Proceedings from the Fab 12 Research Stream (2016)

Thursday, August 11, 2016, The Sheraton Hotel Shenzhen, Room JING

Mads Hobye, Nicolas Padfield and Michael Haldrup 

Making makers make maker machines

Abstract: Fablab 2.0 is about enabling Fablabs as development platforms for new Fab technologies. In this perspective, we have an obligation to become meta-reflective on our technology development. Not just for immediate usability and transparency for users, but to push the frontiers of what is possible within the maker movement. In this paper we will explore cases of how Fablab RUC as a research fablab develops new maker tools for students, researchers and entrepreneurs. We look back on achievements and challenges in embedding the maker movement in academia, and creating a discourse with society in general. Examples are a 3D printer which can print houses, an Open Source robot arm that costs a fraction of a traditional industrial robot the same size, and a laser cut modular construction set enabling rapid production of artifacts from robots to spirographs. All are reproducible in a typical Fablab with laser cutter and CNC machines. These projects are examples of disrupting traditional power structures e.g. by enabling students to modify large robot arms with a hacksaw.

Cindy Kohtala 

Realizing Fab 2.0 as an endeavour with meaning and value

Abstract: Fab Lab managers have long realized how easy it is to become “just another printing service” while struggling to ensure revenue streams. My paper summarizes my doctoral research, where I have studied European Fab Labs in various stages of development. It is especially based on a longitudinal (three years’) ethnographic study of one Fab Lab in northern Europe. In the Labs studied, managers struggle to establish strategy and vision at the same time as dealing with everyday tasks and institutional structures. Their successes at enacting visions and also their compromises are seen in the material configurations of their Labs, which affect how outsiders perceive the Fab Lab network and how participants are recruited into fabbing. Fab Labs who do not consciously consider their activities and impacts can easily slide into promoting a Fab 2.0 model that is – at best – a mere service without meaning for managers or users or – at worst – a model that promotes the status quo: the undemocratic, technocratic, black box mode of production the Fab Lab network is espoused to counteract.

Danny Leen, Katrien Dreessen and Marc Lambaerts 

From parametric design to tangible interfaces: lowering the threshold for making

Abstract: Fablabs provide people with the possibility of making (almost) any object, by sharing digital fabrication tools and knowledge on making. However, to use these tools one requires experience in designing with 2D or 3D computer-aided design programs, that are mostly created with expert-users in mind. In the research project “Bespoke Design” we made personal self-management tools for and together with people with type 1 diabetes. One of the findings of Bespoke Design was that making personal designs without the support of a designer is not feasible for novice users, mainly due to difficulties of translating their idea into a digital model or drawing. Furthermore, we noticed that the needs of people with diabetes change over time. This asks for a design that evolves according to these changes. Parametric design tools can offer a solution since it enables (novice) users to make small changes to the design. However, these changes are limited to the confinements imposed by the designer. Therefore, parametric design falls short when the objective is really involving participants in designing from scratch. We state that adopting tangible interfaces that use more natural interactions can lower the threshold for novice users in Fablabs, bridging the gap towards personal fabrication.

Anupama Gowda and Pavan Kumar 

Fab Educators Pilot Programme at Workbench Projects: An arts education teachers’ capacity building series to leverage Fablabs and digital fabrication for FAB 2.0

Abstract: Educators have a long-standing experience using FabLabs in many parts of the globe. In India FabLabs are at a nascent stage & is available for a small community of informed audience, mostly in urban settings. Workbench Projects (WP), a young FabLab/ Makerspace in Bangalore, made its first headway working with a select group of government school ‘theatre teachers’ under its pilot initiative of the Fab Educators Programme. This paper attempts to share some key processes that were set in place in selection of teacher participants, designing, preparation, conducting and reviewing the workshop. Continuation to this orientation towards a more immersive, yet self-directed engagement has been charted by the teacher participants themselves as next plan of action towards building Fab2.0 in their own small workspaces with the support of Workbench Projects.
The programme was designed with the understanding of the capabilities of the participating teachers having worked with them in the past. Having followed their work closely for nearly six years, the teachers were invited with a workshop brief. Given the programme was voluntary in participation during their annual break, one doubted the enthusiasm in enrolments. Surprisingly, the desired number of five teachers based on the selection criteria were met. As per the scheduling of the programme the first three days were planned for hands-on training on machines, tools, electronics & design thinking. The remaining three days were dedicated to present project ideas that were relevant to their classroom realities and to best explore their new learnings.
An orientation that began with machine training ranging from CAD software to 3D Printers, CNC laser to a router, basics of electronics to Arduino through vernacular language (Kannada), the entire six days of the programme was tightly knit.
It is important to note the background to each of their project ideas. The harsh realities of their work environments made a pressing case during their ideation & pitching process. They went through the details of user-centered design, they were highly responsive & proactive in reasoning & providing critical feedback to one another’s project given that the ground realities were more so on the same lines barring minor cultural variations.
By the end of the intensive programme teachers presented projects ranging from fully fabricated stage lights with a controller to an Arduino based eight beat rhythm box to a 3D scaled model of theatre stages to a memory based board game for students to match 29 Indian states to its capital city & four pertinent art forms to recreating an everyday use hot wire Styrofoam cutter for set design in schools.
Outcome of this programme presents an interesting case study for FAB 2.0 where designing workshops best suited for government school teachers in developing countries that come compounded with unavailable if not limited resources but with rich cultural diversity. If given the chance and created conducive environments teachers are rekindled with curiosity to make & build for the future with relevance. In this particular case, restorers of a great cultural legacy too.

