Tag Archives: OSE

Help OSE Refine The Design Of Their Backhoe

Open Source Ecology is gradually evolving their process for open source engineering. This latest installment is a Google Doc that anyone can jump in and view/edit. They’ve posted several questions so all you have to do is comment. You can also download the CAD files and a viewer if you don’t have anything to open them with at the blog post. The wiki page for the backhoe is here.

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The First Replication Of The First Open Source Tractor

Open Source Ecology (OSE) is trying to create an open source alternative to all of the industry and infrastructure that a modern civilization requires.

They got a little bit closer to that goal when two high school students followed the documentation provided on their website and produced an independent copy of OSE’s LifeTrac and the Power Cube that provides it with hydraulic pressure. This is D & H Tractors discussing the process.

The OSE blog post.

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The 3D Printable Heliostat and Interview With Creator

A little while ago Openalia posted about Google’s open source heliostat array code.

Well, now you can build your own DIY solar thermal farm. Adam (aplavins) has designed a 3D printable 2-axis sun tracking device.

Interview after the jump.

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Open Source Ecology Recruiting Team Members

Maybe you haven’t heard about Open Source Ecology (OSE) yet. I suppose that’s a possibility.

You’re going to be hearing a lot more about this amazing open source agriculture/infrastructure project in the near future. If you want to be a part of it, well, they’re making a big push to recruit team members right now! But first, the Indiegogo.com campaign (OSE is featured in this documentary).

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Crowd Funding Dump

So, apparently the JOBS Act officially sanctioned “crowdfunding” (yes it’s a real word now).

The catch is that “investors” can only work with “issuers” through the services of a “portal” which has to be registered with the SEC. What this means is that Indiegogo and Kickstarter will have some competition and we’re about to see a lot more innovative ideas pitched (more or less) directly to the public.

Anywho…that’s fascinating and all…but what will it do for open source hardware? I dunno; lets find out. Assuming there’s enough activity (seems like a safe assumption) the Crowd Funding Dump (CFD) will become a regular feature on Openalia.

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Help Wikispeed Raise Funds for the 100 mpg C3

Wikispeed is doing awesome.

The thing about open source hardware, like the Wikispeed car, is that it costs a lot more than software. For example, crash testing a prototype car costs $10,000! That means Wikispeed needs money and volunteers to join the existing international, 150 member team. With more resources, Wikispeed can produce the next generation. The Comfy, Commuter Car (C3) will be a direct replacement for your existing car.

However, it will be able to get 100 miles per gallon and you will be able to upgrade the car’s modular components so that it can grow with your needs or new technology.

Campaign Page on Indigogo

They just started their Indigogo campaign. They have 65 days to raise the $52,500 they need to get the first practical 100mpg car on the road. Major auto manufacturers can’t even mass produce a 50mpg car for $50k.

Reward Tiers:

  • $25 – your name on the car that will be displayed at the Future of Flight Innovation Center at Boeing’s Paine Field.
  • $100 – Above + thanked in a personalized video posted on Wikispeed’s website.
  • $500 – Above + get to vote on the styling of the C3 interior and exterior.
  • $5,000 – Above + training as a Certified Agile Project Manager for you and nine others, customized to your goals. This is the same Extreme Manufacturing (XM) process Wikispeed uses.
  • $10,000 – Above + vote with the Wikispeed Board of Advisors and have your name on the next 100 cars Wikispeed produces.

Related Links:

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Wikispeed – My Next Car Gets 100 Miles per Gallon

Even among the small group of people who are familiar with open source, the phrase “open source hardware” applies only to electronics. That might have been accurate in the past, but projects like Wikispeed are blazing a trail for practical HARDware projects. Like an entire car.

Team Wikispeed formed around Joe Justice when he was competing in the Automotive X-prize. Due to Joe’s day-job as a lean/agile coach, Wikispeed (which means fast-fast) adopted management practices that are normally only associated with software projects. By working in modules the team was able to rapidly iterate the design of the car. Basically, a change to one part of the car had no effect on the rest of the car. This was particularly important as the X-prize kept changing the rules of the competition. By the third change some teams had to simply drop out of the competition because they couldn’t afford the time or money to redesign their car. Team Wikispeed merely changed their suspension modules. The car they built, SGT01, ended up beating out most of the other entries and was invited to the competition. Due to technical and cultural errors the car never actually drove on the track, but that hardly dampened the spirits of the team. There is an excellent writeup in Seattle Met.

Thanks to the culture of innovation and high morale Joe has maintained, Wikispeed is still going strong. Additionally, Joe and the team have joined forces with Open Source Ecology to officially open source the design of the SGT01. Documentation is being built on the OSE wiki.

The Wikispeed SGT01 is modular. Most areas of the car can be altered or removed without affecting any of the other areas.

Wikispeed’s approach to automotive design is an entirely new paradigm (yay hyperbole!). The design of the SGT01 goes beyond merely using interchangeable parts, like stock fasteners. The car is made out of modules that each conform to contracts (size, material, location, etc). This approach means that different parts of the car can be completely changed without requiring coordination with other parts of the car. The suspension module that normally mounts a tire could be swapped out for tank treads and it wouldn’t change anything about the rest of the car.

This is a powerful concept that has the potential to dramatically change how people interact with their vehicles in the future. Basically, when support for this sort of standard becomes wide-spread, people will be able to swap out pieces of their car as easily as they swap out apps on their smartphone. Imagine having engine trouble; so you drive to the mechanic, he pulls out the engine unit, swaps a loner engine into your car, and you drive away 10-minutes later. When the mechanic finds and fixes the problem you return for another 10-minute swap and you’re back on the road. Perhaps you commute to work but also like camping in the mountains, so you have a sleek, aerodynamic car body during the week which you lift off and replace with a pickup-bed model for the weekend.

