One thing, though, I've been wanting to do for a long time that could be very near-term is the creation of a live-in Makers Incubator. It would be a community centered on a communal Fab-Lab and other shared facilities based on spontaneously evolvable community building architecture using a building system the community can self-produce. (T-slot building systems being my first choice) Its purpose would be to test the limits of industrial independence in a small group given current and emerging technology and to push those limits through the process of experimentation and first-hand production experience. It would also seek to explore the social systems of technology collaboration and resource exchange in a small community -P2P in a face-to-face physical setting. Though not an eco-vlillage in the usual sense, it would seek to employ renewable energy and sustainable technology where possible. (sort of like what I call an Eco-Salon; a community smaller than an eco-village focused on eco-tech development -like such places as the Rocky Mountain Institute and the New Alchemy Institute) Maker media based on 'recipe' development (I call sets of instructions like you see on the Make blog recipes because their literary style is akin to a cook book) and light industry based on tools and components associated with recipes, open source machine tools, and software would be the basis of the community cash economy -independent of the internal economy based on local production and resources which would seek to whittle-away at the cash economy side of subsistence. In essence, the residents would all be 'prosumer entrepreneurs', each a free-lance designer/engineer/maker contributing to the catalog of media and goods the community disseminates or sells for profit -very much the model of the artists commune. it would not attempt total self-sufficiency -since we don't really have the fab technology for that yet- but pursue it as a general ideal. Prospective residents, again, like artists in an artists commune, would be selected by the community based on the talent and technical skills they bring to the community mix, the goal being to realize the largest spectrum of industrial capability possible from the smallest number of people. They might often be recruited by people in the wider P2P teams over the internet associated with particular design/engineering projects. The community could also be optionally mobile, its architecture completely demountable, or deploy remote temporary outposts so that it could travel to different countries to both seed ifs culture and promote its goals and learn from the regional maker communities in different places -particularly those places where Internet use is not yet ubiquitous. It might leave 'spore' facilities wherever it went much like the Fab Labs MIT has been seeding around the world. I think this is doable today and is likely to be a lot of fun but I have never been able to find more than a few people who could even comprehend this idea and so could never gather enough support to do it. Since my Shelter blog went defunct, I have been planning to start a new blog called The Office Of Post-Industrial Technology (OPIT) where I intended to fully document this concept, but my TMP2 work has superseded this at the moment. I'd be interested in your opinions on this idea and on the realistic prospects of starting it, seeing how extensively you've studied existing P2P activity. Obviously, this is something that would probably need some key wealthy sponsors and maker community luminaries to start with and I don't know if the Internet Maker community could even muster that. There seems to be no equivalent of a Steve Jobs in that community yet.
This project reminds me of a few things:
1) Marcin Jacubowski's Open Source Ecology /Farm Tech project. As you see below, Marcin has done not just serious conceptual work, but is already implementing the vision
http://p2pfoundation.net/Open_Source_Ecology ; http://p2pfoundation.net/Open_Farm_Tech ; http://p2pfoundation.net/Sustainability_Building_Block_Package ; http://p2pfoundation.net/Sixteen_Key_Technologies_for_an_Open_Habitat ; http://p2pfoundation.net/Sustainability_Product_Selection_Metric
I think Jeff Vail's vision is quite similar.
See also http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/we-need-an-outquisition/2008/07/20, an appeal for mobile outquisitors by worldchanging.org
Kevin Carson's new book about decentralized technology should be very useful (I've put Kevin in cc)
Thanks again for sharing and inviting my participation on your site. Hopefully I'll have something to contribute soon. I'll continue exploring your site.
Eric Hunting firstname.lastname@example.org
You are giving me a fascinating intro into developments which I totally ignored, I only started collating open design/manufacturing info about a year ago, and lots of the prehistory and other parallel developments are unknown to me. I'm also not an engineer so not everything you say is immediately understandable to me.
As a precision: our wiki does not deal with plans and future projects, only with ongoing projects, but we also extensively cover theoretical concepts that are used as building blocks in conceiving such projects.
If you had anything that you thing would be worthy of a 'second life' in a new context, such as the open design section of our wiki, thanks for alerting me to specific pages.