Walter Gonzales Arnao 

Matematicas of the incas (YUPANA). Software development and hardware for application to teaching web

Abstract: The evolution of tools and gadgets designed to simplify the understanding of mathematics in all cultures has been of interest to from antiquity to the present day; there was a calculation tool called by the researchers as "Yupana" which has a similarity with ABACO Chinese origin in ancient Peru.
This project has been to develop a hardware and software using the calculation system of the ancient Peruvians; to be used in operational processes basic math positive integers in primary schools. Motivated by Peru indicators that place it in the last places in Latin America, in math skills.
This project will have two stages in the first taken as the theoretical basis interpretations of Yupana Ing. Hugo Pereira Sanchez (researcher UNI book Quipu Project) in the development of Yupana hardware and the second part has been received the collaboration of Dr. Andrés Chirinos Rivera (UNI researcher, book Quipu Tahuantinsuyo) in the development of the Yupana Software.
Chirinos demonstrated the educational benefits that Yupana offers because it offers a visual alternative, the development of traditional numerical algorithms operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). The results demonstrated this advantage when the Yupana implemented in schools in the Peruvian Amazon River. The software is in phase, experimental and make public the source code for other researchers to further develop. It has developed hardware and software Yupana based on interpretations of Charles Wiener (1877), Henry Wassen (1931), Nicolino De Pasquale (2001), among others, which are closed source, which makes it difficult to develop based on these source codes.

Matt Norris 

Creative Self-Efficacy, Technology Acceptance and the Theory of Planned Behavior: Antecedents to a Maker’s Intention to Return to Make

Abstract: Results of a study of the antecedents to an individual’s intention to return to make are shared. Fab Labs, Makerspaces and Hackerspaces are part of a decentralized global Do-It-Yourself movement providing unique resources to tinkerers, hobbyists, inventors and artists to make almost anything. Individuals who use these facilities are often called “makers”. This research offers insight into why people intend to return to making by proposing a “maker” behavioral model blended from the theory of planned behavior, the technology acceptance model, and creative self-efficacy. A survey of the membership of Fab Lab Tulsa and other US based Fab Labs was used to study the maker model by examining the members’ attitudes and behaviors about creativity and making, technology, their social group, their openness to experience, and their creative role identity. It also examined the correlation with their intention to return to make. The results were inconclusive about the maker behavioral model as a whole, but supported the constituent elements of the model. It was hypothesized that an individual’s change in maker behaviors would be associated with increased membership tenure. However, regardless of membership tenure the results indicate that respondents have attitudes associated with openness to experiences, have creative roles, high creative self-efficacy, positive attitudes toward making, and intentions to continue making in the future. Perhaps most interestingly, the results indicate that makers do not report being part of close knit social groups which are composed of other makers. This research has implications for any Fab Lab that seeks to increase its membership or facility usage. Future work includes developing the survey for non-English languages and non US cultures.

Vivien Roussel 

Improving concentration and perseverance with the Digital Fabrication

Abstract: The Digital Fabrication create new educational possibilities, and recent research show how it can help support other ways of learning, mainly through both skills development with technology and collaboration among students. We think that we can use this method of learning for a public popular, victim to the social divide. We use digital fabrication like a positive system for motivating youths who drop out to school. We have deployed a social fablab, between a training center and a fablab, in a popular area. The issue is to give a second chance at the youths. For this, we are focusing on the construction of attention and the concentration. The goal are that the youth adult are motivated and concerned, they are investing them in a task and, thus learn perseverance. We try to working on part of cognition for help them to understand and discriminate informations. The digital fabrication can help to trigger attention and perseverance, and therefore can be used as a great lever to re-engage marginalized young adults. Here we trying to demonstrated the efficiency of this method, the possibility to ameliorate this and the limits of datas withdrawn of the first promotion.

