This page defines the specifications for an effective Specification for GVCS tools. In order to streamline the development process of the GVCS tools - and to set standards for a broader open source product development pipeline - we begin with clear requirements of an effective Specification definition of products to be developed. This Specification the first step in a general product development methodology. See GVCS Development Template.
The more complete name for a Specification is Product Specification and Design Rationale - but it will be referred to herein as Specification for brevity. The specific content of the Speciification should include all information sufficient to inform the design of a product - ie, it is a description that can yield an explicit 3D CAD or technical drawing or schematic for a particular product. This Specification includes both the technical design and the rationale for that design. Design rationale defines a functioning mechanism/principle and why that particular mechanism or principle was chosen, based on an analysis of industry standards.
The goal of the Specification is to provide technological transparency for the purpose of fostering technological literacy among the users of a particular technology. The goal of our Specification is to expose not only the technical requirements of a certain device, but also the functional mechanisms/principles that go into the design. The fundamental intent of technological literacy in the populace is to promote human responsibility in their technological choices.
The Specification includes much more than technical design specifications, because this Specification follows a much more broadly-defined OSE Specifications. OSE Specifications include not only technical design and performance - but also - cost factors, ergonomics of production, open source qualities, distributive economics qualities, human factors, ecological factors, lifetime design, design-for-fabrication, modularity, and fit within a greater product ecology.
Note that the most effective Specification should
A complete Specification should include:
- Overview - clear statement of why this design is noteworthy, important, or better than existing designs. The presumption is that the proposed design is better in some way, and this point should be made clear. It does not suffice to propose 'just another design.' If the value proposition of the design is not well defined, then industry standards must be studied more closely to understand the exact nature of improvements. A common problem with creative efforts is that they are autistic in their nature, ie., they do not consider a careful analysis of prior art - and thus suffer from 'reinventing the wheel' and do not contribute much of significant towards the greater good.
- The Specification must be grounded on an analysis of industry standards - of both open source and commercial products. The Specification should not try to invent new techniques - but only adapt proven techniques - to maximize the chance of successful design. Therefore, the Specification should be explicit in what it is building on, and what innovation is being pursued in terms of adapting existing practices in a novel way.
- Design Rationale specified for key functional mechanisms, including reasons for that choice based on study of industry standards.
- Detailed performance specifications and general specifications for size, weight, power, rate, throughput, accuracy, and all relevant determinants of physical characteristics of the product.
- General price structure of materials should be included for the main components of the device. This does not require a specific Bill of Materials, but a general cost structure based on weight, size, costs of known components and materials, and other easy-determinable cost factors.
- Components of the device must be specified, and desirable design rationale for these components should be included.
- Lifetime design features should be specified
- Modularity requirements should be specified, and in particular - how they relate to lifetime design
- Open License and Open Design requirements should be specified - ie, careful attention should be taked to assure that proprietary techniques and components are not used in the design and build
- Scaling calculations - include basic calculation on size, power, throughput, rate, accuracy, and other scaling relevant to the design. The design should be scalable in as many ways as possible.
- Pathways to simplicity of design should be specified - ie, routes to achieving the simplest design to achieve a required performance. Simplicity should facilitate serviceability and lifetime design.
- Design-for-fabrication qualities - reliance on simplest possible fabrication techniques, simplicity, use of stock parts, etc. It should be kept in mind that the GVCS includes a robust, flexible, digital fabrication capacity - so fabrication can also take advantage of advanced techniques of fabrication including automation (CNC machines, industrial robotics, hot metal rollign, etc.)
- GVCS Product Ecology specified. This includes construction/build techniques common to other GVCS tools, common functionality mechanisms; description of how this device is used with, uses, or build other GVCS devices.
- Ecological features - requirements regarding eco-friendliness of materials and production methods.
- Safety features - specification of desirable features to be included in the design
- Distributive enterprise qualities. Definition of low cost fabrication infrastructure - such as a that a Basic Workshop is necessary for fabrication. Specification of time requirement for fabrication (basis ergonomics of production) and material costs. Description of how production can scale in a basic, flexible, digital fabrication facility.