Most powerful of all is that once you own a modular car you are future-proof. Wikispeed’s current model has a >$8,000 engine and gets 100mpg. That’s with current technology. There is no reason the engine unit couldn’t have a stack of batteries and an electric motor, or a tank of hydrogen and a fuel cell, or dilithium crystals and a warp engine. If you buy a hybrid, and then a week later someone invents super-ultra-capacitors, you are stuck with the technology built into your new car. If you buy a Wikispeed car, and the next day someone invents an engine that runs on perpetual motion, all you have to do is buy that new engine and swap it into your car. You get to take advantage of all the best new stuff without buying a new car.

Team Wikispeed is pressing forward on not only improving the SGT01, but also creating a second generation called the C3 (comfy commuter car). They expect it to cost between $15,000 and $25,000, to seat 4, to have a 5-star crash safety rating, and to get 100mpg. That isn’t a dream. The only real barrier between the SGT01 and the C3 is the lack of a roof.

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Lonnie Ray Atkinson Flows Open Source Ecology

Most people don’t immediately connect open source engineering with entertainment. Lonnie Ray Atkinson is not in that “most people” category.

He discovered Open Source Ecology through Juliet Schor’s book Plenitude and was so moved he turned some complicated ideas into surprisingly concise and catchy lyrics. He also released his song under the Creative Commons non-commercial license, which is very much in keeping with the spirit of OSE.

verse one:
Factor e farm, you gotta see this to believe this
new technology and the genius
to start from scratch and ask – what makes our survival clock tick
pretty soon they had a tractor and a machine that made bricks
now they all in, placing their bet
on what they call a global village construction set
50 machines for a civilization
and every machine designed for simple replication
so is there a catch? / well, of course
but it ain’t what you think, the catch is that it’s open source
open to all, no patents, no monopoly
a new movement – open source ecology
free collaboration with likeminded folks
a global network of skills to fill the spokes
a project to provide the plans to change history
consumer scale manufacturing, renewable energy
turning this new tech into solutions
in every sense of the word, a revolution

chorus:
o-open the economy, o-open the economy
o-open source ecology, o-open source ecology
go check it out if you doubt this
you wanna better world, put your time where your mouth is

second verse:
so let me paint a picture in your head about the bread
we could save if this model were to spread
consumer scale means neighborhood production
low overhead, energy and resource reduction
more efficient and democratic distribution
less transportation, less factories less pollution
fair prices based on cost, no middle man
introduce the middle finger to the invisible hand
and understand – that’s only the industrial economy
imagine the potential for fighting world poverty
put a global village construction set in a poor town
let ‘em learn the system, replicate and pass it down
all they’d need is the knowledge, plans and raw materials
no import nightmares or dealing with imperial
ambitions, conditions on IMF loans
let the developing world develop on their own
you can teach a man to fish and still keep him in debt
or create a system that lets him produce his own nets

chorus:
o-open the economy, o-open the economy
o-open source ecology, o-open source ecology
go check it out if you doubt this
you wanna better world, put your time where your mouth is

third verse:
wikiconomy, open source ecology
whatever you call it, it’s the future of economy
so if you’re serious about your intentions
of economic justice and meaningful change, pay attention
with open source, we ain’t gotta fight or ask permission
we do it on sly, bypass the whole system
the fastest nonviolent way to end monopoly
over the means of production, intellectual property
where, before, they’d just buy you off or break your jaw
they can’t compete with the internet and Moore’s Law
you can buy a dream team, but working in secret’ll never
beat the free exchange of hungry minds working together
and once a product’s open source it’s open source forever
and as the technology explodes, it gets better and better
interactive software for easy customization
gameification of open source tech education
preparation – we can’t sleep on the challenges coming
you want to organize around something
how ‘bout the day when the majority of workers in every nation
will be replaced by robotics and automation
in one scenario, the rich own all the patents, throw us in the trash
in the other, there’s enough open source that we still got a chance
to create new democratic structures for supply and demand
I know the irony is too delicious to stand
the world wide flow of info would be the Trojan horse
welcome to a better world, and guess what it’s yours
welcome to a better world, and guess what it’s yours
welcome to a better world, it’s open source

chorus:
o-open the economy, o-open the economy
o-open source ecology, o-open source ecology
go check it out if you doubt this
you wanna better world, put your time where your mouth is

“Open Source Ecology (with Anitek)” by Lonnie Ray Atkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons License
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In Pursuit of a Mobile Place for Making Things

Often a person’s creativity can exceed their means.

If we assume that innovation benefits the entire world, then it makes sense to bring the tools necessary for innovation to the people who can take advantage of them. Why should a great idea stay locked up in someone’s head just because they don’t have a garage or because they can’t afford a 4-axis CNC milling machine? Why should a promising concept wither on the vine just because someone can’t drive 30 minutes to meet with people who can help them develop it?

TJ McCue suggested in Forbes that we start, “Creating a mini mobile makerspace that can be built again and again, almost like an open source RepRap, by small dedicated teams.” He didn’t specifically mention it, but I assume the reference to RepRap is meant to imply that the mobile makerspace could be self-reproducing.

Wouldn’t that be a great tool for increasing the pace of innovation and the penetration of open source philosophy? It could start out as a simple structure that is made with the fabrication tools which then packages them up and transports them. Over time, as more DIY fabrication tools are available, the whole thing could be bootstrapped from almost nothing. Then it could make an exact copy of itself! Kind of like an ultra-small version of Open Source Ecology’s Global Village Construction Set.

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