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The Rise of Open Source Hardware

The open source community dramatically changed the software industry, and one tech expert says hardware is next.

Open source disrupted the software industry, and according to Internet trailblazer Brad Templeton, now it's coming for hardware.

"You've heard of open source software," said Templeton, who in 1998 founded ClariNet Communications Corp. -- an early dot-com success. "The software that's running in your phone, in most of your laptops, except for Windows, [and] the Web service you're going to, where everyone builds software and contributes it back to the world. This idea is actually spreading now into hardware."

Arduino is an open source electronics hardware platform that is "free for anyone to modify, and anyone to make," Templeton said. "And that's what's made it one of the most successful computers when it comes to fast computer prototyping."

In 2013, an estimated 700,000 Arduino boards were in use.

"It may make sense, just as people in the software world learned, to take the designs for your hardware and let other people manufacture and improve it," Templeton said.

"Most of the smart people in the world work for someone else," he added.

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