FABLAB as an institution is news to me but it sounds like a fantastic idea and – even better – they’ve recently opened their first UK based FABLAB in Ancoats, Manchester.
FABLABs offers a mini hi-tech factory where people or companies can design and create pretty much….. anything using latest 3D machine cutters and technology. There are now over 35 FABLABs in existence across the globe in as varied locations as Afghanistan, Russia and Columbia. The first FABLAB was set up in Boston, US by Neil Gershenfeld (as featured in the above short video).
What is really exciting about FABLAB as an innovative concept is:
- accessibility to latest cutting edge technology for local individuals, companies, community projects and kids – for FREE!
- local problem-solving capability for local businesses, individuals etc
- hands on education – for kids. (For everyone involved).
- global connectivity of ideas – a global video network allows ideas and knowledge to be spread between FABLABs
- empowerment of local manufacturing rather than outsourcing the manufacturing process overseas – typically to the Far East
- environmental benefits of local manufacturing (see point above)
- democratisation of creativity given the ease of access and low barriers to entry (cost, accessibility and available technology) to design and manufacture.
There have already been some local Manchester success stories using the Manchester FABLAB including the Sky Baby folding travel cot and the Crackit Bat ultralight beach cricket bat.
With the aim of empowering anyone to make anything anywhere – I can only wish FABLABs every success!