Discuss: Does Open Source Cramp the Imagination?

Massimo Banzi claims that open source hardware will unlock imagination is his TED talk, below.

Core Questions

  1. Is something being “open” enough of an invitation to imagine a new invention?
  2. When do you need openness + context (play, peers, inspiration) to help you create a new thing?
  3. Does true openness require support and context? Why or why not?

Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination

Actually, I argue that there is another revolution going on, and it’s the one that has to do with open-source hardware and the maker’s movement, because the printer that my friend used to print the toy is actually open-source. So you go to the same website, you can download all the files that you need in order to make that printer: the construction files, the hardware, the software, all the instruction is there. And also this is part of a large community where there are thousands of people around the world that are actually making these kinds of printers, and there’s a lot of innovation happening because it’s all open-source. You don’t need anybody’s permission to create something great. And that space is like the personal computer in 1976, like the Apples with the other companies are fighting, and we will see in a few years, there will be the Apple of this kind of market come out.
Well, there’s also another interesting thing. I said the electronics are open-source, because at the heart of this printer there is something I’m really attached to: these Arduino boards, the motherboard that sort of powers this printer, is a project I’ve been working on for the past seven years. It’s an open-source project. I worked with these friends of mine that I have here. So the five of us, two Americans, two Italians and a Spaniard, we — (Laughter) You know, it’s a worldwide project. (Laughter) So we came together in this design institute called the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, which was teaching interaction design, this idea that you can take design from the simple shape of an object and you can move it forward to design the way you interact with things. Well, when you design an object that’s supposed to interact with a human being, if you make a foam model of a mobile phone, it doesn’t make any sense. You have to have something that actually interacts with people. So, we worked on Arduino and a lot of other projects there to create platforms that would be simple for our students to use, so that our students could just build things that worked, but they don’t have five years to become an electronics engineer. We have one month.

Hi everybody!

I am really interested in this topic, especially because yesterday I was watching a BBC documentary about Aaron Schwartz.

I truly recommend this documentary not only because of the biographical importance of the story of Aaron’s life, but especially because it makes you reflect about social justice and equality about the principles of Open Source.

Definitely Open Source resources can be a great advantage in inspiration, because everyone then is encouraged in building up their own knowledge for free. The idea of sharing from a bottom-up perspective is definitely exciting… But… On the other side, there is a systemic issue: most of the knowledge is not open. That means that there are systems still based on greed, a kind of “institutionalised criminal organisation” that is not interested in loose the privilege of keeping the access to resources closed or at least incredibly restricted to an elitist group of people.

Open source is not only a revolutionary way of sharing knowledge, but it’s a philosophical, anthropological revolution too. I think that Open Source can make a difference, but of course this will affect - and actually it is still affecting - the secularisation of Institutions.

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:disappointed_relieved:BBC show - it cannot be played in the US. WWagh! I’d like to see it. :cry:

Hi @Theo_IGetIt try this youtube link:

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Yay! It seems to work. I’ll watch it when I get home from work. Thank you!

  1. Yes. Especially with Littlebits
  2. I usually need other people if I am having a hard time with a project.
  3. Some projects need support if you think your project is not good.