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Gnomedex: Phil Torrone

pt is up on stage now, showing off his gadgety goodness. His opening slide says, in giant letters, “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.” Showing off his classic “Popular Mechanics”-type magazine and book covers (saw them at PME – I have some photos somewhere). Notes:

  • If open source software is a good idea, and open standards are a good idea, isn’t open source hardware a good idea?
  • Hardware hacking is coming back into style.
  • New devices, cheap hardware, documentation, and interest are all growing.
  • The return of the kit
  • Surplus of old electronics from around the world (nixie tubes, etc.)
  • Millions of old digital cameras – kite aerial photography, rockets, time lapse, GPS logging, etc.
  • Electronic hacktivsm – TV-B-Gone, LED Throwies, etc.
  • Robotics kits, Roomba’s “open interface”, and companies selling kits to hack them
  • Rapid prototyping in Lego
  • The best way to predict the future is to build it.
  • Google Earth and Sketchup 3D are leading to real, physical products
  • Parts are cheap, shipping is expensive
  • What needs to be a kit? (baby warmers, transportation, etc.)
  • Ideas for open source hardware from the room: power measurement and management, IPTV (open source radio), HVAC, last mile internet infrastructure, logging and sensors, personal area cellphone jammer, event in a box, housing plans, solar power, biodiesel refining, musical instruments, etc.
  • There’s not a lot of money in this, but there’s good in it (water filtration, voting machines, medical equipment, etc.)
  • What are the hardware hacking communities? Instructables.com, Make Magazine (of course ;-))

Great presentation by pt, but I felt like I had seen/heard most of it before – guess that’s what I get for ravenously devouring information about cool geeky stuff. No less effective at stimulating thought, though. Thanks, Phil! :-)

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