OSE IP Rescue Operations
Q: How would OSE work as a means of moving any technology forward?
OSE has access to fundraising capacity and a talent pool of professionals as well as open source die-hards. Some of the people that we work with are the top in their field, and many of them are willing to share their knowledge with us as motivated by a higher purpose: that of availing modern, appropriate technology to humankind. Some volunteer to do this, others do it at a fee. The way this works is that OSE is the instigator who makes the connections by engaging directly in a given development. For example, a combination of talent that comes to us - with our social capital and access to networks (TED, funders, and other high level contacts) - we are typically able to move good ideas forward. The key link to this in many cases is being able to attract good talent - and we are able to do this relatively well because of the popularity of our work (such as 1.2M hits on the TED Talk)
A typical way that OSE intends to move projects forward is simply by OSE hiring people to develop a given technology, while attracting matching funds or grants to make this happen. As OSE grows, OSE intends to develop a $100M/year fund to support open source product and service development in general.
Q: What kind of cost reduction should be expected from open-sourcing physical hardware?
We rely on the principle that sound ideas should get funded. For us, that typically means that by open-sourcing information - we enable the production of things at a fraction of the cost. By using more clever means, or by developing techniques to produce your own things - open source is slashing the costs of certain material objects. For example: 3D printers from tens of thousands to under a thousand dollars. Laser cutters from $50k to $5k. Automated brick presses from $52k to $9k. Aerial drones: from tens of thousands to under $1k. Carbon fiber car body in the Wikispeed car from $36,000/3 months to $800/3 days of production. When applied to technologies such as solar concentrator electric or wind electric power - the results will be disruptive. This relies on opensourcing IP, and availing affordable fabrication tools that were formerly too expensive. Primarily, it is about IP, as that, plus competitive waste, is what customers pay for in the business as usual scenario.
Today, one has access to precision machining and electronic components on the scale of a garage. With power control at $1/kW and metal at a dollar a pound, in principle - a 100 mpg car could be made for a couple of thousand dollars, a precision machining center for a similar price. We sell our tractor for about a dollar a pound.
Q: How deep do you go into technology?
Our goal is to go all the way - to making precision ball bearings, smelting silicon, and extracting aluminum from clay. This is called Technological Recursion. With a simpler tool, a more complex tool can be made - if the knowhow is available, and if a person can be taugh to do it. With more access to knowhow, more common materials can be subsituted for strategic ones. The mission of OSE is to liberate such knowhow so that more people have access to doing more advanced things. We foresee a future where the incompetent person does not know how to make a precision ball bearing, just like today an incompetent person is someone who cannot count.