Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization
March 1, 2011
Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that's only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).Marcin Jakubowski
- Farmer and technologist
Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing a set of blueprints for 50 farming tools that can be built cheaply from scratch. Call it a "civilization starter kit." Full bio
Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
Hi, my name is Marcin --
I was born in Poland, now in the U.S.
I started a group called Open Source Ecology.
We've identified the 50 most important machines
that we think it takes for modern life to exist --
things from tractors,
bread ovens, circuit makers.
Then we set out to create
an open source, DIY, do it yourself version
that anyone can build and maintain
at a fraction of the cost.
We call this the Global Village Construction Set.
So let me tell you a story.
So I finished my 20s
with a Ph.D. in fusion energy,
and I discovered I was useless.
I had no practical skills.
The world presented me with options,
and I took them.
I guess you can call it the consumer lifestyle.
So I started a farm in Missouri
and learned about the economics of farming.
I bought a tractor -- then it broke.
I paid to get it repaired --
then it broke again.
Then pretty soon,
I was broke too.
that the truly appropriate, low-cost tools that I needed
to start a sustainable farm and settlement
just didn't exist yet.
I needed tools that were robust, modular,
highly efficient and optimized,
made from local and recycled materials that would last a lifetime,
not designed for obsolescence.
I found that I would have to build them myself.
So I did just that.
And I tested them.
And I found that industrial productivity
can be achieved on a small scale.
So then I published the 3D designs,
instructional videos and budgets
on a wiki.
Then contributors from all over the world
began showing up, prototyping new machines
during dedicated project visits.
So far, we have prototyped eight of the 50 machines.
And now the project
is beginning to grow on its own.
We know that open source has succeeded
with tools for managing knowledge and creativity.
And the same is starting to happen with hardware too.
We're focusing on hardware
because it is hardware that can change people's lives
in such tangible material ways.
If we can lower the barriers to farming, building, manufacturing,
then we can unleash just massive amounts of human potential.
That's not only in the developing world.
Our tools are being made
for the American farmer, builder, entrepreneur, maker.
We've seen lots of excitement from these people,
who can now start a construction business,
or just selling power back to the grid.
Our goal is a repository of published designs
so clear, so complete,
that a single burned DVD
is effectively a civilization starter kit.
I've planted a hundred trees in a day.
I've pressed 5,000 bricks in one day
from the dirt beneath my feet
and built a tractor in six days.
From what I've seen, this is only the beginning.
If this idea is truly sound,
then the implications are significant.
A greater distribution of the means of production,
environmentally sound supply chains,
and a newly relevant DIY maker culture
can hope to transcend
We're exploring the limits
of what we all can do to make a better world
with open hardware technology.
- Farmer and technologist
Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing a set of blueprints for 50 farming tools that can be built cheaply from scratch. Call it a "civilization starter kit."Why you should listen
Declaring that, "We can lead self-sustaining lives without sacrificing our standard of living," Marcin Jakubowski believes that only by opening the means of production can we achieve abundance for all. Though he has a Ph.D. in fusion physics, he became dissatisfied with its remoteness, and turned back to the earth as a farmer and social innovator.
He is the founder of Open Source Ecology, which is creating the Global Village Construction Set — the blueprints for simple fabrication of everything needed to start a self-sustaining village. At Factor e Farm in rural Missouri, he's been successfully putting those ideas to the test.
The original video is available on TED.com