You can help design open-source tractors.

The GVCS is an open-source design kit for 40 industrial and agricultural machines.

M

arcin Jakubowski, Ph.D, believes in open source. But not the software kind: the tractor kind.

Marcin has been working for some time to create inexpensive, open-source designs for agricultural tools like tractors. Designed to be cheaper than the commercial ones most big-scale farmers use—which would be affordable to people in lower-wealth areas—these designs are available right now and could increase productive of small-scale farmers.

That means tough-to-farm areas could produce more food, and support more people, which would allow for historically poorer areas to flourish and grow.

Check out this inspirational video:

Marcin sure knows how to wear a welding mask. And check out the awesome
home-made tank treads.

Oh, and because everything is open-source, it’s totally free of cost and can be improved by anyone who wants to help. You could even download it all, make whatever changes you want, and release your own version, based on the original.

We talked about this before, almost two years ago. Check out our post about Marcin’s TED talk, which is still interesting and relevant today.

Read on:

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A TED Talk — Open-sourced blueprints for civilization

Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make the world better. Sometimes it just takes some hardcore DIY:

Marcin Jakubowski wants to design blueprints for an entire village,
costing less than $10,000.
Kamkwamba standing with the librarian who found the book "Using Energy," which he used to make a windmill.

It's a pretty inspiring story. And he definitely is decreasing the suck.

The work Jakubowski is doing is really interesting. The trick to open-source technology is that it legitimately makes knowledge free. Whereas everyone who owns a farm arguably knows the concept of a tractor, that doesn’t mean they know how to make a good one. With an open-source blueprint, someone who wants a tractor can simply make one—and experts can improve the blueprint.

It’s reminiscent of a guy named William Kamkwamba, who built a windmill to save his family from starvation. The difference is that Kamkwamba is a success story of someone climbing out of the bottom rung. Jakubowski came from a pretty comfortable life, and is doing work to help those people. One could say that Jakubowski is the middle-man between the textbooks Kamkwamba read to design and build his first windmill, and Kamkwamba himself. That is, Jakubowski’s working to make adaptations of technology that are already easy to build, and already made from cheap parts.

Read what I read: