Breaking News
Comments
rick merritt
User Rank
Blogger
Military dividend
rick merritt   9/24/2013 3:46:15 PM
NO RATINGS
Hey we get some of our taxes back in software! I hope someone can get some traction with this code.

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Military dividend
Caleb Kraft   9/24/2013 4:57:07 PM
NO RATINGS
There's probably pretty good reason this specific bit went open source. The vision tracking community usually tends to make leaps and bounds on open source projects. People will easily be downloading openCV and modifying it in different ways for their home projects. These modifications will then be usefull to darpa.

Considering that the vision tracking isn't a core function of one of their devices they probably aren't as interested in hoarding it. Why not let some other people do the work?

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Military dividend
junko.yoshida   9/24/2013 4:58:47 PM
NO RATINGS
Hear, hear,Caleb!

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Military dividend
junko.yoshida   9/24/2013 4:57:24 PM
NO RATINGS
@Rick, definitely, this will become a good example of your US tax payers' money well spent and shared with the masses, if it goes right.

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Military dividend
Caleb Kraft   9/24/2013 5:00:31 PM
NO RATINGS
absolutely. Just watch as kinect weilding quadcopters start appearing on personal blogs with this tech, they'll almost always come with some bug fix or itterative improvement. 

rick merritt
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Military dividend
rick merritt   9/24/2013 8:23:14 PM
NO RATINGS
@Caleb: I feel a B movie screenplay coming on...Attack of the DIY Quadcopters...Will Smith where are you?

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Military dividend
Caleb Kraft   9/24/2013 9:30:45 PM
NO RATINGS
haha, it has already happened! 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/shockerdrone-hackers-attach-stun-gun-drone-helicopter_n_1843999.html 

 

I actually got a cease and desist over the name on that one!

Terry.Bollinger
User Rank
Manager
Open source is not new to the DoD!
Terry.Bollinger   9/25/2013 11:11:23 AM
NO RATINGS
It's worth pointing out that the U.S. Department of Defense, including DARPA, has a long history of using and actively supporting free and open source software. Here's what the CIO of the DoD says if you don't believe me (the last link there is a report I wrote):

http://dodcio.defense.gov/Home/Topics/UseofFreeOpenSourceSoftware(FOSS).aspx

Open source licensing is an amazingly effective way to build up communities that enable innovation for everyone, including for example anyone with an iPhone or Android in their pocket. The trick to staying competitive in software, whether in the commercial market or in the military, is not to retreat inside of some tiny shell of "owned" developers only, but using those developers to help you ride at very edge of the wave of fast-moving innovation that emerges when you start letting everyone contribute their small piece to a puzzle that everyone wants solved. I flatly assure you that if open source had been banned rather than embraced by the U.S. Department of Defense ten years ago, the phone you are now carrying would be as dumb as a stump.

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
Caleb Kraft   9/25/2013 11:19:13 AM
NO RATINGS
I'm glad you pointed that out! It has long been a peculiar point that many just get confused about. Yes, the DoD crowdsources. I've heard many people express concern that their work will go into military technology, though. It is a legitimate concern and I really don't know what to tell them when they bring it up.

Terry.Bollinger
User Rank
Manager
Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
Terry.Bollinger   9/25/2013 11:38:22 AM
NO RATINGS
I've interacted in the past with a number of those communities that are leary of DoD work, and our approach has always been to be very respectful of their views. Truly free and open source software is available to everyone globally, and it's important to keep in mind both when creating it and when using it that it's not just defense groups that could use it in ways you might not agree to personally. Also, unlike the U.S. DoD, some of those other groups could care less what you think about how your software gets used.

For just such reasons I'm a strong advocate in both commercial and military software of the pyramid model: Use open source for your broad base of infrastructure (exactly as is done in iPhones and Androids), but keep the much smaller set of truly key algorithms or software that you either value or don't want spread about either under proprietary license or not distributed at all (again, exactly as in iPhones and Androids, with iPhones keeping that chunk a lot larger).

Using the pyramid model keeps you from wasting very costly human-based programming and verification resources mostly to maintain some enormous Windows-scale code base that doesn't really provide you with anything unique. Instead, it lets you focus your best people on solving hard problems that will make your product truly unique. They will be happier, and you will make more money.

Keeping key parts to yourself also enables you to keep your parts of the software from being used in ways you may not desire, such as military applications. (And don't forget those other global players who will be a lot less nice about respecting your desires for how your software is used.)

Caleb Kraft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
Caleb Kraft   9/25/2013 2:06:26 PM
NO RATINGS
Great insight Terry. Also, hello from a fellow Missourian!

Terry.Bollinger
User Rank
Manager
Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
Terry.Bollinger   9/25/2013 4:53:22 PM
NO RATINGS
Junko, Caleb, thanks for your kind words. Kaleb: Missouri rocks!

Junko: Thanks for a very interesting article. The back-and-forth to determine where the boundaries between proprietary and open software is a complex dance that has been underway for decades now. I applaud that complexity! It is the rigid philosophies that "all software must be free and open" or "all software must proprietary" that end up holding innovation back. It's not that different from insisting that a house must be all metal or all wood, but never both. It's not that you can't do it, but that you lose key benefits that only a carefully constructed hybrid of the two can provide.

For most of those past decades, the dial has been pushed way too far in the direction of all-proprietary. The trouble with that is it leaves you with an unstable inverted pyramid that can tip over and crush a company as the maintenance and global diversification costs begin to go exponential over time. For research, the impact of overreliance on proprietary-only models is even more immeidate, since grad students usually don't have much money and need maximum accessibility, flexibility, and adaptability in their code.

Computer vision is one of those areas where a more open model has excellent potential benefits. The unknowns are still very broad in this domain, so encouraging rapid and synergistic interplay between researchers is vital. I'm delighted to hear that PM Mike Geertsen and Jeff Bier of the Embedded Vision Alliance see the potential of an open base and are pursuing it. This bodes well for much-needed faster advances in computer vision.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Open source is not new to the DoD!
junko.yoshida   9/25/2013 1:05:31 PM
NO RATINGS
Right on, Terry.Bollinger. It makes a lot of sense, and thank you for sharing the link!



Flash Poll
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Engineer's Bookshelf
Caleb Kraft

The Martian: A Delightful Exploration of Math, Mars & Feces
Caleb Kraft
6 comments
To say that Andy Weir's The Martian is an exploration of math, Mars, and feces is a slight simplification. I doubt that the author would have any complaints, though.

The Engineering Life - Around the Web
Caleb Kraft

Surprise TOQ Teardown at EELive!
Caleb Kraft
Post a comment
This year, for EELive! I had a little surprise that I was quite eager to share. Qualcomm had given us a TOQ smart watch in order to award someone a prize. We were given complete freedom to ...

Design Contests & Competitions
Caleb Kraft

Join The Balancing Act With April's Caption Contest
Caleb Kraft
57 comments
Sometimes it can feel like you're really performing in the big tent when presenting your hardware. This month's caption contest exemplifies this wonderfully.

Engineering Investigations
Caleb Kraft

Frankenstein's Fix: The Winners Announced!
Caleb Kraft
8 comments
The Frankenstein's Fix contest for the Tektronix Scope has finally officially come to an end. We had an incredibly amusing live chat earlier today to announce the winners. However, we ...

Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)