Joi Ito: Open-Source Hardware Is a No Brainer

Barb Darrow | GigaOM | January 11, 2012

Open-source hardware is on its way, and it will foster a new era of innovation, according to MIT Media Lab director Joichi “Joi” Ito. The emergence of freely available hardware designs and near-free components will unleash the same sort of technology innovation that open-source software kicked off a decade or so ago, Ito said Tuesday.

“If you want to build a video camera, some day you’ll be able to find all the standard parts, the designs online for free, and then you’ll only design the pieces of the product that interest you,” Ito said at an MITX fireside chat in Cambridge, Mass.

Developers would focus their attention on the more valuable hardware they build atop that standard base, just as software developers write specialized software that runs on Linux and open-source middleware instead of proprietary Unix or Windows operating systems and Oracle’s WebLogic or IBM’s WebSphere middleware...

Advances in 3-D printing will also make it easier and less expensive for smaller companies to quickly create physical prototypes of their designs, leveling another hurdle.