We have been busy on refining our funding method for open product development, and in particular, for the open source Compressed Earth Block (CEB) press. Our present strategy is to recruit social network leaders to spread our collaborative funding request to their audiences. This way, we can reach the numbers required to produce a sufficient number of contributions to reach our goals. The timelines and budgets for CEB press development are shown on our main development site.
Here is the letter we’ve been circulating. If you find this worthwhile and you can pass our message on, once we are at that stage, then email us. We need everyone’s help.
We have just produced the world’s frist open source, high performance (3-5 brick/minute), Compressed Earth Block (CEB) press: http://blog.opensourceecology.org/?p=91 . That’s our goal at Open Source Ecology: develop tools and technologies in the public domain for sustainable and just living. We believe that when engineering and technologies are part of the public domain, they benefit everyone.
We are developing technology and engineering in the public interest – with products that benefit everyone. We donâ€™t stop at concepts â€“ we are the worldâ€™s first organized effort at funding collaborative development of physical products. On top of that, we are disseminating our business models freely, as all our developments enter the public domain. We are thus a radical departure from corporate research and development (R&D) to products BY the people, FOR the people. We are building upon the rich information-sharing that has been brought about through the information age.
To pursue our work, we are relying on voluntary funding from a large number of small donations. This way, we involve many people in the development â€“ whether in the technical developments or in project funding. We chose this because we are working on monthly prototyping cycles, where we adapt our progress from the results of every cycle. We go from prototypes, to refinements, and up to the production facilities for producing ecological technologies at absolutely the lowest possible cost. We chose crowd funding because it can be collected rapidly through networks on the internet – whereas grants or other funding methods take a year or even two years, and weâ€™d like to be done many cycles over in that time.
To achieve this ideal, we need your help. We are asking you to reach out to your network or audience with our small funding request, on a monthly basis. We are interested in gathering about 25-50 network leaders, to pass our funding request, so we collect a few thousand dollars for each cycle by reaching thousands of people. The proposed timeline and budgets for the CEB developmeny cycles is shown at http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/CEB_Press .
We also need human creative energy to review, augment, and document the design. Monetary contributions will be used to: (1), test and develop the prototype into a full working model; (2), develop an open source CEB press production method (using a computer automated XYZ torch table); and (3), to build an optimized production facility. We will pursue the open development of other technologies with proceeds from CEB sales. Our other projects of interest are shown at http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Overview .
This process would go on regardless of your participation, but the more people that are involved, both as leaders and contributors, the more quickly technologies can be developed and shared. We are looking to develop long-term collaboration, so that we can develop a world-class product development effort that has high quality of life for everybody as its primary goal.
Is this really worth your time?
We think that open source technology developments are a critical piece to bringing power back into the hands of the people and developing decentralized economies based on abundance and wise use of local resources. Imagine if local enterprise could compete with the great global extractors. With the appropriate, replicable, localizable technologies, we believe that we can compete with globalization at the level of many different products.
For example, we chose to develop a CEB press for these reasons: 1. Blocks are made from local materials. 2. Blocks are uniform in shape and look like a brick, so CEB building can become socially acceptable. 3. CEBs are easy to build with, not requiring major skills or training. 4. CEB block prouductio, and CEB press production, are suitable for local enterprise. AND 5. High production machines are proprietary and expensive ($25,000 and up).
We believe that this high cost inhibits many entrepreneurs from investing in this technology. So, we set about to create a low-cost, easy to maintain, highly productive machine. Because the design is open source, someone could build their own machine for the cost of materials, $1350. Or, we will be able to build it for them for a predicted cost of $3-5k in our optimized facility.
We hope all the products developed at OSE are transformational and help people meet their basic needs and reduce dependency on irresponsible production. We think this transformation can happen now, but we need your help because it won’t happen without mass participation.
In summary, let us know if you can help us with the funding side, as we discussed above. We welcome any comments, leads, and suggestions on how we can make this model of optimal production a viable option for everyone. We may be on to something here. Please help us make it happen.
Marcin Jakubowski, Ph.D.
Open Source Ecology, Founders