Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Open Source Ecology

Open Source Ecology is an example of the type of organization we will start to see in a DIY (do-it-yourself) producer society.  It will be interesting to see how traditional engineering interfaces with the DIY movement - - will it be embraced or seen as a threat?  This DIY producer society, driven by grassroots movements in tinkering, entrepreneurship, and small-scale manufacturing, has the potential to transform how we think and talk about global manufacturing and engineering.

Open Source Ecology has created a Global Village Construction Set that dramatically lowers the barriers to farming, construction, and manufacturing.  The goal of Open Source Ecology is to help others design and manufacture, devices like tractors, bread ovens, and circuit makers.  Engineering needs to be aware of the trends in open contributions that Open Source Ecology is based on.  Open source hardware specs and interfaces allow adaptation by and participation in the distributed production community.  Hardware is now software - - 3D printing is the best example of this trend.  Hardware is customized - - "long tail" innovation opens new markets.

The new production economy is being fueled by the same forces that will have a disruptive impact on engineers - - a global culture of DIY, new learning and teaching knowledge, and the democratization of technology.  The DIY producer society will force us to expand our notion of a "producer" - - it will force us also to expand our notion of an engineer and engineering.

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