About TechNotes

TechNotes is an open engineering library focused on clean tech - specifically electric vehicle (EV) and battery technology. Our goal is to combine data, reference articles, design examples, datasets, patents, technical drawings, and discussion forums together in one integrated resource that's exceptionally easy to use and well-organized.

Our Goal

Our goal is to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and deployment of clean technology in the face of the climate change threat. That's why our initial content focus is on specifically electric vehicle (EV) and battery technology, and we will later expand to other clean technology topics like carbon capture.

Our Approach

Our approach starts with openness. There are some sites online that hold useful technical information, but they typically have a lot of restrictions on how you use their content - no re-hosting the content, no commercial use, no bulk downloading, and so on. We believe that people can achieve much more when they're able to combine existing resources in new ways, as we're doing with TechNotes. So our articles are all licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license, and all the properties/values of each entry are in the public domain. (Though the license of images, illustrations, and other media files on TechNotes varies and may not allow reuse so check each item's page for details.)

Next, we focus on integration of data. There's a lot of rich, useful information about clean tech available online and offline, but it's fragmented and often not machine-readable. By importing it into our TechNotes platform and organizing it with semantic tags, we can allow people to see the connections between things and discover a much richer trove of knowledge, much as one can do browsing Wikipedia by following links from article to article.

To make a project of this scale feasible, we're developing a new software platform, Neolace. It acts like a wiki and accepts contributions, but has a change review process (like GitHub's "pull requests") to allow subject matter experts to verify new content. Under the hood, it stores rich semantic data and relationships between entries, allowing a lot of content to be automatically generated. Learn more at Neolace.com

Long-term Vision

Our long-term vision is to build an authoritative, free, collaboratively developed online library of detailed and practical information about engineering and technology. This website would be somewhat analogous to Wikipedia or Wikidata, but focused entirely on technology and built with different content and capabilities.

Mission statement: to accelerate and protect humanity’s technological advancement by providing a comprehensive, open, and practical library of technological knowledge.

Long-Term Goals

The goals for this project are:

  1. To accelerate the pace of technological and scientific innovation

    Humanity has a lot of knowledge about how to build amazing things, but much of it is not easily accessible - available only from specialist books, obscure research papers, internal corporate documents, and in-person instruction. This is especially true of the hard-won practical advice that is necessary to go beyond theory and actually build things yourself.

  2. To make all of its information easily discoverable, cross-referenced, in standardized formats, and as accessible as possible

    Here accessible means both to humans and to machines.

  3. To promote standardization, collaboration, and open standards

  4. To create a single resource that contains enough in-depth engineering and technological information to build a modern technological civilization from scratch

    If humans had to abandon earth and land on another habitable planet, TechNotes would provide the knowledge needed to quickly build mines, factories, power sources, habitats, and (eventually) things like smart phones. This scenario is hopefully never going to occur, but any resource which meets that aspirational goal would provide countless very real benefits here and now.

  5. To collaboratively develop and publish open-source ready-to-use designs for important tools, devices, and technologies

    If an engineer were asked to design a lightweight habitat that humans could live in on Mars, instead of having to design everything from scratch, her team could start by downloading complete plans for things like washing machines, lighting fixtures, microwaves, smoke detectors, door locks, etc., then modify them to be as simple and lightweight as possible, then print/order the components - creating a much more complete and functional habitat in a fraction of the time as would otherwise be possible. And of course, the community could continue to iterate on and improve these Mars design variants.

  6. To preserve detailed knowledge of now-obsolete technologies

    Why? For historical purposes, to avoid any loss of technological capability, to serve as inspiration for future discoveries, and to be used if needed to rebuild civilization after an apocalypse.