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June 2014 Retro Gaming Article


June 21, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Tesla Motors shares their tech via Zero Wing gaming meme- All Our Patents Are Belong To You

Many video games released in Japan never make it out to other areas of the globe. These games are sought after by those in those other territories. Some games that are released to other parts of the world need to be translated - localized, they're calling it now, although it involves more than just simple translation of spoken dialog.

All your base are belong to us screen shot Mega Drive Zero Wing Appearing on the european Mega Drive console in 1992, Zero Wing had a particularly bad translation that appeared in the opening sequence, allowing a mass audience to see it in all it's glory: All your base are belong to us.

It quickly became an internet meme as well as appearing IRL in a variety of odd places. The latest place it appeared was at Tesla Motors' HQ... well, not exactly.

Tesla Motors wants to accelerate the world's transition to electric cars, from our beloved gas-guzzlers, by creating a full range of affordable electric cars. But it goes farther than Tesla's own line of vehicles.

All your base are belong to us - with Tesla electric car Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, announced that they would allow other companies to infringe on their patents in an effort to help these companies over the learning curve and put them in a more realistic position to produce affordable electric cars. In a statement called All Our Patent Are Belong To You, Musk promised not to initiate patent lawsuits against companies who want to use Teslas technology "in good faith." It will be interesting to see how "good faith" is interpreted.

Open Source Auto Manufacturing

The Open Source model is prevalent in computer software. Many applications - video game emulators for example - are open source allowing access to the code in order to inspire others to contribute and improve upon it's design. It spurs a more collaborative environment. This is the same model that Musk envisions by allowing access to Tesla's technology. Electric car sales are still below 1% of all automotive sales. That in itself will prolong the stall to develop and propel the electric market.

All Our Patents Are Belong To You Auto manufacturing is more of a cut-throat endeavor than a collaborative one. How many times have we heard of auto manufacturers declining to spend an extra $10 to make a safety improvement to a vehicle model or line. Among other problems are standardizations that benefit the gas model, but are prohibitively expensive to change - like switching to electric.

Part of Tesla's altruistic offering of their technology, in an open source manner, wil also benefit them by allowing them to expand. There are gas stations everywhere. When was the last time you saw a recharging station? With less than 1% of car sales in the electric category, you've likely seen few. So even with Teslas's innovations, can they afford to also build charging stations so people can travel away from home in greater distances? No.

Standardization will assist with this. If car makers emulate the Tesla model, they will be creating "compatible" vehicles with uniform charging mechanisms. This is a boon to all makers of electric vehicles. Imagine if you pulled into a gas station and the nozzle on the pump didn't fit your car's tank? That is the importance behind standardization and why Tesla wants other's to follow in their footsteps to hasten adoption of electric cars.

It will be interesting to see if the Open Source model we associate with software can successfully be applied to acceleration in automotive development. As for me the only change I've seen are the new charging stations installed inside my local mall for cell phones... and my 2DS. At the same time, even simple things, like charging stations for personal electronics in malls and airports, put the idea of remote charging in people's minds. Part of any change always includes public buy-in and acceptance.

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