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05 November 2008, 11:59

TV-B-Gone open sourced

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The notorious TV-B-Gone device, which can turn off multiple television sets at the click of a button, has been released as open source hardware. Inventor Mitch Altman explained to Make magazine that he hadn't considered open source a viable option for hardware until he went to his first hacker convention. There he met people critical of patents and other intellectual property who explained how this stifles creativity. "This point of view was an eye-opener for me" said Altman. He said "I was taught that patents encourages creativity and entreprenuership", explaining why he applied for a patent on the TV-B-Gone after he created the first prototype.

The plan is to make an open source kit available, complete with firmware source code, board layouts and information on many televisions power codes, used to turn TV sets on and off. Although TV-B-Gone can be used maliciously, it does have a number of practical applications, such as managed switching for banks of demonstration televisions at retailers.


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