The story of the McDonald’s frozen food machine involves technology, trade secrets, internal business transactions, franchisee/franchise friction, and suspected violation of confidentiality agreements. In short: a lot of money and lawyers. But it also involves something important to all of us hackers-what it means to have a machine.
The brief background is that McDonald’s requires its franchisees to purchase specific Taylor Soft Serve machines. The machine will enter pasteurization mode with opaque error codes, which are obviously triggered without the owner or operator understanding, at this time Taylor service technicians will come in to repair them-and naturally for theirs Get paid for services. Kytch, a small hardware startup, intervened in this chaos with a device that can intermediate the status code of a Taylor machine, allowing the machine owner to diagnose and monitor it himself. Hero, right?
Taylor naturally wanted to see Kytch devices, but they were locked under a non-disclosure agreement that Kytch required users to sign to protect their trade secrets. So when Taylor got their hands, Kytch took them to court, ironically, they reverse-engineered the equipment they built to reverse Taylor’s agreement.
There are no good people in this struggle: this is a struggle between corporate secrets and corporate secrets. By the way, Hackaday doesn’t particularly like these. Why?Because these secrets have stolen the surface Equipment owner Their ability to inspect, repair and operate Their machine. This is similar to the idea of ”right to repair”, but it is somewhat more basic-the right to know what your equipment is doing.
What this story needs is a Robin Hood. As the equipment we sell is increasingly included in the EULA and NDA, and filled with secret weapons beyond our control, we will need more Robin Hoods. It is McDonald’s frozen food machine, but it is also your smart thermostat and inkjet printer and your-your name. Try it, Hakadi!
We have seen many dystopian visions of automation, it’s time for us to do it right! The redefining robot round of the Hackaday Awards in 2021 has just begun. This is your chance to build a robot that respects users. It is not necessarily the largest project in the world, but it must be automatic and useful. Start your engine!