[blockquote cite=”Marcin Jakubowski” type=”left, center, right”]“I think a lot of people are hungry to be productive and find that productivity within themselves.”[/blockquote]
“The city of Detroit has gone through a major economic and demographic decline in recent decades. The population of the city has fallen from a high of 1.8M in 1950 to 701,000 in 2013. The automobile industry in Detroit has suffered from global competition and has moved much of the remaining production out of Detroit. In 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history.” A city that once had the highest per capita income in the U.S. in 1960, was broke.
Detroit represents one of the largest collapses of an industrial city in the history of the world. Gone was the industry that once supported the hundreds of thousands of factory workers. It was industry that depended on a lot of people putting together widgets to produce a lot of products in really big factories. For the most part the products were all the same, and they were sold into a highly competitive industry, the automobile industry.
It was an industry that was dominated by a few and for many years it was a dog fight between the big three: GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Each attempting to out-design, out-produce, and outcompete each other.
But, what if it had been different?
What if they had worked together? Not just with each other, but with everyone making their designs fully open source? What if the big three weren’t actually three?
What if it was the big 3000 or the big 300,000 spread throughout the U.S. and world? Hundreds and thousands of small, flexible local machine shops all producing products locally and collaboratively. Better quality products than are currently being produced today in huge factories in places like China. How different would our country be, how different would our local economies be, and how different would our communities be? How different would Detroit be? Detroit, the U.S. and the world would most likely be a different place if an open source model was in place.
Does this concept seem far-fetched?
It isn’t as far-fetched as you think.
Recently the public company Tesla Motors released all of their patents to the world and committed to going open source. They said, “we believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.”
And that same open source view is a view that my guest today Marcin Jakubowski has shared and is working to make a reality. Through his organization Open Source Ecology there is a strong vision of the future, one which “we – the countless collaborators upon whose shoulders this Vision stands – imagine a world of innovation accelerated by open, collaborative development – to solve wicked problems – before they are created. We see a world of prosperity that doesn’t leave anyone behind. We see a world of interdisciplinary, synergistic systems thinking – not the isolated silos of today’s world.”
It is through the Global Village Construction Set that Marcin and OSE have set out to change the way that we build the communities of the future. Marcin has said “I’d like to be able to show that a full modern standard of living can be created from any parcel of land using only the local resources on site in a small fraction of time.” A modern standard of living created using tools built locally, within the community. Tools built to last a lifetime, being easily repairable, and ever evolving as open source.
This open source model is a powerful tool to help change the future. I see this as a way where a group of farmers could come together, build a piece of this equipment themselves, be able to repair it themselves, and be able to share it amongst themselves without being dependent upon big companies like John Deere and the debt that goes with them. It is this process that minimizes debts, builds strong communities and builds local resiliency, and that is a political shift. You shift the power from the big corporations to the communities and the individuals by empowering them to take back some control.
Like Marcin said, “I think a lot of people are hungry to be productive and find that productivity within themselves.” In a land of retail sales, why not empower people to innovate and produce, not consume, the future that they want in the factories of new, not of old? Why not make that dream of permaculture and polyculture based landscapes and farms more possible by providing blueprints for the equipment that you can build to do the work? Literally. If you want to build it, you can, because we are talking about a future where you hold the blueprints yourself. That is the future that OSE is creating and that is what we are talking about today with Marcin Jakubowski of Open Source Ecology…
- “I think a lot of people are hungry to be productive and find that productivity within themselves. So the collaborative production model is what I see as a way to do that where a local where a local flexible fabrication workshop can produce many advanced tools and products just like the big companies that do that for us today.”
- “What I see is an open source economy forthcoming one where we have blueprints available for anything.”
- “I am a great fan, proponent of the open source economy. I think that the idea of sharing design and truly collaborating, to innovate such that problems are solved faster than they are created, I think that’s the future.”
- “I believe that true freedom is based on our own individual ability to turn those abundant resources around us to free ourselves of material constraints.”
