We've mentioned thoroughly lovely chap and fellow UK Maker Belter Ben Gray's MeArm project - and its recent controller add-on, the MeBrain - several times before, but this week it hit a major milestone: the release of what Ben describes as the true Version 1.0 design files. A fully-functional robotic arm aimed at the hobbyist and educational user, the MeArm design has always been smart: it's easy to assemble, uses a minimum of parts, and can be laser-cut from a single A4 sheet of acrylic. It's also open hardware, although Ben readily admits that he's been lax with releasing his most recent revisions.
"I would say that up until yesterday MeArm was guilty of open-washing," he sheepishly admitted in a brief interview, referring to his pet peeve of projects claiming to be open source yet making it impossible to find the source files themselves, "and failing the 10 minute rule of open source. You couldn't find the latest version within 10 minutes as it wasn't shared." With the 1.0 files now available to download, the MeArm is truly open once again - and the community has already responded, taking Ben's modifications and improvements and rolling them in to their own variant designs.
"It's amazing to see so many variants out there," Ben rejoiced of the MeArm's global adoption. "So far there are five distinct commercial products: the MeArm.Joystick of Taiwan, the eeArm of South Africa, the MePed and ArmUno of North America, and MeArm/UArm hybrid in South America. I've been surprised at how fast they've taken on the new innovations, too. MeArm.Joystick already has the cable tidies and the files were only released yesterday!"