Yogesh Kulkarni

Fab Lab 0 to Fab Lab 0.4 Learnings from running a lab in an Indian Village

Abstract: Fab Lab in developing countries has different operational problems. Within the constraints of resources, they have to prove effectiveness and impact of utilization of Fab Lab for their community. Vigyan Ashram(VA) Fab lab was started in a small Indian village with the support of MIT and Fab foundation in 2002. This paper will present the challenges faced in terms of machinery, inventory, infrastructure, manpower and projects. It also presents different approaches tried by VA to overcome those challenges. VA faced and has overcome issues like quality of electricity (fluctuations, proper neutral etc), some of the basic problems like proper earthing in hard rocky soil in the dryland. Some of the learning was very costly. VA has learned from all such mistakes and would like to / shares the learning with other labs. VA worked mainly with rural youth with minimum education, almost no knowledge of computers etc. To train them to work on the solution to their problems, VA has developed a methodology to conduct workshop for them. It is available as a manual ‘Think Like An Innovator’. These students have easily mastered the tools for the projects. Some of VA students are now managing other Fab Labs. From last year, VA introduced FabEd program in rural schools. It took three years for the first student of VA to complete Fab Academy due to internet connectivity and other related issues. It involves efforts like traveling 70 km to attend classes in the nearest city- Pune. Inspite of all this, VA is able to develop some good projects based on real life problems. At the same time, many projects could not be completed for various reasons and lack of some technical expertise. All this experimentation led to the development of the approach of using Fab Lab for developing ‘Appropriate Technologies(AT)’. AT movement was a worldwide movement in the 1980s. AT tries to find out solutions by involving the local community and by taking into account traditional wisdom and local resources. The solutions can be developed on a limited scale or for individual use. The philosophy of Fab labs ‘You can make almost anything!’ is very much in line with the philosophy of AT. Some of the limitations of the AT movement was low technology solutions, poor documentation and limited scalability. Fab labs can help to overcome these limitations of AT movement. VA has used Fab lab for developing AT. This learning will be useful for other fab labs in developing countries. Another factor that contributed to the development of VA Fab Lab, is support from Fab lab network. VA has also learned from attending Fab conferences and volunteers visiting from MIT. This helped in learning new technologies and look for solutions for local problems with advanced tools.Dr.Neil Greshenfeld described VA Fab Lab as Fab Lab–0. In last 13 years, VA –Fab Lab has gone through three phases of evolution. This paper will briefly present the journey of Vigyan Ashram Fab Lab from Fab Lab0.0 to FabLab 0.4.

Siyan Xu and Marc Laperrouza 

Comparing Maker Education in Different Education Settings in China

Abstract: With the wave of Maker Movement in the past few years, the ethos of Maker Movement such as "opensource", "interdisciplinary", and "learning by doing" has stroke a chord among educators in different educational settings. To which extend has the maker movement made impact on education? How do educators understand the nature of maker education? In this paper, the author unpacks the dynamics of maker education in China. Building on case studies of formal and informal educational settings——university makerspaces, high school makerspaces,Fab Labs and maker education startups, the author tries to characterize maker education by looking into the value, structure, teaching approaches, learning environment, collaboration and goals. Our research shows that different approaches are adopted through the development of maker education and highlights different aspects of the maker movement in China.

Matthias Friessnig, Fabian Weinhandl, Thomas Böhm and Christian Ramsauer 

Development of a context specific workshop-based education concept grounded on a study of commonalities and differences between Fab Labs in Europe and US