- “I’d like to be able to show that a full modern standard of living can be created from any parcel of land using only the local resources on site in a small fraction of time.”
The Mission of Open Source Ecology:
“An open source, libre economy is an efficient economy which increases innovation by open collaboration. To get there, OSE is currently developing a set of open source blueprints for the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) – a set of the 50 most important machines that it takes for modern life to exist – everything from a tractor, to an oven, to a circuit maker. In the process of creating the GVCS, OSE intends to develop a modular, scalable platform for documenting and developing open source, libre hardware – including blueprints for both physical artifacts and for related open enterprises.
The current practical implementation of the GVCS is a life size LEGO set of powerful, self-replicating production tools for distributed production. The Set includes fabrication and automated machines that make other machines. Through the GVCS, OSE intends to build not individual machines – but machine construction systems that can be used to build any machine whatsoever. Because new machines can be built from existing machines, the GVCS is intended to be a kernel for building infrastructures of modern civilization.” via Open Source Ecology
Open Source Philosophy:
Open Source Ecology:
“We derive our organization’s name from a concept which refers to the integration of the natural, societal, and industrial ecologies- Open Source Ecology- aiming at sustainable and regenerative economics. We are convinced that a possibility of a quality life exists, where human needs are guaranteed to the world’s entire population- as long as we ask ourselves basic questions on what societal structures and productive activities are truly appropriate to meeting human needs for all. At the end of the day, the goal is to liberate our time to engage in exactly that which each of us wants to be doing- instead of what we need to do to survive. All have the potential to thrive. Today, an increasingly smaller percentage of the world’s population is in this position.” via Open Source Ecology
“Open Source refers to the model of providing goods and services which includes the possibility of the end-user’s participation in the production of these goods and services. This concept has already been demonstrated in Linux, the open source computing system. With Linux, a large number of software developers have contributed to creating a viable alternative to the proprietary Windows computer operating system. Many people can readily see the advantages- all Linux software is free. Please read these articles on the concept of Open Source software and its implications for changing business.” via Open Source Ecology
Open Source Economics:
“Our mission is to extend the Open Source model to the provision any goods and services- Open Source Economics. This means opening access to the information and technology which enables a different economic system to be realized, one based on the integration of natural ecology, social ecology, and industrial ecology. This economic system is based on open access- based on widely accessible information and associated access to productive capital- distributed into the hands of an increased number of people. Read about an inspiring example of such an economic model being currently put into practice with respect to manufacturing vehicles.
We believe that a highly distributed, increasingly participatory model of production is the core of a democratic society, where stability is established naturally by the balance of human activity with sustainable extraction of natural resources. This is the opposite of the current mainstream of centralized economies, which have a structurally built-in tendency towards of overproduction.” via Open Source Ecology
Marcin Jakubowski at TED: The Global Village Construction Set & Open Source Ecology
The Open Source Economy
“See Power Cube Genealogy for development history. The official stable release as of early 2014 is v12.11 (November 2012) – is Prototype 7. This features a 1/4″x2″ angle frame, contains a 27 hp gasoline engine, and a 1 cubic inch hydraulic pump with a 3/4″ splined shaft. This version, with its modularized components – is optimized for production in under 1 day with 8 people.
In future Power Cube versions – in order to further facilitate integration of the Power Cube with the rest of the GVCS – we will use a structural frame made of the 4″x4″ space frame with xyz bolted corners. This allows for the Power Cube frame to serve as a machine frame – such as a Microtractor or a Bulldozer frame. While the power cube with the space frame XYZ-bolted tubing will be slighlty larger in size, the modular frame allows for higher flexibility (it can be used for attachment of other modules directly to the frame) and lower parts count. LifeTrac 6 featured 3 power cubes bolted together for 75 hp. In LifeTrac 6, a structural frame of our standard tubing was placed around the non-structural frame of the Power Cube 7. Future versions will omit the nonstructural angle frame, and couple the Power Cube innards directly to the structural frame.
