, Withings and Jawbone.

Prices start from around 65 CHF. Or you can just use an app for your smartphone like Moves but then you must carry your smartphone all the time. If you put it down it won’t track your steps.

If you want to hack your life then If This Then That is the site you need. Make the internet work for you doing things that usually only coders can 🙂

If you want a heads-up on CES there is a useful CES preview at TechRadar. Plenty of wearables.

My VOIP provider that lets me have a UK incoming phone number is LocalPhone but there are others, including Skype. As expats living on an international border having multiple incoming phone numbers in different countries can be useful.

Here’s the Octopus:

and here’s the four-finned robot cuttlefish:

Next week we’ll look at the output from CES.

Christmas Gadgets, the Santa Tracker

Gadget Guru is a short weekly radio show on World Radio Switzerland that I do with Tony Johnston.

Here’s the show from December 23rd, 2014:

A few links from this show:

3D Printed cookie cutters can be downloaded from thingiverse or you can design your own.  The best place to try 3D printing is your local hackerspace.

Post Tenebras Lab in Geneva has an open evening each Tuesday.

Fixme in Lausanne has an open evening each Wednesday.

FabLab La Cote in Nyon has it’s open evenings on Mondays.

The Christmas Shopper Simulator from Game in case your shopping was too easy this year

The Norad Santa Tracker

The cool magnetic levitation hoverboard

and the noisy one that you can make yourself

Zero to Maker

zero to makerZero to Maker by David Lang is a book does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a guide to how to find out how to learn (just enough) to make (just about) anything.  I wanted this book so much I helped fund it on Kickstarter.

And now, as we have a copy at Post Tenebras Lab as well, one of the members has been making the OpenROV from this book, which we tested in a swimming pool in Carouge.

Zero Marginal Cost Society

ZeroJeremy Rifkin has a style of writing that annoys a lot of people, if you read the comments online.  I found the Zero Marginal Cost Society to be a valuable contribution to the debate that is taking place about capitalism.  Logically, capitalism will always find the lowest cost option, but with open source that cost should be approaching zero.  So what happens if everything takes the lowest possible cost?  What does society look like?  How does it function?

This is not a howto guide that takes us to the economics of “Star Trek The Next Generation” but it helps move the debate on, and should be required reading for anyone involved in the sharing economy.

Ecological-FabLab in the Geneva region

Dream, Build, Repair, Learn, Share

My main project right now is the creation of an ecologicalfablablogo Fablab here in the Geneva region.

“Fab Labs give people the tools they need to create technology and make (almost) anything”

Professor Neil Gershenfeld – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Eco-Innovation is at the cutting edge of the third industrial revolution.  When you combine innovations in energy production with the open source hardware movement you create very low cost & high value technologies.

We are building a creative space to stimulate local innovation.  We dare to dream big, start small and grow fast. This has become Pangloss Labs. If you’re interested in joining us, take a look at our web site


In 2010 I looked around for a local ecological group to join. I was completely fed up with people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do, but no-one telling what my life would be like if I did these things. I wanted to know if a compost bin smells bad in the summer (no), how dangerous it is to cycle to work in Geneva (fine as long as it’s not icy), or what it’s really like to eat a vegan diet (not for me, but cut back on the red meat). and I wanted to find answers to these questions from people that weren’t trying to sell me something. Nothing existed around me so I started a local ecological association in Ferney-Voltaire, Eco-Pratique.