Recap: Open Science Shop & OpenFlexure Microscope Working Group Meeting (February 2024)

The Open Science Shop & OpenFlexure Microscope teams are working together to enable distributed manufacturing globally.

White text on blue and orange background reads "Recap: Open Science Shop & OpenFlexure Microscope Working Group Meeting"
Written by Brianna Johns for the Open Science Shop Newsletter

On February 12th, 2024, the Open Science Shop convened its first working group meeting with the OpenFlexure team, inviting a diverse group of manufacturers, developers, entrepreneurs, and more to brainstorm the distributed manufacturing of the OpenFlexure Microscope. We hope that the working group model established at this meeting can serve as a model for future working groups focused on the distributed manufacturing of other open source instruments for science and research.

Keep reading to learn more about what happened at the meeting and our plans for the future!


The meeting brought together a dynamic cohort of participants interested in the distributed manufacturing of the OpenFlexure microscope. These participants represented a range of different organizations, including businesses such as IO Rodeo, LabLab GmbH, and Our Sci, non-profits like Amybo, and research labs and communities from across the globe, including reGOSH, Manufacturing Change, Mboalab, Pint of Science Kenya, and the Open Hardware Allianz (OHA).

The Role of Open Science Shop

The meeting opened with Open Science Shop team member Greg Austic providing context on the role of the Open Science Shop as a convener. The proposed model for the Open Science Shop is built upon the ethos of collective empowerment over the development and manufacturing of open scientific instruments on a global scale.

"Open Science Shop is a convener for the sharing and refinement of Open Science Hardware products. We bring together contributors with potential interest in participating in the life cycle of a product (marketers, manufacturers, sales, customer support, development) to hear proposals from those with products they want to see grow and scale." Source: OSS proposed structure Miro Board

The purpose of the Open Science Shop will be to 1) host monthly meetings for working groups, such as the OpenFlexure microscope, 2) create a standardized proposal format, and 3) develop template agreements relating to shared goals (MOU), product distribution and product life cycles.

Miro board of proposed structure of the Open Science Shop

The OpenFlexure Team & Participant Introductions

After setting the stage for the meeting, we invited the OpenFlexure team to give an introduction to the OpenFlexure microscope. During this time, the team described current and potential markets, the cost to make and sell an OpenFlexure microscope, the amount of effort and skill required to assemble it, barriers to accessing parts, continued development of the device, and how to provide customer support in the future.

This was followed by a round of introductions from the rest of the group, where participants shared the roles they are interested in having in this working group, their resources and constraints, and their level of expertise regarding the OpenFlexure Microscope.

Next Steps

At the end of the meeting, participants listed the next steps for the working group, which included the following tasks:

  • Map people and roles for the working group
  • Confirm when new version of the microscope is being released
  • Agree on manufacturers & their requirements
  • Establish quality control and assurance
  • Determine marketing strategy
  • Gather feedback from manufacturers on how the OpenFlexure team can support them
  • Define hardware specifications in detail (e.g. magnification, resolution, etc.), for each version of the microscope
  • Translations of the project's documentation.
  • Exercise/draft cost for production at 10-20x scale

The Open Science Shop will continue hosting these meetings on a monthly basis. The next meeting is scheduled for March 11th at 8:30 pm UTC, and will focus on defining roles within the working group.

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 March 11th 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 next steps.