The latest issue of Wired Magazine has an article on open-source hardware, focusing on the Arduino and its designers/manufacturers in Italy.
…the Arduino board is a piece of open source hardware, free for anyone to use, modify, or sell. Banzi and his team have spent precious billable hours making the thing, and they sell it themselves for a small profit — while allowing anyone else to do the same. They’re not alone in this experiment. In a loosely coordinated movement, dozens of hardware inventors around the world have begun to freely publish their specs.