Determinants of adoption in open-source hardware: A review of small wind turbines

The successes of open-source software raise the question of whether technological hardware that has been developed based on an open and collaborative mode of innovation can achieve similar levels of diffusion. While some expect such open-source hardware (OSH) to lead to transformational changes in the ways technologies are produced, the available empirical evidence suggests that, to date, the diffusion of most OSH applications has been modest. In this paper, we focus on the limited uptake of OSH and study factors that help explain its adoption by users who replicate available open-source designs. Given our limited understanding of this topic, we present an in-depth study of small wind turbines based on open designs. Through a systematic review of the case-specific literature, we identify and analyse 60 documents, including case studies, construction manuals, market analyses, and technical assessments. We find that the adoption of available open-source wind turbine designs by technology users depends on a number of factors that are currently underemphasized in discussions on the potential of OSH. This includes the quality of OSH self-manufactured products, the particular motivations of adopters to engage with OSH, the availability of adequate production inputs for local manufacturing, and the resources available through open-source communities.

Authors:Tobias Reinauer, Ulrich Elmer Hansen
Published year:2021
Content type:Journal article
Orbit ID:144d832a-de1c-4f6e-80a0-8b5017ddc2bb
Is current:Current
No. of pages:12