I've been working on a system
called "tangible bit" (www.tangiblebit.com) that's essentially a
networked resource map. It ostensibly maps resources (think: plywood,
transistors, bicycles, milk.. ) and manufacturing processes/capabilities
(think: CNC mill, pick'n'place, welding rig, butter churner) in a
geodata setting with both resources and capabilities tied into "sites".
The idea is that if you have enough resources mapped and enough
processes mapped you can start to do some fancy sparse matrix inversion
in order to find the shortest path to any given product constrained on a
number of variables such as cost, distance materials must travel,
environmental impact, etc.
I'm not very far along the line with this and desperately need somebody
to be hacking on this with me so that design decisions become more
rational and that the right development path is followed - I can do it
alone, but it'll take a very long time and it might come out weird. If
you want to take a look, clone the GIT archive from
What I'm thinking though is that given this database+interface it should
be relatively easy to add a "shop" to it (perhaps Satchmo based?) that
allows sites to take and process arbitrary orders, either from other
sites or from individuals. In fact, this would be highly valuable.