There are 1,600+ FabLabs around the world. In India, there are two FabLabs, 1 in Trivandram, and now in Kochi. The FabLab Network is an open, creative community of fabricators, artists, scientists, engineers, educators, students, amateurs, professionals, of all ages, located in more than 100 countries, in approximately 1,600 FabLabs.
In Kochi, FabLabs are designed in a way that people with minimal training can come and work on developing their own technology for personal or commercial use.
FabLab started as an educational outreach component of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). A FabLab is a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention, and for providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. To be a FabLab means, connecting to a global community of learners, educators,technologists, researchers, makers and innovators. Because all FabLabs share common tools and processes, the program is building a global network, a distributed laboratory for research and invention.
A FabLab consists of state-of-the-art digital fabrication tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, electronics workbench, PCB milling machine, vinyl cutter, etc. It allows anyone to express their ideas through technology. Digital manufacturing is an integrated approach to manufacturing that is centered on a computer system. The motion of the tool is controlled by a computer, i.e., CNC milling – a computer-controlled router, 3D printer – a computer-controlled plastic extruder, and a laser-cutter – a computer-controlled carbon dioxide laser.
Jogin Francis, co-ordinator, FabLabs, said: “We use many digital fabrication methods in the FabLab, such as 3D printing, laser cutting, robotic mechanism, ONC machining, water jet, and atomic-forced microscopy. We have done many projects in this FabLab. There are examples like open source UAV, an open source aerial mapping UAV platform, Fab Wheel, a human-sized hamster wheel for walking, gesture-sensing clock, sensing digital arm clock, CNC-cut wooden cycle rack, X-height adjustable standing desk, DIY SMD component tester, etc.”
The FabLab Kerala Challenge is specifically designed to enable students build solutions that could help in directing the state’s development along a sustainable path by making use of the 22 state-of-the-art mini FabLabs distributed across Kerala.
The Kerala FabLab Challenge provides an opportunity for students to come up with ideas in listed set of innovation areas, and convert them into POCs and prototypes at mini FabLab with the guidance of an expert fab team from KSUM.