The Arduino miniconference at LCA has (pardon the pun) taken off in popularity since its first session last year. Several cities in Australia now have hardware hacker groups and even hacker spaces. There are several other activities such as BarCamps where everyone gets to participate in presenting information and run things. Andy Gelme informs me that there are several companies around the world that are making open hardware and firmware that are earning over a million dollars, which shows that the field has a large following.
I've talked with several hardware hackers about this and one common idea that they raise is that there would probably be a lot more hands-on tutorials. I don't know if this is true - you'd think at something like OSDC there would be heaps of tutorials and lots of code being written, but in fact I think lots of people go just to find out what other people have been doing and to learn from that, and that's common to both hardware and software interests. But I certainly think that having more concrete goals - actually producing things, whether software or hardware, is a great thing to aim for.
Personally, I think there'll have to be a hardware hacking conference before the end of the year - there's just too much interest to contain it!
All posts licensed under the CC-BY-NC license. Author Paul Wayper.