The Seed Factory Project
- Introductory Articles
1. What is a Seed Factory?
A Seed Factory is a new kind of production system that may end material scarcity and bring about a better quality of life for everyone. It grows from a starter kit into a mature factory like a plant seed grows into a mature plant. Living plants use local energy (sunlight) and local raw materials (soil, water, and air) to expand themselves. Similarly a Seed Factory will use local energy (solar, wind, and other renewable sources) and local raw materials to expand itself. It uses a combination of three ways to expand:
- Replication - making direct copies of the parts and machines in the starter kit,
- Diversification - making new parts and machines not in the original kit, and
- Scaling - making larger parts and machines than are in the starter kit.
By using local resources, computer-driven automation, and combining multiple production steps in a local area, Seed Factories should be low cost and efficient to operate. Since they can make many of their own parts internally, they would also be low cost to install compared to conventional factories. If a mature factory is able to produce more starter kits, the number of factories can grow to whatever level required to satisfy people's material needs. This is especially helpful in parts of the world that lack basic needs. Note that at current levels of technology, we don't expect to reach 100% automation or be able to make 100% of parts internally. We expect we can reach high percentages of these, but still need some human labor, and some outside parts and materials.
We began the Seed Factory Project because we think automation and robotics is at a level where such factories are now possible. The benefits to humanity are so large as to make the effort worthwhile. Our goal is to develop the technology, build working prototypes, and demonstrate that self-expanding factories in fact work.