Encompassing the Whole World

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Commodity Off-The-Shelf Technology

Literally the stuff you can go and buy off the shelf, but used for purposes which the designer would not have guessed it could be used for.

One example is when the people trying to make C60 went to an ordinary catalogue and bought all of the extra bits they needed to make the stuff.

Beowulf Clusters were initially built at NASA using ordinary computers put together with some custom software to get them all working as one machine with supercomputer performance levels at a fraction of the normal cost.

The early work on affordable virtual reality headsets was done by going to an electronics store and buying a couple of handheld tv's which were then put into a headset.

Each of these, and many others, were only possible because the manufacturers had not locked the hardware down to only be able to do what they designed it to do. It then allowed bright creative people to MacGyver a solution to their problems.