Friday, October 15, 2010

1 Chron 12:32 report, 64: Progress and possibilities for sustainable, modular, open source industry

In recent months, I have been tracking the Open Source Ecology movement, and especially Marcin Jakubowski's Factor-e-Farm initiative. 

This, because -- if successful -- a shift to open source, modular industrial technologies would be a way to move towards economic self-sufficiency for small island developing states, through implementing a localised, self-sustaining industrial infrastructure. In short, industrial civlisation 2.0, following the general pattern of the increasing success of the open source software movement: core technologies are open to all as a common good for humanity, and businesses can make money from providing adaptations, off-the-shelf implementations,  technical support and extensions. Or, by embedding their own implementations inot their production systems.

The advantage for the community is that a move to localised modular, open source technologies for critical agriculture, construction and industrial systems creates a more robust, resilient economy in the face of possible dislocations. So, if we develop down this road, we would become much more self-reliant to feed development and prosperity in the region.

Jakubowski's Humanity+ presentation on building a replicable, post-scarcity resilient community gives a good overview of -- and preliminary progress report on -- this possibility:

The ongoing development of the LifeTrac tractor and associated Power Cube prime mover are an iconic, more specific case in point. The key idea here is that by creating a modular prime mover and using fluid power hydraulic technology to move power to where it is needed, with controls, many functional systems can be implemented in a much less complicated, easier to fabricate and maintain way.

(a) LifeTrac II prototype:

 (b) Power Cube modular prime mover:

Such initiatives are of course very experimental, but they offer a new world of possibilities that are well worth  exploring. For instance, many of the ideas are well within reach of technology departments of regional community colleges. END

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