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We want to hear ideas for physical engineering projects - that is, hardware prototypes moving around atoms (not just bits) - from the EA and/or longtermist community. Submit here!

Introducing Reslab

There has been a lot of talk about EA needing to take more large-scale action recently (e.g. Longtermist EA needs more Phase 2 work). And there likely exist cases where it would be helpful for action plans to start with small-scale hardware prototypes/MVPs. We came across such a case recently: as participants on SHELTER Weekend, we realised that the smallest scale MVPs for civilizational shelters often required technical implementation and tests.

We are starting Resilience Lab (or ‘Reslab’) to build capacity for prototyping hardware ideas with relevance to areas identified as important to the long-term future.

At this stage, we would love to hear from people with more project ideas, or an interest in working on someone else’s submitted idea. We will award $200, $150, and $50 prizes to the first-, second-, and third-best ideas respectively!

Long-term goal

Our intent is to develop a long-term resource to support EA and/or longtermist hardware projects. If successful, this pilot project would lead to a dedicated space with more full time staff and projects spinning out.

Which projects are suitable?

Any projects that:

  1. Are primarily focused on EA and/or longtermist cause areas, and
  2. Could make substantial progress with materials funding of up to $100k and project ownership by a junior mechanical engineer and intern for six months.

To give you a better sense of what we’re interested in, here are some ideas we have for possible projects:

  1. Scaling of mushroom manufacturing techniques.
  2. Positive pressure air filtration system kits.
  3. Disinfection treatment testing.
  4. PPE development and testing.
  5. ALLFED technical development projects (e.g. open source hardware designs for greenhouse construction, seaweed farming, or food processing).

Submit your hardware project ideas here!

The deadline to be considered for prizes is January 31st, 2023.

Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Just want to flag that "hardware" is a bit misleading, as I think people often/mostly use it as shorthand for computer hardware , especially with communities' focus on AI/compute. Maybe disambiguate it straight after TL;DR or in TL;DR.

Sorry about that! Changed in TL;DR to "physical engineering projects."

(Note that these prototypes could plausibly use electronics etc.. So might not make sense to rule out computer hardware, although of course we want to be clear that the scope is broader.)

Excited to see what is submitted! The need for physical projects is great!

I'm very excited about this idea because the main barrier to prototyping/testing physical things is cheap access to equipment, materials, and space. As far as I know, there is a network of makerspaces across the UK that might be a low-cost place to start.

Thanks for the announcement!

Chemical experiments are not a good fit, right?

Probably not right now. But perhaps we can keep it in mind, depending on equipment access!


Field studies are outside of the scope of Reslab, right?

I guess it depends on what exactly you’re referring to — but probably, yes.

I see, thanks. I was thinking about building a low tech greenhouse with meshes in a cold and dry environment (e.g. at altitude) to study the growth of crops under the conditions of a nuclear winter.

If part of this project would benefit from physical prototyping (e.g. for meshes?), then I think that that might be a good fit :)

I am interested to see how wood gasification s an energy source for cars could be bootstrapped in the case of industry collapse.

Another topic: how some cold tolerant crops from nothern regions ( fodder beet, rutabaga) could be planted in South in the case of nuclear war winter. I already tried some experiment remotely (asked friend) but it failed.

Also creating self-sustaing community on an island  would be an interesting experiment.

Please submit! :)

I'm guessing the actual deadline is January 31st, 2023? (It says 2022)

Well, time-travel machines are a type of hardware... 👅

Thank you, changed!

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