Please feel also free at anytime to report progress or submit articles in our blog.
I'm going to explore the links you sent me further,
I"m copying some of our open design/manufacturing friends,
On Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 8:04 AM, Eric Hunting <email@example.com> wrote:
Thanks for the note. Sorry for the delay in reply. My business has been in the process of an expansion and things have been busy lately.
I do still have a great interest in the subject of open-source manufacturing and what I refer to generally as Post-Industrial technology. I've written extensively on the subject in a former blog called Shelter documenting my quest for and research into non-toxic housing (http://radio.weblogs.com/0119080/ -sadly, now years defunct because the service provider imploded and locked-out access to their sites and closed their customer service offices yet, strangely, never closed their servers...) and most recently in the TMP2 wiki project, a revision of Marshal Savage's marine and space development plan known as The Millennial Project. (http://tmp2.wikia.com/) On the Shelter site you'll find most articles with references to the subject here;
With the sections on Min-A-Max and the Urban Nomadics movement having the most relevance to the subject. I've been strongly influenced by the early Post-Industrial designers and Urban Nomads like Ken Isaacs, who created what may be the world's first intentionally Open Source multi-purpose building system known as Matrix, later to become the legendary Box Beam popular among the first was of Eco-Tech tinkerers. On the TMP2 site, the subject is extensively interspersed in the discussions of community development, building technologies, and the cultivation of a Post-Industrial culture. Sections of particular relevance would be those under the Open Source Everything Project under the Foundation section. Planned articles under the Key Disruptive Technologies of the Post-Industrial Era and the Transhumanism and TMP section will also deal extensively in this, though I may roll some of these topics into other sections in the future. The material planned there is previewed in the articles in The Original TMP 2.0 Article Series -though I must admit these may be a tough read. The subject also frequently comes up in the Living Universe Foundation's Yahoo forum LUF-Team.
You might also be interested in the articles on the Virtual Environment Project, the Open Computer project, and the digital infrastructures for the different TMP phases. In the Virtual Environment Project I introduce a particular peer-to-peer concept for an Open Source MMO VR platform called Hyperborea running on top of the conventional Web infrastructure. Imagine Second Life with no centralized server facilities, no limit in size, and relying extensively on peer-to-peer communication to localize environmental and user interaction dynamically relative to avatar Point Of View. I've had some tiny success in introducing this concept to NASA's recent MMO program, though health and work precluded attending their conferences. In the Open Computer project I introduce an important computing concepts I've been advocating for many years known as the Distributed Computer and the Virtual Computer. Virtual Computers -a concept you may be familiar with- are computers based on derivatives of today's Field Programmable Gate Arrays used as alternatives to the microprocessor. These are intended as the basis of the Distributed Computer which is based on reducing the components of computers to network appliances and PADs and implements Ubiquitous Computing through Personal Domain Spaces, or what is coming to be called lately Virtual Personal Clouds or Cloud-LANs. I'm currently writing a new article on the Aquarius Digital Infrastructure that discusses these topics extensively, the point being that the marine colonies of the Aquarius phase would be the likely developers of this technology and the first implementations of it on large community scales. This comes back to Open Source Manufacturing through the notion of Control/Sensor Webs implemented with Distributed Computer net appliances known as Web Controllers which are expected to become the basis of tomorrow's factory systems and personal manufacturing appliances.
I've also been extensively involved with the nascent developers of T-slot based modular component building systems, particularly Tomahouses and more recently Jeriko House. (alas, I lost contact with Frank Toma when he had a falling-out with the founders of Jeriko House) I have been hoping to encourage the creation of an Open Source form of this technology (which I refer to in TMP2 as Utilihab) by introducing these companies to the Industrial Ecology paradigm and keeping them interested in low-cost relief architecture and eco-tech. I'm currently -slowly- working on a T-Slot Source Book which I hope will introduce this technology to a wide audience with.
Your site is very extensive. It will take me some time to fully appreciate its excellent content. Looks like you have some great contributors too. I see much useful material for my own studies.
Thanks for writing and for introducing me to this excellent site. I hope my own work on the topic will be of some interest.
Eric Hunting firstname.lastname@example.org