This is what the future could look like.
The Invention Resource Database (or InventionDB) is a database of open-source hardware projects, designs and information. The entries vary greatly in complexity, detail and completeness. The projects range from the straightforward (a web-controlled LEGO base for a webcam) to the unexpected (a system using tactile feedback to keep singers on-pitch). The resource listings are equally varied, from lists of components and vendors to links to green building sites. The site has a blog, as do some of the entries.
The InventionDB describes itself as:
an online application designed to help people create web entries about their project, help people find and learn about neat resources, and to help people manage group projects. [...] InventionDB is designed to do three things well:
1) Blog your projects: Users can quickly create entries about their projects, add images, weblogs, attached files, and link to resources used, multiple authors/team members, and affiliated organizations.
2) Find new resources: Users can search for resources on InventionDB.com, and often find components, vendors and valuable information that people have contributed about their project. When users contribute a resource they are credited as a contributor.
3) Manage group projects: Users can use InventionDB as a medium for project communications and documentation. InventionDB's crosstalk allows project author/teammembers to communicate via a built in bboard. Users can upload pictures, diagrams and files to make sure everyone who needs info has access.
The content is, to put it politely, all over the map. Some of the entries have no data, only pictures; others provide intricate details about the projects. Individual entries for plastic cable "zip ties" show up on the same page as links to elaborate discussions of the signal protocols for PS/2 mice.
Nonetheless, there's a funky, barn-raising feel about the site, and one senses that, if they could only control their ADD, the contributors to the database could build just about anything.