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Cenditel, the foundation on open technologies

dcuartiellesAugust 16th, 2008

This summer has for sure been a complicated one. In the beginning of it, I introduced Arduino at Cenditel’s Open Technology Week (II Jornadas de Reflexión, Investigación y Desarrollo de Tecnologías Libres) that happened in Merida, Venezuela. Cenditel, which stands for Centro Nacional de Desarrollo e Investigación en Tecnologías Libres, is a foundation dedicated to supporting the introduction of open software and hardware tools into everyday life. Their plans go from the implementation of programs to handle collaborative project solving to the creation of an open source hardware factory to improve education and the creation of new types of business models within the country.

Footbal Bar where to go for breakfast in Merida

Football Bar in Merida, specialists in breakfasts and football camps

The event was not closed to technologists, it was free entrance, free knowledge, free coffee, free Arduino workshop, and free final dinner. People came from all over Venezuela and explained about different social projects carried by the foundation. On top of those, Cenditel’s researchers introduced us to their plans in manufacturing their own processors, developing intelligent card readers, or deploying water system controls for farmers.

I was guided through the city of Merida by the members of Cenditel’s open hardware team (or Hardware Libre, as they call themselves). I couldn’t resist the temptation of posting that picture of the Football bar where I was carried to one morning for breakfast.

During my stay in Merida I had no time for a break, I spoke about Arduino, later about business models and their relationship to intellectual property rights, ran a workshop for researchers on open hardware, participated in a series of round tables about open source hardware on which should be Venezuela’s strategy in the field considering their special location as an entrance to Latinamerica, and got first hand descriptions to several projects that will benefit of using Arduino as a prototyping technology.

attendants to the lectures at Cenditel\'s II Open Technology Week
Arduino Workshop at Cenditel Foundation

Pictures by Ing. Carlos Soto, from the Cenditel Foundation

It was an intense week (you can read this article about the visit … my first answer to the journalist was “I am very tired”) but it was worth every minute. Venezuela is for sure an interesting country with a strong potential, and Cenditel has the chance to make a move towards the deployment of new educational and economical models based on open source technologies.