TED Conversations

Sonaar Luthra

CEO / Co-Founder Water Canary Inc., Water Canary


This conversation is closed.

If you could open-source one piece of technology, what would you choose and why?

*This Live Conversation will take place on January 18, 2012 at 3PM EST / 12PM PST

Perhaps you'd choose a feature on your favorite video game system, perhaps you'd choose a life-saving medicine, a means of transportation, a fabrication method or a communications protocol... This is an invitation to think big about what would happen if you could take things that already exist and open them up to the world.


Closing Statement from Sonaar Luthra

Thank you everyone for sharing your ideas - this was an excellent conversation.

What I find most striking as I look through the comments is how many scenarios we came up with where open sourcing existing ideas, technologies and systems could promote both efficiency and a better quality of life/social welfare, instead of requiring any compromise between them.

The benefits of open source scientific research can both eliminate waste in bringing more resources to bear on solving problems and developing cures to diseases, while simultaneously making the benefits of those solutions more accessible for everyone. Open agriculture won't just lead to better, sustainable ways to grow food, but systems that allow more people to get out of poverty. And opening up educational resources - like the "dyslexie" font that Kristine O'Connor-delgado mentioned - can both improve the way we teach and learn as well as dramatically increase how many people receive an education.

I'm particularly excited to see where the projects we discussed go from here - please keep us all posted. Thank you for participating!

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  • Jan 18 2012: Tesla's designs for free energy generators. Modern versions that allow cars to run on water, engineered by Stan Meyers, David Dingle, etc.
    We would no longer have a reason to fight wars over oil. We might be able to stop fighting over anything, because we would be able to meet the needs of all peoples. Everyone's homes could be powered with a free energy generator that emits no pollution, just some water vapor. No dangerous hydrogen tanks sitting around. Large-scale versions could power water de-salinization plants, farming operations, etc.
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      Jan 18 2012: Those are simply out of copyright, and most of them don't work.
      • Jan 18 2012: Our government has bought up the patents to a lot of related developments, and suppressed further development. It needs to be developed. Stan Meyers had a dune buggy that would run on fresh water, salt water, or snow. Obviously, a dune buggy doesn't weigh much, but that's technology that should be improved and made generally available so we can stop burning gasoline.
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      Jan 18 2012: I have this very unorganized idea (based off the movie IRobot) energizing the planet with the energy created by moving cars. We are all taught kinetic/potential energy in grade school. We ran a car down a track and watched lights light up. Why not harness that and create a new roadway/energy system based off a non-polluting water powered cars that run over a road that captures the energy created and turns it into useable energy to power our homes and businesses.

      Our cars aren't going anywhere, we should find a secondary use for them other than hauling us and our things around.

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