An article from Technology Review:
Open-Source, Multitouch Display
Projects like these illustrate two important trends in technology, says Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media, the publishing company whose Make and Craft magazines put on the Maker Faire. First, the falling cost of hardware enables people to play with high technology without taking a large financial risk. Second, people are forming online communities, such as Instructables.com and wikiHow.com, to share their ideas, solve problems, and start collaborative projects.
Traditionally, O'Reilly says, the open-source community has focused on software, but in recent years, there's been a push to share more information about hardware. "What we're seeing is, hackers are engaging in the world of things in the way that they used to in the world of software," he says. And the more people are able to contribute to building and improving technology, the more chance there is for innovation.