Ideas Needed: Low-Tech R&D

Did you ever watch the pop-science show Mythbusters? In this Discovery Channel show, hosts with special-effects experience tested hundreds of myths and rumors in a more-or-less scientific way. We here at the Low Technology Institute are interested in examining ancient and nonindustrial technology to evaluate it for use in a future when fossil-fuels are no longer available. Although some of our solutions are decidedly modern, such as our DIY solar hot water system and solar panel system, we have also harvested and processed wheat by hand, built timberframe structures, tanned leather, and explored many other traditional technologies. In the coming year, we will start to put out a new series of videos and posts exploring technology and knowledge from ancient, historic, and nonindustrial societies — and we’d like your help.

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Send Us Your Suggestions

We’re looking for technologies, ideas, and practices from the pre- and nonindustrial world to test out. Here are a few of the things we’ll be exploring to give you an idea of the range of topics we’re hoping to tackle:

  • Corn-growing methods
  • Historic egg preservation methods
  • Caloric comparison of preindustrial transport methods
  • Meat and vegetable preservation methods
  • Demonstrating the work involved in replacing a gas-powered machine for various tasks

We’re also interested in testing folk wisdom, such as planting by the moon phase and others. But don’t be constrained by these initial ideas. If you’ve read or heard of some particular skill from the past that you’d like us to test, send us your suggestion by filling out the following form or sending us an e-mail. We may even interview some folks about their questions and suggestions on the series!

Posted in RnD

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