Reversing Nature

Technology can either benefit or harm the environment, depending on how it is used. New Development Technologies was founded in 2007 as a Research and Development company focusing on agriculture and nature conservation. We mostly did contract software development work until 2011. Since then, I have been involved in ecological research, with a specific focus on farmer-predator conflict.

New Development was founded on a number of principles:

  • Use technology to find solutions to nature conservation issues, sustainable energy, polution prevention etc.
  • Use of nature to find solutions to engineering problems. The basic methodology of reverse engineering is applied to find out how nature has solved various problems facing engineers (biomimetics).
  • All science is considered as simply the process of reverse engineering nature. This multidisciplinary approach includes aspects of plant and animal ecology, behavioural ecology, plant and animal physiology, agricultural science, computer science, software & hardware (electric, electronic, mechanical) engineering.
  • Compared to "hardware" engineering, Software Engineering has the benefit of almost no manufacturing cost. In a certain sense the design is the product. This has important implications in finding software solutions to problems that was not even conceived of just a few years ago.
  • New Development Technologies have expertise in and recommend Open Source Software [1] for various reasons. Open Source Software in general share many the advantages of Linux, including the fact that you can customize existing software for your specific needs instead of writing everything from scratch, (saving money and time in the process) and that you do not run the risk of vendor lock-in [2].
  • We believe in the principle of using the right tool for the job. For that reason we use a variety of software development technologies instead of only one.
  • We also accept that there are situations when closed source (proprietary) software is the better solution for the problem at hand. For example, we have done consulting in the use and setup of Cybertracker, a very useful mobile application for ecological research.
  • Any farm is part of the larger ecosystem and dependend on ecosytem services. Therefore it should be managed as an ecosystem to ensure long-term sustainability and continued profitability.
  • At NDTech we have a passion for nature and for finding sustainable solutions to the current environmental challenges facing the developing world. We are convinced that biodiversity and functioning ecosystems are not nice-to-have, "triple bottom line" values, but much more valuable than most people realize. Sustainability is not just an ethical issue, but also has real long-term (and short-term) economic value.


[1] Generally, "Open Source Software" is the same as what the FSF term "Free Software". However, it is not the same as "Freeware", which is software that you can use without paying, but that doesn't come with any source code and thus cannot be changed nor carry any guarantee of future support.

[2] Vendor lock-in occurs when all the data and or information processes of a company are provided by only one or a few vendors such that it is only accessible through their software (or hardware). This places the client totally at the mercy of the vendor(s) in more ways than one. It can have bad consequences when the vendor stops supporting their product, forcing a software upgrade of an otherwise adequate system. The company is totally dependent on the vendor(s) for any bug fixes and nobody else can fix any problems with the software. Because the data is only available through the vendor software, these vendors can effectivly prevent the migration of the data to any newer or beter software that might become available.

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