Last month we mentioned Open Source Ecology's Global Village Construction Set, an extremely ambitious project to bring industrial tools to areas that cannot afford them. We were thrilled to learn they've been selected as a Semi-Finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.
To refresh your memory, the GVCS team has narrowed down thousands of industrial machines and initially determined that a society "with modern comforts" can be built with 40 different machines. (It's been upgraded to 50 since our original post on them.) They then began designing prototypes of these machines, using an open-source methodology which led them to discover they could produce the machines at just 1/8th the cost of what they'd go for if purchased directly from a supplier. Also helping to keep the costs down is the Lego factor, whereby as many interchangeable parts, modules and motors as possible are integrated into the designs.
Obviously they're not looking to build car factory paint-spraying machines, but things that are more practical. Their Compressed Earth Brick Press machine, for instance, is designed for users to dump local dirt into a hopper at the top, and it then spits bricks out of the bottom at a rate of 16 per minute. Other machines in the pipeline are a sawmill, an induction furnace, a steam generator and a backhoe.
We love the ethos of Open Source Ecology founder Marcin Jakubowski:
I am a boundary-crossing iconoclast who believes that material well-being should not be a privilege that only the few can enjoy. I believe that the necessity 'to make a living' should not be an underlying force in civilization that prevents people from pursuing their true passions. I am convinced that by injecting a little wisdom into our technology, we can tame technology for true human service. I believe that open society and open source economic development is a route to abundance and prosperity for all.
I am convinced that until we learn to share, there will not be enough for everybody. Sharing means engaging in open source economic development. Open source economic development is an economic paradigm where everybody has access to best practices, optimized product designs, and access to local production. I believe that one day, open access to the means of economic production may become a favored option over monopoly money - and stimulate much higher levels of innovation that are currently possible....
In this second video, Marcin explains what gave him the idea for the project in the first place:
4 Years of Factor e Farm in 4 Minutes from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.