What is FabLab?
FabLab (fabrication laboratory / fabulous laboratory) is a workshop/studio offering digital fabrication. FabLab is generally equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled machines and tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to make “almost anything”.
FabLabs have since then been established in several countries and has grown into a global network of local labs enabling product invention and innovation by providing access to tools for digital fabrication. Fablabs share an evolving inventory of core capabilities to make (almost) anything, allowing people and projects to be shared. The FabLab network provides operational, educational, technical, financial and logistical assistance beyond what is available within one lab. FabLabs are available as a community resource offering open access for individuals and businesses as well as scheduled access for programs and services.
FabLab has to conform to certain conditions to include:
- It must be equipped with the recommended 6 basic FabLab equipment;
- It has to be opened to the public;
- It should be a participant in the network of global FabLab;
The FabLab program was started in the Media Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a collaboration between the Grassroots Invention Group and the Centre for Bits and Atoms(CBA) at MIT, broadly exploring how the content of information relates to its physical representation, and how a community can be powered by technology at the grassroots level. This has spread to 200 locations over 50 countries. FabLab in Europe and U.S. are most noticeable because a number of FabLab have been set up in these areas. U.S. President Obama announced recently the United States will set up 1000 or more digital fabrication lab like FabLab for their public schools.
There are many interesting examples of technologies which were developed in Middle Eastern, Asian and African FabLabs, to include:
- Farmer’s measurement equipment for managing hygiene
- Freshness and fat-content of milk;
- Solar LED light that can be used in non-electrified villages
- Cooking equipment of solar power generation that does not use firewood;
- Equipment for carrying radio waves of wireless LAN into the village that do not have Internet;
- Sensor to check the status of water application to the field
- Equipment to repel the stray dog by transmitting ultrasonic sound waves;
- Prosthetic legs of the “custom made” make through 3D scanning of foot
in Rural area Ghana and India, Afghanistan and many more;
There are very unique solutions and products born one after another to match the needs and situation of the locals. Next to the Internet, this large flow has been called a new revolution.