Project Autopia is based around the concept of "Self Sustainment System" (S.S.S. in short).
An S.S.S. is defined as any collection of devices specifically designed in order to be able, as a whole, to grant their owner the ability to obtain anything he could possibly need to live with no reliance on external factors.
A complete S.S.S should be composed by:
- a certain number of production devices
- a certain number of recycling devices
- an autonomous energy generating device
There is no fixed number of devices of which a complete S.S.S. should be composed; the only rule is that, for every possible need, there shall be a device able to produce it, and a device able to return its scraps to the raw materials it was produced from; in addition, there shall be an energy generating device to keep them all in operation
simplified scheme of an S.S.S.
Any S.S.S. operates through a cycle articulated in 3 phases:
1) Any good is entirely produced by its future consumer through the specifically designed production devices owned by him
2) The goods are consumed by their producer, which turns them into trash
3) Through specifically designed recycling devices, any generated waste is turned by the owner into the same raw materials from which the respective good was produced
The only exception to this rule is energy, which because of physical reasons (2nd law of thermodynamics) cannot be entirely recycled; however, it can still be produced by autonomous means in accordance to the self-sufficiency principles of Project Autopia
a more in-depth illustration of how an S.S.S works
In order to work as intended, an S.S.S. should be designed according to the following requirements (in order of importance):
An S.S.S. must be able to satisfy any kind of human need: for each possible human need, there must be a device able to satisfy it.
For each need, an S.S.S. must have an output rate high enough to completely satisfy the daily requirement of its user; this is especially important in the case of biological needs (like water, food, etc.).
Each device must be designed not as a stand-alone, but rather as a complement to its reciprocal ones (i.e.: production devices to recycling devices, and vice-versa): it must be designed in order to be able to entirely process the output of its reciprocal ones, while simultaneosly produce an output that can be entirely processed by them.
An S.S.S. must be able to produce perfect copies of itself: there must always be a subset of devices able to replicate every S.S.S. device in its entirety, including themselves; in order for this to be always possible, a proper S.S.S. should always have at least 2 copies of each device belonging to said subset, so that the accidental breakdown of a device doesn't compromise the whole system.
Each device must be designed so that it can be carried around as easily as possible.
Each device must be able to work requiring the least possible amount of human intervention.
Even though a complete S.S.S. has never been implemented yet, the required technologies are for the most part already existing. The following is a partial list of currently available technologies that, if properly organized, could come very close to create a true S.S.S.
3D printers are devices able to replicate in its entirely any possible object by converting a computer-generated 3D model into a physical object through different physical processes; the main ones are: Fused Deposition Modeling and Stereolithography.
In the Fused Deposition Modeling, the printer models an object through progressive deposition of multiple layers of material; its functioning is analogous to that of a regular printer, except that instead of ink it uses a filament of thermoplastic material that solidifies once it touches a board, so that a second layer can be printed upon it, and so on until the entire object is printed.
In Stereolithography, the printer models the object through laser-aided polymerization of a liquid resin; a computer-guided laser "draws" the first layer of the object on the surface between a platform and a liquid photopolymeric resin that solidifies exactly where hit, then the platform is dragged up to proceed with the next layer, and so on until the entire object is printed.
3D printers allow anyone to easily create any kind of object by designing a model of it with a 3D drawing computer program (or downloading it from the internet) then uploading it to the printer and just wait for it to be printed. Different kind of printing materials can be used for different purposes, including flexible materials to make soft parts and clothes, and conductive materials to make circuit boards and electronic devices.
how Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printing works
how Stereolithography 3D printing works
Recyclebots are devices able to turn scraps or entire objects into raw materials. A recyclebot is usually composed of three parts: a shredder that breaks the object into small parts, a heater that melts them and an extruder that molds them in forms usable by a production device, for example: filaments for 3D printers.
Hydroponics is a technique of cultivation that makes no use of soil; instead, plants are directly and constantly exposed to the appropriate nutrient solution, light and areation conditions. This allows them to be grown in any possible place and time regardless of any external environmental condition.
Composting is a process that makes use of microbes to decompose organic wastes turning them into soil or fertilizer.
Composters are containers specifically designed to host that process.
Water Reclamation is the recycling of waste water through techniques like reverse osmosis in order to purify it from all contaminants, and turn it back into pure water suitable for cleaning, cooking, drinking, etc.
Toilet-to-tap systems are small-scale devices able to obtain safe drinking water directly from toilet waste water.
S.S.S.s are divided in various classes based on the scope of their products's use, and the consequent amount of people for which they're intended.
Domestic Class S.S.S.
Scope: any given house
Subject: the resident individual
The most fundamental class of S.S.S., on which all the other are based. Each one of them is owned by a single individual, and designed for his personal necessities (water, food, clothing, tools, furniture, etc.)
Urban Class S.S.S.
Scope: any given city
Subject: the city's community
Designed for public services (buildings, streets, public parks, etc.). Owned and managed by all the people of a single city.
Statal Class S.S.S.
Scope: any given nation
Subject: the nation's people
Designed for projects on national scale (highways, etc.). Owned and managed by all the people of a single nation.
Global Class S.S.S.
Scope: the entire planet
Subject: the whole mankind
Designed for projects on an international or global scale (world wide webs, etc.). Owned and managed by all the people on the planet.
List of official conventions and standards of Project Autopia