An experiment into collaborative exploration

Meaningful Machines is an experiment to see if we can capture the spirit and imagination of a Nation’s thinkers and dreamers caught in the bike infested fever of the Tour De France and turn this energy into the creation of a meaningful invention to change the world.

 Theres £500 budget to make it happen ! All we need are your meaningful solutions, problems and creative action in an attempt to make the world a better place. This experiment will run up to August 15th.


It could be serious, playful or both, one of the final submissions will be created, either designed and prototyped using repurposed materials, large 3D printers or laser cutters, or designed and delivered if its a mass participation workshop or a design process working remotely with people in Ghana.  Theres  support from model makers, engineers, creative programmers, technologists, scientists, artists, thinkers and tinkerers. with a £500 budget to make it happen.  After exhibition, the owner of the idea gets first dibs on the device.  The ideas/ designs will be released on a creative commons non commercial licence for free use and modification, with attribution.


Come and give us your ideas, meaningful problems or solutions @Tour De Social | Regent St | Sat 5 July

There’s a meaningful pedal powered idea out there for everyone, whether improving lives better in developing countriesusing open data for a safer ride, smarter GPS wheels,  artificial gravity in space or making something cool or wierd, yet there is always room for more.


I want this process to be as open and collective as possible and for the ideas to lead the way, whether they be from me, you or the people I meet, all will be properly accredited and developed with the thinker if they so wish. This process is about the doing, the meeting of minds and the research into idea lead collaborative practice.  So get your thinking helmets on and get in touch about:

  • Meaningful ideas, problems or projects that would benefit from some of the great minds we find.
  • Any pedal powered solutions or projects that goes beyond the sum of their cogs.

Please visit here to share an idea, link, drawing, image or video :

You can draw quickly online here : save it / upload or a good old pen and napkin/ beermat,  snap with your smartphone and follow the upload link or email mm (at) davelynch (dot) net


To get people started, I’ve had a series of conversations with some fascinating people about what makes a meaningful machine. (click on them to see their interview)

These include:

Neil Davis – NGO Projects director in Marine Conservation.  A humbling discussion about the projects he works on in Ghana in relation to the value of machines, not as a functional device but as the potential to liberate people to change their own lives, save marine life and what maybe a simple 5 min sketch to us in the educated West, could be days of trail and error for the locals near their conservation centre.

Nick Roberts – Biomechanics engineer, we look into the process of mechanics from the black box disconnection of the process to the beauty of an almost forgotten era of victorian mechanics and what you can do with simple direct power.

Alan Kemp – Inventor – Alan shares insights into machines that have a life expectancy of 8.4 million years, that turn once in 13 billion years and the fragile state of our existence in relation to GPS.

Jane Earnshaw – I Love West Leeds festival programmer and mischief maker, Jane reflects on the meaningful elements of some of the insane projects from the ILWL festival archive with tips on how to make a meaningful people machine, involving large groups of people wring to a collective goal.

Richard England – creative coder and virtual reality programmer – our conversations leads us through the current state of human computer interaction to what makes a meaningful connection in a virtual world through simple haptic interfaces.


Real-world-someone-else timestandstillGym2

A Year of Thought

Meaningful Machines is the realisation of over a years research into interdisciplinary collaborative practice underpinned with a vision to create a space for collaborative invention.

I’m really interested in how through a sense of playful inquiry, conversation and research we can make something pedal powered that also has a serious benefit to the world and can be shared using open source.  The serious benefit may take many forms; from bicycle powered water pumps for developing countries to playful thought experiments seeing how we could construct a bike that would generate enough power for time travel.  It’s what we find playful in the impossible that will exponentially push the possible.