Despite all the discussions about open hardware, it appears obvious that
many techniques and technologies remain highly proprietary. Ubiquitous
areas such as thin films (which modern touchscreens depend on),
spintronics (which enable high-capacity hard disks) and logic design
techniques (used to build microprocessors) remain carefully avoided by
most hardware hackers.
The Exceptionally Hard and Soft Meeting (EHSM), to be held in Berlin on December 28-30 2012, will allow you to learn about DIY and open source projects going in such directions and meet the people behind them.
EHSM is an independent organization without any big sponsoring or grants, so it relies on you, the attendee, to crowdfund it. So help make this event possible and order your ticket soon. The prices remain very cheap for a conference of this quality, and they have an "early bird" price running until July 15th. See http://ehsm.eu/