Have you ever thought to yourself, “Am I doing enough to make an impact on this world?”
That’s how I felt when I arrived at the Fab11 conference in Boston, but by the end of the day, I was INSPIRED. The conference, held on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus was full of passionate people sharing projects to encourage creativity and ingenuity, and to make digital fabrication accessible to everyone, everywhere. I met some exceptional people who are introducing the concept of fabrication and technology to children in the most rural areas of the world who may never have seen a computer before to educate and encourage them to use their imaginations to create and build.
Fab11 was held on the architechturally and technologically inspiring MIT Campus in Cambridge, MA
Introducing All to the Awesomeness of FabLab Technology
By introducing FabLabs to different areas and environments, the hope is that people of all ages and backgrounds are given the chance to become the next innovators and entrepreneurs of the world. FabLab technology exposes people to the idea that “anything is possible” and gives them the opportunity to build aero-plants, create circuit boards and laser cut objects — opening up possibilities within individuals to become the next great scientist that cures cancer or the developer that writes the code for the next big technology. People are catching on to this movement and the Fab Foundation has doubled in size in just over one year with over 700 labs and 78 countries represented.
Heart shaped circuit board milled on a SRM-20 – some of the inspirational objects being created by students in FabLab settings
Teaching circuit board milling to eager students
Get Out-of-the-Box at Fab11
At Fab11, there was so much “outside-of-the-box” thinking with cutters being hacked and used as drawing devices and milling machines being hacked to mill metals. It was inspiring to see how these machine hackers have identified a need in their community and have solved this issue by making the answer themselves by ingeniously adapting our machines and other manufacturers technology.
Just hack it! A student from Keio University works on hacking the SRM-20 to mill metals
FabLabbing around the USA
At Fab11, I learned that the US has a number of FabLabs installed around the country, many of them in schools and in local communities. They are focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and are able to secure government and corporate grants to fund initiatives to bring Roland and other technologies into communities. Several host weekend community workshops outside of school environments to open up FabLabs to anyone.
A youth group from a local Boston Community exploring print technology in the Roland DG booth – excited for stickers!
Attendees design their own custom iPhone cases in Illustrator to print on the VersaUV LEF-20 printer
Inspiration Take Away from Fab11
After everything I saw and all the inspirational people I met at Fab11, I continue to ask myself, “what am I doing to make an impact?” Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m not back at the office building and tinkering, but I am excited to be a part of the Roland DG company that has been a long time partner of FabLab and continues to inspire creativity as one of our core beliefs. Although our equipment is just one piece of the puzzle, it was extremely fulfilling to see it inspiring people at Fab11. And it is this FabLab imagination and passion in the volunteers, lab founders, teachers and of course, students, that will make a difference in this world. This is the movement that I’m happy to be a part of.
Fab11 opened my eyes to the possibilities of Roland DG technology. As a Roland machine user, you also may want to ask yourself, “Am I doing enough to make an impact on this world?” Please leave a link or a comment below if you are using Roland DG technology in new and surprising ways. We’d love to share the ways that you’re making an impact in this world.