• November 2019
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Ford Invites Open Source Community to Tinker Away

EE Times (02/27/14) Junko Yoshida 

People will be able to customize and tinker with their Ford Motor vehicles using the automaker’s OpenXC open source platform. OpenXC works like an application programming interface for cars and combines open source hardware and software in a way that will enable enthusiasts to extend their vehicles with custom applications and pluggable modules. OpenXC uses standard, well-known tools to open up a wealth of data from the vehicle. The idea is to make the car as easy to program as a smartphone. Ford engineer Zachary Nelson has used OpenXC to re-task the motor from a Microsoft Xbox 360 game controller to create a shift knob that vibrates to signal gear shifts in a standard-transmission Mustang. The prototype uses the OpenXC research platform to link devices to the car via Bluetooth, and shares vehicle data from the on-board diagnostics port. “We designed the platform such that people can have real-time access to the vehicle data and they can do whatever they want with that data,” Nelson says. He also notes that people with smartphones can use OpenXC to connect with real-time vehicle data.

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The Internet of Things Needs a Lot of Work

IDG News Service (11/12/13) Stephen Lawson

Mobile connected devices present too many challenges for users, said industry leaders during a panel at the recent Open Mobile Summit. Frog Design’s Mark Rolston notes that users have to link devices, enter passwords, manage home Wi-Fi, and deal with corporate IT departments at work, and are near their limit for babysitting devices all day. The experts say the whole premise of mobile interfaces is wrong, noting devices should be asking users what they want and learning from prior events rather than forcing users to ask. “There’s just a million use cases you can think of where today there’s [an] interface to try to understand what the user wants, and in the future there should just be action that does the right thing,” says Rick Osterloh at Google’s Motorola Mobility subsidiary. He says a car should automatically connect to the Internet by itself and automatically turn on the light when the driver reaches home. Rolston also notes that rather than using a phone to control devices in the home, the many connected appliances together should form a computer of their own. “The computer is not this box in the corner, or box in your pocket, it’s something you are surrounded by,” Rolston says.

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