Recap: Open Science Shop & Open Flexure Microscope Working Group Meeting (May 2024)

Recap: Open Science Shop & Open Flexure Microscope Working Group Meeting (May 2024)
White text on a blue background reads "Recap: Open Science Shop & OpenFlexure Microscope Working Group Meeting, May 2024".
Written by Jo Long and Brianna Johns for the Open Science Shop Newsletter

Each month, we share a summary of our most recent Open Science Shop & OpenFlexure Microscope Working Group (OSS-OFM WG) meeting as we continue to work together to enable distributed manufacturing of the OpenFlexure Microscope (OFM) on a global scale.

The Open Science Shop convenes these working group meetings on a monthly basis. Keep reading below to learn more about what happened at this month's meeting!

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To learn more about the OSS-OFM WG, check out our first post here.

Update on IO Rodeo Customer Outreach

Jo Long (representing IO Rodeo) reported back on their initial customer outreach. They have been using their newsletter to share progress on developing an OFM kit. They invited members of their community via the newsletter to fill out an early sign-up sheet so they could start to gauge which types of microscope kits had the most interest. For example, did most people want a "complete kit" with all of the parts, or would they prefer a smaller "hardware-only" kit. They also wanted to gauge interest in offering the low-cost vs. high-resolution microscope kits.

From this initial outreach, they received responses from 18 individuals in 9 different countries. 50% of responses were US-based (which is where IO Rodeo is located), with other responses from Canada, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, and South Korea.

  • 18/18 (100%) of respondents selected the “complete kit” option, so this was clearly the top choice
  • 10/18 respondents selected the “Hardware kit,” “Electronics kit,” and “Optics kit”
  • 8/18 selected the “3D-printed parts kit”
  • 17/18 respondents selected the High-Resolution microscope version
  • 7/18 respondents selected either kit (no preference)
  • 1/18 respondent selected the Low-Cost microscope version

Jo also reported back that they followed up with some potential customers to get feedback on whether they would want to source their own Raspberry Pi and optics or have the option to buy them along with the kit.

Responses so far have been were pretty evenly divided, with 50% responding they would want the option to purchase a Raspberry Pi with the kit and 50% saying they would source their own. With optics, it was slightly leaning towards more, saying they would prefer the option to purchase optics with the kit.

Based on these responses, IO Rodeo decided to offer the "complete kit" and the Raspberry Pi and high-resolution optics as add-ons.

Beta Release Update for the OFM

Richard Bowman shared an update on the new Beta version of the OFM. The new version includes an updated electronics drawer/base, instructions fixes, and a new band insertion tool. The OFM team hopes to release Beta 3 in the coming months, which will focus on electronic components like the Sangaboard.

OpenFlexure Microscope v7.0.0-beta2 released
I’m pleased to report the latest beta has now been built and put up on our build server: https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/v7.0.0-beta2/ This includes many small tweaks, including updated electronics drawer/base, instructions fixes, and a new band insertion tool. We hope beta 3 will follow in a month or two, with a number of improvements, see the milestone on gitlab for progress.

Open Science Shop Product Page on Website

During this month's meeting, the WG discussed the need to have products listed on the Open Science Shop website. Members of the Sales & Marketing task force volunteered to help build out a clear products page that includes an e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, that can enable anyone to buy a product from any manufacturer who lists it on our website.

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To learn more about the OSS-OFM task forces, check out our last blog post here.

Next Steps

The Open Science Shop will continue hosting these meetings every month. The next meeting is scheduled for June 3rd at 4 pm UTC. The goal of the meeting is to review and affirm the working group's proposed structure of task forces.

It's not too late to participate in the next OSS-OFM meeting. Fill out the meeting interest form and we will send you an invite to the next meeting.

Interested in bringing your open science hardware design to market? Connect with Open Science Shop

Open Science Shop's role is to facilitate connections between open science hardware project creators and a distributed manufacturing network. In addition to the OpenFlexure Microscope, we are also seeking to pilot distributed manufacturing initiatives with other designs. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the format we are developing is a space where anyone in the open science hardware community can bring a Product Proposal to the group for consideration. If you are interested in collaborating with Open Science Shop to support bringing your open science hardware design to market, please let us know by submitting this form, and we will follow up with the next steps.