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Poptech Day 3

Neil Gershenfeld’s “unique laboratory investigates the relationship between the content of information and its physical representation, from molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments.” His Fab Labs project is really cool. The focus is on giving people tools to innovate rather than just giving them computers, wi-fi etc. Focus is on peer to peer learning.

Neil Gershenfeld says, “Instead of bringing information technology to the masses, the fab labs bring information technology development to the masses….For our education and outreach efforts, rather than telling people about what we’re doing, we thought we’d help them do it themselves. We’ve been pulled around the world by the voracious demand we’ve found each time we’ve deployed a fab lab.”

Via Worldchanging: “The Fab Lab is $20,000 worth of material design and fabrication equipment which can be used nearly anywhere. Six Fab Labs exist, each with a particular focus on local needs: South End Technology Center, in Boston (building community wireless networks); Lygen Alps, in Norway (building larger-scale wireless networks and animal collars to aid nomadic herding); Vigyan Ashram, in India (building agricultural instruments); Bithoor, in India (building 3D scanners and printers for local artisans); TEC, in Costa Rica (building educational tools); and the Takoradi Technical Institute, in Ghana. It’s at the Takoradi Technical Institute that flourescent pink key chains have become the most popular fabricated item among the young students. Each fab lab comes equipped with computer-controlled fabrication tools, open-source computer-aided design and manufacturing software and associated electronic components and test equipment. Capabilities include a laser cutter for 2-D and 3-D structures, a sign cutter for plotting interconnects and electromagnetics, a 3-D precision milling machine for applications such as making surface-mount circuit boards and programming tools for low-cost, high-speed embedded microcontrollers.”

This is ultra super-cool.

More on Fab Labs here (Wired), here (Boston Globe), and here (BBC).

14 comments to Poptech Day 3

  • JKE

    I think I’ll need to be blogging about this in one way or another. Thx, Ory!

  • I enjoyed the pop tech series very much, and echo your sentiments on the ansari prize or something similar to spur innovation in Africa. Kudos to you!


  • Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find someone with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with slightly originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

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