Sunday, 7 October 2012

Pineapple II at TEDxOsakaU

Ichi Kanaya is going to talk about OpenSource Hardware today. Here's the talk's abstract.

In 1976, when I was 3 years old, two guys whom I've been respecting for formed Apple Computer. Their names were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

In the same year a Japanese company released Japan's first personal computer named TK-80. I was a lucky boy who played with it thanks to my grand father. (This means I'm one of the oldest digital native.)

TK-80 was an open hardware, literally. It didn't have any cover, and even it had a free soldering space for its extension. Actually in 1970s every computer was open to computer lovers, as known as hackers.

Apple II, released one year after TK-80, was not an exception. Woz gave us a chance to open the case of Apple II and tinker its inner hardware. Hackers were happy about this. Even non-hackers including, for example, artists who later call themselves media artists loved this feature. But this was not Jobs's vision.

Steve Jobs introduced a new personal computer named Macintosh in 1984. It was what you expect to a personal computer today. It had screen built-in, was super easy to use, and sealed everything in a box.

Jobs didn't stop. In 2007 he introduced an ultimate personal computer named iPhone. This was a perfect computing device, except for one thing... no one could access inside the computer. But who cares?

Hackers! And media artists!

They need to access inside the computer. One day a young guy posted a question to Woz on Slashdot: I'm probably too young to remember the glory days of machines you could actually open and tinker with. So could you tell me today where I can find the closest thing to that?

Woz answered. [Even] back in the days... if you built your own things from nothing but a goal, you were unusual when young. The same thing is the case today... If there is less room to build something impressive enough to motivate you, then the creativity looks for other outlets, like outstanding Facebook pages, blogs, YouTube videos, etc.

I remember Steve Jobs used to say, Apple stands upon a crisscross of technology and liberal arts. I agree with him, but on a single point, I don't. I want to leave a space that everyone can tinker even I want to stand on such a cross of technology and art, which shares the same etymology.

We made a computer-based artwork named Polyphonic Jump. It was driven by a computer, and the computer was driven by a program. As Woz opened his hardware architecture, we opened our software. The software we opened was free. Free for free beer? Yes and no.

I was not satisfied in just making the software free. Especially when I produced a RGBy desk. It's uniqueness was in its hardware, and it was a kind of rocket science. I wanted to share how to make it, but it seemed to be too complex.

Arduino is a small computer developed by Italian group. It has changed the computing world. They opened its hardware design. They don't protect their architecture by closing it or by patenting it. They choose free of distribution and modification under Copyleft instead of protection under Copyright.

I decided to apply Copyleft to any hardware I would design.

I also decided to add one more portion to Arduino computer. Everyone has right to use it, but not everyone has ability to use it, because it is still too complex to use.

I developed Pineapple II. It is super easy to use for media artists, and it is free. Architecture, how to make, how to install, etc. etc. will be open at

Here's a few examples that shows how Pineapple II works. Takuya Okumura created a new media art which you can interact with image and fog. Our Sweet Home is a media art that I got an inspiration of creating Pineapple II. Takahiro Matsuo's new artwork will use specially customised edition of Pineapple II.

Remember Steve Jobs used to say: good artists copy, great artists steal. Even though my design is fully open, you can still steal something... my idea! You can break it and make a new one on it.

Just make it.

Questions? Ask to @kanaya.

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