Can Open Source Manufacturing Save Humanity?

Open source manufacturing essentially lets you download hardware from the web — free packages of coded instructions to make…well, just about anything.

It leverages collaborative “hackerspace” dens and fab labs, while the Social Engineering-Knowledge Database simplifies searching for free open source hardware designs and creating materials lists by organizing them into packages with things like CAD files, assembly instructions, and a bill of materials.

This has radical implications, since “Re-engineering the delivery of physical products over the internet is also reengineering the social fabric to manage DIY manufacturing.” Kevin Kelly envisions a technological “seed” — a library full of both tools and knowledge that could replicate our civilization!

And the article also notes the existence of OpenCASCADE, an open source CAD geometry kernel, which can generate 3D pictures with information that can already be used to automatically generate instructions for assembling the parts and projects into human-and robot-readable code. “Slowly but surely, computer algorithms are taking over these tasks….”

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