Bitbeam: Open Source Hardware Prototyping Platform

Posted on April 19, 2016  Comments (1)

Bitbeam is an open source construction toy/hardware prototyping platform. A collection of LEGO Technic compatible parts (beams) which can be combined to construct whatever contraption the user has thought up.

The Bitbeam project aims to define a set of parts which the users themselves can produce using increasingly available technologies for local fabrication like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC mills.

view of various piece of 3d printed items

Tapster is a robot that automates mobile application checking on a smartphone. It is built using bitbeam.

The latest post on the Bitbeam web site is from 2013 but it seems it is still an active project (it would be nice if they update the site).

Please add a comment if you now of updated information or of similar open source projects.

Related: Open Source Ecology: Using Open Engineering to Create Economic BenefitArduino Introduction Video Tutorial3D Printing at Home: Today, Challenges and OpportunitiesIntroduction Video on 3D PrintingLego Mindstorms Robots Solving: Sudoku and Rubik”™s Cube (2009)

Sustainable Ocean Farming

Posted on April 3, 2016  Comments (5)

Farming the Sea: why eating kelp is good for you and good for the environment

There are serious problems with our ability to grow healthy food for the number of people we have today (and will have in the future). Innovations have allowed us to feed ourselves. But the damage done to topsoil and other damage including pollution of our rivers is huge. Overfishing and factory farms are keeping us going today but are doing immense damage and are not sustainable.

Seed companies abusing the corrupt government patent systems creates even more damage. We need better solutions. We have many people doing great things but we need to do much more. Ocean farming is one of many areas we should expand. And we should greatly reduce the use of factory farms, antibiotics for livestock, overfishing and the overuse of pesticides.

How an Army of Ocean Farmers are Starting an Economic Revolution

So we all went on a search for sustainability. I ended up in Northern Canada on an aquaculture farm. At that point aquaculture was supposed to be the great solution to overfishing, but when I got there I found more of the same, only using new technologies to pollute local waterways with pesticides and pumping fish full of antibiotics.

I never thought climate change had anything to do with my life. But it does. From my vantage point, climate change is not an environmental issue at all”Š”””Šit”™s an economic issue.

As ocean farmers, we reject aquaculture”™s obsession with monoculture, an obsession similar to that of modern land farming. Our goal is diversity. It”™s a sea-basket approach:We grow two types of seaweeds, four kinds of shellfish, and we harvest salt. But with over 10,000 edible plants in the ocean, we”™ve barely scratched the surface.

Instead of repeating history we”™re building infrastructure from seed-to-harvest-to-market. We”™re starting nonprofit hatcheries so that our farmers can access low-cost seed. We”™re creating ocean seed banks so that the Monsantos of the world can”™t privatize the source of our food and livelihoods.

Related: SelFISHingThe State of the Oceans (2011)Rethinking the Food Production System (2008)