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A fabulous lab – and officially accredited

A fabulous lab – and officially accredited

Tuesday, 3 de October de 2017

FCA's Corporate University Manufacturing Laboratory receives recognition from the "supernodes" and joins the international network of Fab Labs

Inaugurated a little over a year ago, the Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) of the FCA’s Corporate University (Isvor) has already entered a new level of community accreditation – as we say in the academic world – from the most traditional laboratories in Barcelona (Spain) and Lima (Peru). That’s because in March the Isvor Fab Lab officially joined the Fab Labs international network.

A Fab Lab is a space that fosters the idea of “Do it yourself” (Better known as DIY); that is, it encourages people to materialize their ideas. This is done with the use of cutting-edge technologies such as laser cutting and 3D printing.

Fab Lab is the abbreviation of the term “Fabrication Laboratory”, but the nickname “Fabulous Laboratories” is also relevant. The concept emerged at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an American university of technology and a reference in the world. The professor responsible for the idea is the coordinator of the Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), Neil Gershenfeld, who offered in 1998 a course called “How to Make (Almost) Anything”.

The idea caught on, it became a movement and Fab Labs began to emerge all over the world. By 2014, the CBA had a list of Fab Labs around the globe. Today, this list is maintained by the community itself on its own site. Check out the Isvor Fab Lab! On this other site, Fab Foundation, you can check out the map and be surprised at the amount of Fab Labs around the world. They are everywhere!

The Fab Foundation is the association that governs the operation of Fab Labs worldwide. An accreditation such as the one Isvor’s Fab Lab just received from more traditional laboratories like the one in Barcelona and Lima promotes the Fab Lab in question to the level of excellence of the others. In other words, it is recognized as a real Fab Lab and, with this, has access to the international network and participates in the movement, with all the information exchange and collaboration that it’s entitled to.

Fab Lab is a place that brings together people interested in materializing their ideas using technology, through prototypes and experiments. But this process is not limited to the things that are manufactured. More important than that is the empowerment that users receive by participating in the movement. In Isvor’s Fab Lab, for example, this appreciation of people is taken seriously. “Through the development of digital manufacturing skills, the exchange of ideals among participants, and the opening of a horizon of opportunities to improve the lives of people and communities, a Fab Lab presents itself as a development center of competence for innovation, collaboration and leadership”, says Paulo Matos, manager of Human and Organizational Development at Isvor. “The idea is to use the Fab Lab space to develop the skills needed to act more proactively in the digital context”, he says. Each action developed within the Isvor Fab Lab, as well as in other learning spaces at Isvor, aims at enhancing these characteristics in the participants.

Paulo explains that the digital context in which organizations are inserted today imposes challenges and opportunities: “The acceleration in technology development has been putting traditional business models in check and challenging companies to develop new forms of organization. These new organizational models require other people’s attitudes and this was, in part, Isvor’s motivation to develop a Fab Lab within its structure”.

Any person or organization can open a Fab Lab. To do this, you just need to meet the requirements of the community and then be accredited by the supernodes, which are the most traditional / recognized laboratories of the network, which serve as a reference and maintain a broad schedule of activities, as is the case of the laboratories in Barcelona and Lima. Among the requirements are machine availability, support team preparation, and free community access at a determined time of the week. Thus, people who want to put forth their ideas need only to provide the materials and document the process, making their projects available to the public.

Today, besides servicing the companies of the FCA group, Isvor Fab Lab is open to school communities or associations. All the machines are available for use and, if you wish to access to the laboratory, simply contact the support team, present your project and show up at the scheduled time bringing the materials or inputs for the development of the project.

 

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