OSE Open Engineering Cycle

As we have recently begun parallel development of several open source Global Village Construction Set technologies (CEB, Solar Turbine, LifeTrac, Sawmill, CNC XYZ table), it is useful to formalize the OSE product development process. It is called the OSE Open Engineering Cycle (OEC). Note that engineering refers not only to typical hardware with nuts-bolts-electronics, but also to the design of agroecology systems, as well as to civilization engineering. The focus is on modern infrastructures that promote human evolution to freedom and pursuit of happiness, and the foundation is ancient wisdom and proven techniques.

This is an initiative to generate high-quality, public interest research and development for products – as a route to a viable peer-to-peer economy based on distributive production. As centralism is cracking at the seams, we are busy producing a viable economic option that lives alongside the mainstream production system. Open engineering is based entirely on direct, widespread support by the people. Your chance to contribute is here. The open engineering method that we are using is described below. It is working quite well so far, and Wired Magazine just blogged about our work for the second time.

The OEC begins with adherence to a general set of guiding principles. These principles are designed to measure how deeply any undertaking may contribute to ecological, distributive production. This is coined as the OSE Specifications.

The next step is to follow a common language that helps to explain the underlying patterns and principles of design. This language, represented by icons, is designed to explain how parts and functions of a whole system come together – so that novices can gain a quick understanding – and therefore, the ability to create. It is useful to have such understanding, because form follows function – and understanding how components are put together yields the most satisfactory command of any physical creation.

This language includes the Open Source Technology pattern language, and the Open Source Agroecology pattern language. The former has been begun, and the latter still needs to be defined. Please contact us if you would like to collaborate on this topic.

The next step is to study industry standards. These standards reflect the mainstream route of production. Because mainstream production is typically guided by centralist mass production supported by mass cultural creation, this type of production is typically not the optimal route from the standpoint of ecological, human-centered, appropriate technology distributive production.

Understanding industry standards provides insight into maximum production capacity. To these standards, we now add principles of appropriate technology and human-centered, open source ecology. This is to say – we begin a process of re-design to make technology appropriate. We reclaim the technology to true human service, in harmony with natural life support systems.

With this background, we produce a design rationale, design, bill of materials, and implementation procedure. This is the beginning of physical production, and it is the substance for making subsequent proposals fungible.

We approach funding directly – from the people. We circulate our proposals through internet networks, seeking those groups and individuals whose goals are aligned with ours. If we have economically-significant proposals – ie., those with a capacity to take market share from mainstream production via virtue of their value propositions – then we should have no problem with generating support.

Support from diverse stakeholders leads to a physical implementation. This is where the rubber hits the road – as we are not interested in ideas, but implementations. Talk and paperwork is cheap. Physical implementations can meet human needs. This is where we are presently working on building the infrastructure for a robust, post-scarcity economy at Factor e Farm. We are a living laboratory for testing our creations – to see directly whether they are consistent with a high quality of life for all. If our creations pass the test, then they are released as products, facilities are built for their production, and open business models are documented to foster replication.


  1. Mark

    Thanks for the background info. I’m confused, however, about how much of this has been developed specifically for this project, and how much of it is common to other open source engineering projects.

    Are the “Open Engineering Cycle” and “Open Source Technology Pattern Language” currently used for other projects? Are there other projects under way that will be main focus for developing (as an example) the XYZ table? If I understand earlier posts here, there seem to be other groups (or maybe isolated individuals) working on 3-D printers, multimachines, and Babington heaters.

    The light is just starting to come on for me about how big this /could/ be–open source transportation and delivery systems, open source communications (Internet RFCs), open source k-12+ education, open source pharmaceuticals. It might be interesting if you could do a blog entry or have a links page to other open source projects with which you dovetail.

  2. Nick

    You might find the peer to peer blog to be more geared towards looking at all the open source potential. I’m just were you are at the lights totally went off when I realized this will be the next economy

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