Reverting to traditional handicrafts is one way to sabotage the throwaway society. In this article, we discuss another possibility: the design of modular consumer products, whose parts and components could be re-used for the design of other products. Initiatives like OpenStructures, Grid Beam, and Contraptor combine the modularity of systems like LEGO, Meccano and Erector with the collaborative power of digital success stories like Wikipedia, Linux or WordPress.
It started out as a controversial idea inside Facebook. In four short years, it has turned the $141 billion data-center computer-hardware industry on its head. Facebook’s extraordinary Open Compute Project is doing for hardware what Linux, Android, and many other popular products did for software: making it free and “open source.”