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Kazutoshi Tsuda

1. principles and practices, project management (Jan 29, 2014)

Sketch of my final project

I would like to make prototype products which combine open digital design and local common resources as an appropriate technology in Japan, where local common resources include rice straw, bamboo, and several plants.


In the past century, the ideology of mass production has shaped the manufacturing landscape of today. Mark Frauenfelder, editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine stated that we lived in “Dark Ages of Making” in 1970s-2000, and since then our technologies have become more and more black-boxed under the mass-production ideology.

In the meantime, the realization of the finiteness of natural resources and irreversible environmental impacts caused by such human activities have prompted the needs for a new manufacturing system that can sustain the needs of both present and future generations within the earth’s carrying capacity.

In fact, the current technologies such as small scale manufacturing machineries (e.g., computer numerical control (CNC) machines, laser cutting machines, and rapid prototyper), personal computers, open source hardwares/softwares, and the internet encourage individuals to become modern makers, and diversify the landscape of the manufacturing systems.

I believe that the evolution of these new manufacturing systems roots in traditional (non-mass-production) manufacturing to some extent. For example, in Japan, ordinary people once made some tools and crafts by themselves for the needs of daily life, which we call Mingu, Heimin-kogei, or Mingei in Japanese. There is much to learn from traditional manufacturing for the emerging manufacturing systems.

However, the valuable knowledge on local resource management and use, and environmentally responsible design accumulated through trial-and-error is now threatened to go extinction due to the above-mentioned circumstances.

My life

I tried to live with the minimum amount of electricity and gas. Indeed, there is neither electricity nor gas infrastructures in my apartment. I terminated my contract with electricity and gas companies one and half years ago. I have been relying on tools called appropriate technology such as mini solar panel, kinetic powered light and radio, and so on. By demonstrating the personal experience, I would like to prove that I could somehow live my decent life under such circumstance.

A day in my room: mini solar panel (left) and my favorite backpack with chair (central).

A day in my room: wall kitchen cabinet (right).

As my final project, I will focus on and draw from Japanese Kioiko, Shoiko, or Seoi-hashigo, a wooden rack with straw shoulder straps for carrying loads on the back in mountainous areas. And, I would like to fabricate a backpack-type carry bone with a modular system that collect, purify, store, and distribute water, to gain drinking, washing and bath water from everywhere.

Photo taken by my granduncle Koshiro Tsuda in 1963.

Build a personal site in the class archive

I created this archive site with SeaMonkey composer. SeaMonkey is a free and open source internet application suite.

In the class archive, we use Mercurial, which is a free, distributed version control management tool. I followed the tutorial for installing Mercural on the Mac OS.

Creative Commons License