For an exciting taste of the action at Open Source Ecology’s HabLab, follow the ups and downs of the 6-in-60 Campaign in our no-holds-barred video update, part one. Watch Dedicated Project Visitors (DPVs) from Berea College help us to take new OSE machines from Open Source CAD designs to functional machines. Then confront, with our team, the problem that turned 6-in-60 into 6-in-90. (Be sure to stay tuned for our second video update, now in development. We’ll fill you in as to how we turned challenges into opportunities in revising our plan for the 6-in-60.)
Despite delays caused by supply issues, there have been some great successes so far: The Ironworker prototype went together in about 12 hours; the backhoe’s pivot, stick, boom, and bucket all went together well; and we have made good headway with the tread for the Microtractor. Meanwhile OSE’s new prototyping tool, the HydraFabber, is being put through its paces. John Stager, a member of Team HydraFabber, began testing its 3D printing capabilities on August 1.
DPVs Target Engineering Development Processes
During the first week of August, we welcomed Scott Eisele and Jonathan Miller as DPVs. Both Scott and Jonathan come to us from Vanderbilt, where Scott is a graduate student of Electrical Engineering and Jonathan is a student of Manufacturing Engineering. Their arrival at OSE could not be more timely and helpful, as the OSE team, with their input, maps out an improved and robust product design and prototyping process.
Scott will be developing a two-month schedule to build LifeTrac 6, along with necessary protocols and templates to apply/evaluate elements of our new development processes. Scott and Jonathan will be collaborating with OSE on integrating advanced engineering analyses of our product design process via new software in development at Vanderbilt University’s Institute of Software Integrated Systems–the META Tool suite. The META Tools are a development effort funded by DARPA, whose ultimate goal is to improve the existing systems engineering, integration, and testing process.
This analysis has the potential to assist us in achieving OSE’s rapid engineering and prototyping goals. Results will help OSE plan/schedule, streamline operations and resources, communicate, track, and document projects effectively and efficiently. An optimal development process can address the kinds of real-world challenges projects encounter. Though this aspect of our work may sound a bit dull compared to watching steel cut on a torch table or cool machines roll out, it is the refinement of an optimal development process that makes exciting results possible, not only for Open Source Ecology, but for anyone who delves into developing and producing open-source hardware to help build a better world.
Coming soon: More on the MicroHouse.