I’ve been telling people about the Open Ecology project for a while, but just realized I haven’t plugged them here.
They’ve come up with a list of 50 inventions that form the basis for a comfortable and modern civilization, and are building open source prototypes of all of them.
To get a feel for how serious they are, I suggest looking at this video. Then take a look at their website (which needs some work, but who am I to criticize!) here.
If I didn’t need to work for a living, I’d seriously consider just showing up there and begging them to let me help.