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I don’t have much on my holiday wish list besides peace on Earth, but there are a few technology products/projects I’d love to see go open source. Not because I have any plans to do anything with them but because I know what happens when people use their imagination to create and share – earlier this year I helped release the open source Kinect drivers with an “Open Kinect Bounty” – within a week we had open source drivers, we released a data data dump on github and now there are hundreds of wonderful examples of art, music, science, engineering and robotics using a hacked Kinect.

Makers love it, Microsoft eventually loved it, Mission accomplished. I think we’ll see products “opened up” like this going forward, but there are two specific products/efforts I’d like to see go open – these are a little a different, they’re not available for anyone to reverse engineer or hack but there are people who read this site who could help “open” them up.

I’m talking about Sony’s humanoid and canine robotics efforts (QRIO and AIBO) and IBM’s Deep Blue, the chess playing computer from almost 10 years ago. Both of these projects are gathering dust, away in a vault or who knows.

There are people who are reading this now who can start the conversations about doing something with these – if you’re goal is to create something that will mimic or beat humans it seems reasonable to let us all learn from it, perhaps not immediately – but eventually. I think that time is now… Post up what you’d like to see go open in the comments!

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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