DIY Village Construction Set (Stir In Some Arduino)

  • Open Source Ecology (OSE), “a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters,” is putting together detailed DIY guides for creating your own farm equipments and other machines such brick makers and a very cool 3D printer (remember the Radiolara pavilion?).

    Similar to the ‘re-inventing construction’ initiative of Something Fantastic (featured here), OSE is interested in opening up the circulation of knowledge around everyday things. They are demystifying the machines and how-they-work so that all users can build and modify them according to needs and situations. Central to their open-source technology platform is the Global Village Construction Set. It features 50 different modular tools/technologies, across six thematic categories of habitat, agriculture, industry, energy, materials and transportation. Together, these tools form a functional ecology, that allows various needs to be addressed by different combination of them. The emphasis is again not only on the DIY technological solutions, but on the sustainable form of resilient village life that such technology can facilitate.

    What I found less discussed by OSE is how the ‘village’ becomes ‘global’. Is it only global sharing of technological knowledge and its implementation in building the village, that makes the ‘village’ a ‘global’ thing? What about the global inter-village sharing of knowledge? Or more excitingly, what about the global inter-machine sharing of knowledge? There can be machines interacting across villages (such as water pumps across a region keeping track of daily water extraction at an ecological scale), or within the same village (such as a rain measurement machine controlling watering machines throughout the village). Like the urbanists, how can ruralists use arduino to productively use real-time information?