Abstract: Digital Fabrication is currently spreading swiftly around the world. One of the main drivers of this movement is the emergence different kinds of digital fabrication laboratories such as Fab Labs, hackerspaces, and makerspaces. These initiatives share the goal of democratizing the manufacturing process. They enable individuals to invent and build hardware products, a situation which was impossible in the past without traditional organizational backing. Those individuals of today by contrast should have the capabilities to design, manufacture, and distribute own products and consequently a modernized education concept is needed. Since 2014, FabLab Graz is leveraging its different user segments and due to this fact a balanced state of the art education model to satisfy the needs and requirements of the local community is essential. Every Fab Lab, hackerspace, or makerspace has an individual course schedule for its users designed by evaluating their prior experiences. Based on web revision and interviews the paper gives insights into the commonalities and differences of the offered educational services of Fab Labs, makerspaces, hackerspaces and other similar labs in Europe and the United States. The objective of this market research is to show variances between those labs in terms of offered courses, workshops, lectures, events and actual demand of lab users. Additionally, it evaluates different operational approaches of those labs. Altogether, the paper gives an in-depth view of more than 200 Fab Labs as well as the most important hackspaces and makerspaces in Europe and the United States. 1155 courses, workshops, lectures, and events are analyzed and evaluated. Moreover, the most popular educational services in each type of labs and regions are identified and compared with each other to get a common understanding of a state of the art educational concept. The outcome of the research provides the base for the development of a context specific educational concept for FabLab Graz located on the campus of Graz University of Technology. The generated concept will be put into practice in 2017 at the relaunch of FabLab Graz accommodating various users form students, entrepreneurs to company employees. Using the generated data, the workshop-based educational concept of FabLab Graz can easily be transferred to other Fab Labs worldwide.

Nisha Elsa Johnson 

Improving women owned SME’s in Kudumbashree through introduction of Digital Fabrication Techniques

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to identify how digital fabrication techniques could help in women entrepreneurship and empowerment in Kudumbashree, which is one of the largest women empowering project in the country launched by Government of Kerala, India in 1998. Literal meaning of Kudumbashree is prosperity (shree) of family (Kudumbam), a project which aims in wiping out absolute poverty from the state. At present, this empowerment program has touched nearly all the sectors from agriculture to training.In first phase, the research involves in identifying the areas where digital fabrication could create an impact in developing the women owned SME’s. The project involves training the women mostly in their middle age with digital fabrication techniques. Final phase involves creating a enterprising model to help the women owned SME’s.

Emilio Velis, Paula Baptista, James Brazil, Rafael Machado, Carlos Valladares and Nicholas Waissbluth 

Peer-based design, prototyping and construction for the Amazon Floating Fab Lab Project

Abstract: A proposed model has been developed for designing, prototyping and manufacturing the infrastructure of the Amazon Fab Lab Project, based on the coordination of efforts among participants of international Fab Labs to form a mass production system, which will generate an environmentally friendly, viable and culturally adaptable floating and navigating design through the use of digital tools for communication, organization and digital fabrication. The goal of this paper is to briefly summarize the results of a guided, open and collaborative methodology of participatory design carried out during the first stage of development of the Amazon Fab Lab Project during 2014 and 2015, and the expected outputs of the current implementation stage on which members of the global Fab Lab network are working on a vessel equipped with a digital fabrication laboratory for educational and research projects to improve social, economic, environmental and technological aspects of the Amazonia and the world through a community-based approach and collaborative research methodologies.

Artur Vasconcelos Cordeiro, Carolina Hartfiel Barroso, Luca Magli

Fab Lab Livre SP: laboratories of digital fabrication as public policy from São Paulo City Hall

Abstract: This paper is about the government initiative from São Paulo City Hall to create a public network of twelve laboratories of digital fabrication, “Fab Lab Livre SP”. The network started in the end of 2015 with four labs, and in the end of April 2016 all the twelve laboratories were opened. In this short time a public of more than 5.500 people attended the activities at Fab Lab Livre SP, including presentations, visits, courses and workshops. This proposal will present all the phases of the project Fab Lab Livre SP, from the initial concept to implementation, going through the challenges, goals and strategies for the sustainability of the project. The existing Fab Labs in town were very important and inspiring to elaborate the public model because it all started with a visit, and from there on the idea evolved. The main concept of the project is to have an open and free network of laboratories of digital fabrication, to democratize the access of a creative environment and tools to the population of São Paulo. The places of the laboratories were strategically located in cultural and educational centers spread in the territory of the city, allowing more people of different regions to get in touch with the culture of digital manufacturing and design processes and use the laboratories. The Fab Lab Livre SP are provided with 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC milling machines, computers with open source software for digital drawing, electronics and robotics equipment, and carpentry and mechanical tools. The staff of the laboratories has different backgrounds, they are a multidisciplinary team that encourages learning and creativity through making, with regular courses and workshops. This paper aims to demonstrate the relevance of a network of Fab Labs as public policy, and how the permeability of the laboratories in the urban space can benefit the local community and the individual. In this context, it analyzes the role of shared knowledge applied to creativity and making as a mechanism of empowerment and strengthening community ties.