The Fab Lab from MIT is the ultimate at-home kit for the do-it-yourself amateur scientists and technologist. Complete with CAD/CAM design software, laser cutter, miniature mill, and much more… the Fab Lab operator can design and develop nearly anything that can be imagined.
Sure, the price tag sits at a steep $50,000, so not many will be going into the garage of the average citizen scientist, but this is certainly a wonderful start to expanding the reach of opportunities for technological innovation.
Developed by the MIT physicist, Neil Gershenfeld, the Fab Lab has been set up for at least 26 different clients all over the globe. The primary target market right now for the program is small-scale, local entrepreneurs, who need a complete rapid prototyping environment to support innovative technology development in small business. The long-term goal, however, is to continue developing the concept for a much broader audience that might some day emulate the infamous “Star Trek Replicator“.
In all seriousness, the Fab Lab could be in the reach of a larger collective of citizen scientists who could pool together personal financing, donations, and organized non-profit funding to bring the ambitious and highly-educational lab to local groups of amateurs. Maybe in the very near future we will see local amateur research groups imagining, developing, and creating new, innovative technologies that could be launched into the marketplace. With a little collective help–something citizen scientists do best–the Fab Lab might be the ticket to bringing the amateur to the next level in research and development opportunities.
“Invention kits let you build (almost) anything” :: MSNBC.com :: August 21, 2008 :: [ READ ]
“What is a Fab Lab?” from the MIT CBA Educational Outreach Program :: [ READ ]
The Fab Lab Program at MIT [ VISIT ]