Open-sourced blueprints for civilization

Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that’s only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).

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3 thoughts on “Open-sourced blueprints for civilization

  1. After having a look at the wiki and blog, make sure to contribute you expertise, or failing that, donate.

    I’ve been reading up about this project since seeing the ted talk a couple days ago, and while it is an amorphous concept (I think probably everything in your intro was wrong) it is still clearly a superb idea, and also because it is open source, remember: the contributions you make will not disappear as time goes on. All progress that *is* made will always be there for others to use as a stepping stone later to further develop this sort of thing.

    It’s kind of hard to describe what the project and factorefarm is about, it spans open hardware, machines or sets of machines that can make most of their own parts (which has a lot of very interesting ramifications like exponential growth of production capacity, rather than the linear growth rate of traditional manufacturing systems), overcoming many of the well known problems with closed source capitalism like planned obsolescence, inefficient bureaucracy etc.

    And no doubt there will be some other problems that closed source does not have, but it sure works for software and there are a lot examples where it is already working for hardware…

  2. Yona, just for the record, that is not my intro. It is the ‘caption’ provided on the TED web site with the video.

    There are not too many problems that Open Source has that closed source does not have, other than those that might be caused by not taking into account shifts in motivation and shifts in funding flow. But these things are usually fixable. Or, at least, I’ve never seen an argument in favor of closed source that wasn’t based on some misplaced concept of how the free market requires it and that the free market is the best way to make things work.

  3. The patent system is supposed to be an open source resource that anyone can freely use after the patent exclusivity has expired.

    The problem with the patent system is that it takes someone “skilled in the art” to understand patents so often details that are “obvious” get left out because the experts all know them.

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