In 2014, we will begin using a single-cylinder diesel engine of 33 hp as a new version of the Power Cube. We are currently working on sourcing these engines, and we intend to build these engines from scratch in the future as part of the Piston Engine Construction Set. Read more about how the LifeTrac relates to the Power Cubes.” More info at Open Source Ecology
The Compressed Earth Brick Press
“We are currently taking our documentation the last mile on the Brick Press – which is the first machine in the GVCS that we started developing. We aim to set a standard for documentation – to allow for viral replicability. This means simplified sourcing, final improvements, complete digital fabrication files for a fab shop to build, and language-agnostic instructionals that anyone can use to put the machine together. The machine is designed for digital fabrication using primarily a CNC Torch Table, such that all parts can be cut automatically within about an hour.
The main upgrades for Version 6 include taking the Arduino controller the last mile – where full circuit schematics and files will be released for our existing pressure sensor-based system. This will allow for ready sourcing of this controller from professional circuit fabricators. In Version 6 or later, OSE will also provide a version that can be milled with a CNC Circuit Mill, suited more for experimentation. If time allows with Version 6 (Immersion Workshop scheduled for April 25, 2014), we will also build a wireless controller, based on the Lasersaur Project‘s Beagle Bone Black controller.
On the mechanical front, Version 6 will include a redesigned roller guide system for the soil-loading drawer, which will include 3D printed parts. Unversity of Minnesota students will be building this new drawer design on March 4, 2014.
The CEB Press can be the backbone of construction wherever clayey soil is available. We will be experimenting with compressed wet biomass bricks or biomass with binder – to produce insulating, semistructural block.” More info at Open Source Ecology
“We are currently exploring several new directions for the Microhouse. One is a lightning-fast build by using our 4″x4″ steel tubing to build xyz-bolted-corner space frames as a temporary support frame so that the roof can be built at the same time as the compressed earth brick wall. We can thus integrate steel construction with natural building – taking advantage of rapid construction times. We are also considering the use of WikiHouse roof structures for rapid build using digital fabrication with plywood panels, and once we succeed on the Strawboard Machine – we will be able to produce our own semi-structural or structural building panels made from straw. Combined with the Sawmill for making lumber, and with the Bulldozer for earthworks, Backhoe for digging, and Trencher for trenching, we will be able to do state-of-art, eco-friendly construction at minimal cost.
We can focus on sustainable materials such as compressed earth brick, strawboard, and local lumber – but advanced materials such as steel can also help. Use of steel space frames can allow us to build multiple space frames at the same time with a larger team – so we can build a full workshop structure in a single day – starting from a foundation.
Another direction that we are exploring is a Mobile Microhouse – a trailer made from our 4″x4″ steel tubing. This integrates well with our 4″x4″ tubing, just like we use with the tractor. If we can build a Mobile Microhouse, then we can also build other modular, scalable trailers. For small homes, we may want to use 1/8″ wall square tubing – but heavier wall up to 1/2″ wall can be used for larger or stronger structures. If we put our microhouses on wheels, we can reconfigure our buildings to meet changing needs.
By allowing for build speed and high flexibility, additions such as greenhouses, closed-loop blackwater biofilters, multiple story buildings, and other architecture forms become possible. We are exploring all of these options.
The ultimate level of housing autonomy involves making our own materials. We have done this for compressed earth block – and future frontiers include lumber production, strawboard production, melting scrap steel or glass cullet with the Induction Furnace to produce structural steel or glass, using the bioplastic extruder to produce glazing from plants, and baking limestone to produce cement. We would also like to install a biogas electric system fed on grass clippings, where calculations indicate about 5kW continuous electrical power from 200 pounds of wet grass clippings per day. Combined with our Solar Concentrator electric system, 50 kW Wind Turbine, and modern steam power fed by pelletized biomass, we would like to demonstrate complete energy resilience from widely-available resources.” More info at Open Source Ecology
More information on Open Source Ecology..